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Head Coach Tim Walsh Assesses First Week of 2019 Spring Camp

Head Coach Tim Walsh Assesses First Week of 2019 Spring Camp
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — Five practices into the 2019 Spring Camp and 11th-year Mustang head football coach Tim Walsh likes what he has seen so far.
"I'm really happy with certain positions," said Walsh. "Some positions have really stepped up."
The players have 10 more practice sessions in April to impress the coaching staff before taking a three-month break. Spring Camp ends with the 2019 Spring Game, scheduled for Saturday, April 27, at Doerr Family Field, starting at 1 p.m.
Fall Camp opens in early August and the opening game of the 2019 season will be August 31 against the University of San Diego inside Alex G. Spanos Stadium.
Walsh said a scrimmage will be held Saturday at about 11:30 a.m. Another scrimmage is set for April 20 and the Spring Game on April 27 will wrap up Spring Camp.
"It will be first offense, second offense and third offense, same on the defensive side of the ball," Walsh said of this Saturday's scrimmage. "A lot of guys will get a lot of reps. This will be an opportunity for the guys on the second and third teams to get some turns and see what they can do, but also an opportunity for those guys on the ones versus the ones to compete."
The scrimmages will help determine placement on the depth chart, but Walsh also will be looking for something else.
"One of the things we really need to look for is some leadership on offense," Walsh said. "Khaleel Jenkins, Joe Protheroe and Harry Whitson were good leaders, so we're looking for some new leadership. 
"What's tough is that the quarterbacks are figuring out how to be the starter, not how to be the leader," Walsh added. "We're trying to explain to those guys that they go hand in hand. We'll be looking for that in the scrimmage as well."
Walsh was asked to provide a grading report on each of the positions.
Slot Backs
"The slot backs need to play more consistently. Xavier Moore, CJ Cole, J'uan Campbell, Drew Hernandez, Lepi Lataimua, Chuby Dunu … there are five, six, seven guys who are really competing extremely well there. I'm really pleased with that position."
"The quarterback battle will work itself out at some point in time. We had a 25-to-30-play scrimmage (Wednesday) and both Jalen Hamler and Kyle Reid moved the ball all the way down the field and handled things pretty well. We know what Jake Jeffrey gives us and he will get his opportunity too, but we have to find out how good those other two guys are in the spring. It's a good battle to have."
Wide Receiver
"We are deep at wide receiver (J.J. Koski, Quentin Harrison, Ryan McNab and Eli Shelton). There are a lot of good players there. We're trying to push the issue with Leonte Huerta-Moore. He's got a tremendous amount of talent. Now we've got to see how much progress he can make."
Offensive Line
"We lost some guys there (Harry Whitson, Sam Ogee and Zach Shallcross). We can move Paul Trujillo-Langdon to center. Hopefully guys like D.J. Stuckey, Wade Willet and Nick DiFronzo — those guys need to be ready to play from the start. We need to see them compete as well."
"Duy Tran-Sampson has been hurt since the first day of practice. "Hopefully we'll get him back next week sometime. Ryan Rivera is getting some good reps, Trey Nahhas is a lot like Jake Jeffrey — we know we have a good Steady Eddie player in him. We've got to find out what Rivera, Dusty Frampton and hopefully Duy can do."
Defensive Secondary
"The back row is looking really good," Walsh said, knowing full well that a dozen of the 15 defensive backs on the squad last season are returning. 
"An area we need to continue to improve is at inside linebacker. Matt Shotwell has taken another step in his development. Nik Navarro is a good player, but has yet to match his talent level. We'll see how much more he progresses.
"At outside linebacker, we moved Joey Ruiz to rush and he has done some things I'm really proud of so far. I really like the way he's playing. Jayson Lee is solid on the other side (will)."
Defensive Line
"One of the big things so far in Spring Camp is the growth of the defense line in terms of maturity, not growth. Myles Cecil has the ability to be an all-conference player, but he's got to play like that. Stanton Manumaleuna, Pono Faaagi, Jojo Falo — those guys all have to step up to become some really good players. Ryan Boehm is a good solid player, and Brando Phillips too. We have some good players on the line."
A year ago, Protheroe's number was called 363 times, almost 70 percent of the team's carries among the slot backs and fullbacks. Walsh was asked if the slot backs will carry more of the load this fall.
"We really like what we're seeing out of those guys (slot backs), but that's to be determined," Walsh said. "Right now, yes or no. I'm pleased with how they are carrying the ball, but probably more pleased with how they are blocking."
Photo courtesy of Owen Main |