Defensive continuity is one of the things that stands out as the University at Buffalo conducts its spring practices.
The Bulls have a lot of people returning to the first, second and third-teams on defense. Technically, there are eight starters back, but actually 10 prospective starters have played a ton for the Bulls.
The first-team defensive line in Tuesday’s practice at the ADPRO Training Center in Orchard Park was: Demone Harris, Chris Ford, Max Perisse and Brandon Crawford. They’re all returning starters.
The prospective linebacker starters are Jarrett Franklin, Khalil Hodge and Brandon Berry (a returning starter). Franklin sat out last year due to injury but was a starter in 2014. Hodge is a big, 240-pounder at middle linebacker who UB recruited from the City College of San Francisco. He’s a sophomore.
The prospective secondary starters: Boise Ross and Cam Lewis at corners and Ryan Williamson and Andrews Dadeboe at safety. Only Lewis wasn’t a starter last year, but he played a ton in the nickel defense.
Lineup rotations are constantly fluctuating in the spring as coaches mix and match and try different combinations. Few conclusions can be made from the depth chart. Plus a few guys were injured or absent.
Nevertheless, here were players working on the second and third teams on the defensive line: Randy Anyanwu, Justin Brandon, Charles Harris, Torey Hendrick, Jake Khoury, Duke Hwang, Corey Henderson and Zach Emer.
At linebacker, Berry might have been sitting out Tuesday. Ishmael Hargrove saw some snaps with the first unit. Sophomore safety Jordan Collier got a lot of action as an in-the-box safety. Hargrove, Will White and walk-on Mike Mitris saw second-team action.
In the secondary, sophomore Brandon Williams and red-shirt freshman Cameron Skipworth were second-teamers at cornerback, with red-shirt freshman Jeremiah Dadeboe and sophomore Brandon Stanback getting plenty of snaps there, too. Among those working behind the starters at safety included Collier, Dev Lamour, Stanback, Tim Roberts, O.J. O’Neal and William Rembert.
UB has switched red-shirt freshman Christian Gonzalez from defensive tackle to offensive line.
As in the opening practice, graduate student Grant Rohach took a lot of the snaps with the starters at quarterback, with Tyree Jackson and Chris Merchant rotating behind him.
Sophomore running back Johnathan Hawkins, expected to be a key contributor this season, is sitting out while recovering from a shoulder injury.