Position Switchapalooza Transcribed

Submitted by Brian on October 29th, 2010 at 1:33 PM

quinton-washington MVictors is clutch like that. I will transcribe the relevant bits.

On Will Campbell and Quinton Washington:

"We made a couple moves with some big guys, some backup linemen. Quinton Washington was a backup lineman; we moved him to nose guard. We kinda traded Will Campbell over to offense, where I think he's going to be a natural offensive guard. After a week and a half I think both of those moves will probably stick for now. I think Will's got a future at guard, I think Quinton Washington's got a future on the D-line."

On the secondary:

"We moved around Cam Gordon. We wanted him to learn—well, he played the deep safety, we wanted him to play the safety up tight. That was a process; he was able to do that. We got Ray Vinopal and Carvin Johnson some more work at the deep safety position to get some flexibility. We have Marvin Robinson, who's been a safety, playing a little bit of linebacker for us. He can help us in nickel packages."

On the D-line:

"We moved the D-line around a little bit as well."

Brandstatter asked "are these kids going to play?" and Rodriguez sayeth:

"Oh, yeah. You'll see Carvin Johnson and Vinopal playing. Ray is at the same position anyway, but it's a new position for Carvin. You'll see Cam Gordon playing more at both safety positions where as before he was just playing one. I don't know if Will is ready yet at offensive line or Quinton at defensive line but we tried to get them as prepared as we could for this ball game. We'll see what happens."


Obviously they saw the issues with Gordon had persisted too long and are trying to get some better play out of the FS position right now. Also, Cam's going to threaten Kovacs's job—could be a run/pass split there—and Robinson will probably displace Demens in nickel and dime packages.

Campbell's not going to play unless a bunch of people go down on the interior line, but Washington might. This would be alarming. It might not be much more alarming than seeing anyone other than Martin at NT.



October 29th, 2010 at 1:41 PM ^

more flexibility with personnel all told, increased ability to both play to players' strengths AND game conditions as well as potential promise down the road. 

RichRod is not a waffler.

I've begun to breath easier about the D next year. Anyone else feel that way? 

Now to get past PSU so that we can all feel like there will BE a next year and no Richapocalype. 


October 29th, 2010 at 1:42 PM ^

I like that the coaches have recognized some kids who can help with position shifts, and don't seem wed to recruiting rankings or earlier depth charts.  Sure, I wish Campbell was a better fit at NT, but I trust the coaches have seen enough at practice to warrant the move.  Washington seeing playing time at NT is a little scary, but I guess you have to do it sometime and against a relatively anemic offense like PSU, some of the growing pains may be masked/not exploited.

Blue boy johnson

October 29th, 2010 at 1:49 PM ^

I have seen Kovacs run and I have seen Cam Gordon run, I don't see a big difference in foot speed, please correct me if  I am wrong.

I think the Kovacs lack of athleticism thing is an urban myth. Kovacs was a starter, in the Big Ten, as a freshman, coming off knee surgery, you cannot do that without being a good athlete.


October 29th, 2010 at 2:04 PM ^

I agree about Kovacs.  I never understood why people say he is a bad athlete - you don't earn Freshman All-American status by being a corpse.  Grit only takes you so far, and while you probably won't see Kovacs becoming an All Big-10 safety, he is still athletic enough to be an average safety in college football.

Blue boy johnson

October 29th, 2010 at 2:33 PM ^

Really. I would think in some instances, the guy moving his shorter legs at the same speed as the the guy with the longer legs, might  be the better athlete. It's possible the short legger may have matured athletically at a later calender date than the long legger, thus receiving less hype and Starz but being every bit the athlete of his long legged friend.


October 29th, 2010 at 2:08 PM ^

I think its great the coaches are looking to make moves and admit they've made some mistakes about what positions they had kids at. Seeing them want to make adjustments is encouraging. Hopefully they are good adjustments..


October 29th, 2010 at 2:15 PM ^

I am really excited for these moves.  It will be exciting to see some guys in different position that suits them better (Cam) and guys in their first real playing time (MRob,Ray).


October 29th, 2010 at 2:34 PM ^

While these are hopefully good moves, made after much thought and discussions by the coaching staff, people need to be realistic. Almost all of the names being mentioned are still freshmen or sophomores. They will probably have little immediate impact.

Though I am encouraged by the staff's attempt to better utilize personnel, I just don't want to read a bunch of people complain when Vinopal misses his first tackle or blows an assignment. These moves should be viewed as attempts to fix the big picture, rather than instant game-changers.

Greg McMurtry

October 29th, 2010 at 2:49 PM ^

I always wondered why Carvin wasn't at deep safety from what I saw in his high school tape. Perhaps he needed more time to understand the defense. Additionally, I think we all knew that Cam was lacking the speed to be a great deep safety and that moving him closer to the line was inevitable. It appears that the coaching staff was waiting for the bye week to implement these changes and I'm excited to see how the team reaponds.


October 29th, 2010 at 3:03 PM ^

I know guys switching sides of the ball and true freshman safety are supposed to be a giant red flashing WARNING sirens, but by my watch there's still about 29 hrs to kickoff so I'm going with blind optimism to keep me sane for now.


October 29th, 2010 at 3:00 PM ^

All make great sense.   They seem to put players in the best position to use their strengths and not have their weaknesses exploited. 

RR:  We internet readers (other than Brian, Tim, TomVH and a few others), who know about 10% as much about football as you and less than 1% as much about the inner workings of this team, approve of these moves.


October 29th, 2010 at 3:00 PM ^

take a shine to and really root for.  It is usually one of the more unsung players.  In this years class it was Ray Vinopal.  I am anxious to see him get some more playing time.  I hope that he does well.

