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August 16, 2012Tweet Follow @achiappazzi
The great myth about training camp each season is that it is the ultimate preparation for THIS season.
That's only partially true. Yes, the purpose in each camp is to introduce new players to the system, incorporate new ideas, and promote returning players up to new roles. But the additional role of training camp is less obvious, and it has more to do with creating depth and potential solutions down the road rather than solve any immediate issues.
Just look at any training camp exploration of the quarterbacks for a team like Robert Morris. There is no question that Jeff Sinclair, a three-year starter and a senior, is the main guy going into the season. And sophomore Matt Layman is about as secure in his status as the primary back-up as a guy can get. So once a freshman like Derik Abbott or Mikal Hall gets familiar with the system, what's the value in keeping those repetitions going? Shouldn't the coaches slowly gear toward getting Sinclair and Layman all the reps after the first scrimmage?
The short answer is no. Because as Robert Morris saw last year, there's no guarantee you'll need just two quarterbacks or six defensive linemen in a given season. But even beyond the focus for 2012, Robert Morris has to see what it has each year so it can recruit effectively. The Colonials were going to pick up a quarterback next year anyway, but maybe they need to get two if the results aren't what they expect.
There's also the look ahead. Robert Morris had to replace eight starters on defense last year, and maybe the Colonials were caught a little unprepared. The secondary hadn't seen much action, let alone worked together extensively. Three new linebackers had to emerge, many of whom had only played special teams. It's early in camp, but Robert Morris won't have those kinds of issues in 2012, and they're gearing up to have a similar approach in 2013. Just by looking at the current depth chart, Robert Morris will only have to replace - at most - four starters on offense in 2013 and five starters on defense. And even with those losses, the depth is more comforting (Kimani Smith for Brad Banas, maybe? Forrest Mason for Nolan Nearhoof? Layman for Sinclair?) than in years past.
Joe Walton, the players, and the coaches have all talked about how having fewer bodies because of the JV cuts has impacted camp. That's the biggest benefit right there.
For more from camp on Thursday, check out the full report.
ColonialsCorner publisher Andrew Chiappazzi can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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