Don't be surprised this season if Colorado St. Rams junior linebacker Shaquil Barrett puts a hand down on the defensive line, says first-year head coach Jim McElwain (via CSURams.com). Because the team lost Nordly Capi and others during the offseason, the Rams lack depth on the defensive line. And those players currently on the defensive line are mostly just freshmen and sophomores.
Barrett, 6 feet 2 and 250 pounds, had 99 tackles, 4.5 tackles for a loss and 2.5 sacks as a sophomore in 2011. McElwain will certainly pay close attention to how he works there at camp, but the head coach is also looking for the freshmen to step up. In particular, 320-pound defensive tackle Shaq Walker is one of those players McElwain wants to step up. However, it doesn't sound like it's close to happening yet (via CSURams.com):
"You’re hoping you’ll get some plays out of him," McElwain said. "He has to work himself in shape. He has to learn what it is to be a college football player. I’ll tell you this about Shaq, he is trying."
That's not encouraging, but it's not admitting defeat. There is plenty of time for Walker to play his way into the rotation.
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