Brian, might we not see some of Big Will in the red zone?


October 29th, 2010 at 3:02 PM ^

My only question is "what do these moves do to player morale?"  Is everyone on-board with their change?  Do the kids see this as A) a better opportunity to see the field and B) a chance to help the Team?

Sometimes a position move is further evidence to a kid that he doesn't have a home, so to speak.

I'm not sayin this is the case.  I'm just sayin.


October 29th, 2010 at 3:03 PM ^

Kovacs is the least of our problems on defense.  I don't think he is going anywhere.  He is probably the second most consistent player on our defense behind MM.  He almost always plays his assignment and he has made plays when put in position to do so.  In short, he does his job consistently which is more than most on our D can say right now.  I think it is more likely and makes more sense that C-Gordon replaces T-Gordon.  That position has been all but invisible on game day. 


October 29th, 2010 at 5:57 PM ^

MRob to linebacker is probably a situational switch on passing plays; I wonder if the bye week gave GERG an opportunity to re-evaluate his substitution patterns (or lack thereof). 

I would imagine that on obvious passing downs we want T Gordon and Demens out with MRob and Vinopal/Carvin in (at least for when we bring in a 3rd CB). 

Maybe Carvin and Vinopal will be on the field at the same time in one of our nickel packages.  We have previously played JT Floyd in the middle of the field as a 3rd safety and brought in one of the freshman to take Floyd's spot at CB.  What if we kept JT Floyd at CB and brought in an extra safety instead?

I would venture to guess that these "position switches" (those that don't involve Q and Big Will) will be more contingent on the offense's down and distance (i.e. obvious passing downs).  I really find it hard to believe that MRob will be playing LB otherwise.


October 29th, 2010 at 3:46 PM ^

Correct me if I'm wrong, because I'm still a little confused about what exactly defines a linebacker and a safety.  Depth chart for PSU reads something like:

DT: Van Bergen / Patterson

NT: Martin / Sagesse / Washington

DE: Banks / Black*

DE/OLB:  Roh / Fitzgerald or Herron

MLB:  Demens / Ezeh

WLB:  Mouton / Leach / MRob*

Spur AKA LB/S hybrid:  C. Gordon / T. Gordon

Bandit AKA SS: Kovacs / C. Gordon*

FS:  Vinopal / Johnson

CB: Floyd / Talbott or Christian

CB:  Rogers / Avery

*Mainly on passing downs


October 29th, 2010 at 4:11 PM ^

I'm not so sure an appearance by him would be a necessarily bad thing (at least in a 4-man front).  This would allow us to put RVB at DE and hopefully avoid those annoying combo blocks where our DEs get hooked (I'm looking at you Banks and Black). 

There are reports that Q Washington is the 3rd strongest player on our team; hopefully his technique is adequate (I acknowledge this is a big assumption).  If he is able to play NT and stalemate the C everytime and prevent the C from releasing onto our LBs (not necessarily making tackles but just holding up blockers (i.e. being a "space-eater")), then look for UFR +10s from RVB and Mike Martin (at the 3-technique where he will be super disruptive and have multiple sacks) and big games from Demens and Mouton.  Obviously if Mike Martin is still hurt, then this is all a moot point.

mgm 05

October 29th, 2010 at 4:27 PM ^

Is it possible that GERG is a good teacher (Stevie Brown being my primary example) but not a great evaluator of talent (Demens v Ezeh, aware that non-football issues may have been the cause here). 

Seems like this could be a good reason that RR is getting more involved in defensive player positioning (well that and the defense is swiss cheese) thus the switches

Rattlesnake Pete

October 29th, 2010 at 5:15 PM ^

Last year, after the 4-0 start, I drank too much of the Kool Aid and was disappointed by the 1-7 finish.  This year, I told myself I needed to see us win more games in the B10 to know we were moving forward.  With the 5-0 start, I was pretty happy, but still saying, 'we have to beat more than just Indiana'.  Well, we competed against MSU and Iowa but lost and I was thinking this year was turning out eerily similar to last year.  My feelings over the last 2 weeks (bye week) is that we have to win at least 2 of the next 3.  I'd love to see us win against Wisky and/or OSU, but with what I've seen so far, that is certainly a stretch.  Our D is just too young and not quite there yet.  So, I sure hope this isn't like the switch to the 3-3-5 the week of Purdue in '08 that I think cost us that game.  I think PSU is REALLY winnable and I hope the changes don't result in mistakes by some of the new guys and cost us the game.   At this point, we need to win 2 games.  At least finish 7-5 and a bowl.  We see progress, the young guys get the benefit of the bowl preparations, and all that should help recruiting and solidifying RR (END THE "HE'S ON THE HOT SEAT" crap).


I hope Q. Washington can be effective and give MM a chance at a breather once in a while.  I hope Vinopal learned enough in fall camp and in practices the first half of this season that he can produce and that is what the coaches are seeing.  I hope bringing Cam closer to the LOS will allow him to light some people up. 


Here's to PSU getting Denard'ed and the D making a few stops to get some confidece for a stretch run!  Come on, Rich Rod.   Go BLUE!


October 29th, 2010 at 7:12 PM ^

but im excited either way to see the potential for these kids.  We all watch Ray/Carvin/M-Rob youtube highlights, but seeing the real deal on Saturday could be special. Is it kickoff yet??? 


October 29th, 2010 at 8:34 PM ^

Well lets see it was early in the season, the true freshman were still learning one postion, RS freshmen were still learning one postion, It wasn't clear that things weren't working ( in fact if anything it looked like things would only get better), there wasn't a bye week to try things out without screwing over any chance of a serious game plan, and oh we weren't good enough to sub in 2nd or 3rd strings ( at the time). I dont know pick one of those.