June 23, 2024

Buster Fall Camp Day 9: The O-Line question (Audio)

Garden City, Kan (westernkansasnews.com)-Regardless of who wins the quarterback competition, it won’t mean much if the offensive line under performs. Cue first-year line coach Jerad Powers. 

“So far everything is going well,” Powers said following Monday night’s practice. “They’re all buying in to what we’re trying to do with the new schemes and the new verbiage.”

There’s no denying the talent and depth the Busters employ up front. It’s piecing it all together that’s the challenging part. 

This much we do know: Jarek Smalley, who’s already committed to Kansas, will start at left tackle. Garden City product Mitch Moore gets the nod at center. Beyond that, it’s still a crap shoot. 

“We have a bunch of guys going for different spots,” Powers said. “There’s plenty of depth.”

Possibilities at right tackle include Eugene Richardson from Miami Carol High School in Florida and Anfernee Turner from Newnan, Georgia. Jose Licon and Brock Sheppard from Leoti, KS are battling for guard spots while the Busters are duel training Lakin product Daylan Gilleland at guard and center. You can also throw in Jermaine Abron at guard, but he’s been battling an upper-body injury the last few days. 

Quarterbacks: where they stand

If it sounds repetitive, that’s because it is; Danarious Graham looked superb again on Monday. He completed 5-of-7 passes, including  a touchdown pass to Darryl Terrel down the left sideline. But that wasn’t even his most spectacular play. 

Following an incompletion to Monterio Burchfield on a bullet down the middle, Graham came back and hit Terrell on a seam route. The pass was a perfect spiral that he squeezed between two defenders. 

Bryce Gemmel definitely made strides (threading the needle to Brandon Snell on a cover 2 look for a touchdown). But two interceptions, including a one-handed pick six by T.J. Ellison made his day more mediocre than anything.

Tyler Lasalle was steady as he’s been throughout camp, completing 4-of-8 passes that included a touchdown to Snell. But he also got away with throwing into double coverage and some under thrown balls (Sam Green should have had a pick). 

At this point, it still appears Graham has the lead. 

“Right now it’s a neck-and-neck battle between Bryce (Gemmel) and Danarious (Graham) Miller said. “Those are our two out-of-staters.”

D-Line questions

Through two weeks of practice, the shuffle on the defensive line has gotten more pronounced. There are so many candidates that can do so many different things. There’s R.J. Hairston at defensive end, who’s been stellar in camp. There’s Nathan Fairbanks at tackle, that’s definitely had his moments. How about Ben Harper, who the coaches rave about. 

“He’s (Harper) done a lot of good things,” Miller said. 

And as we’ve previously mentioned Tyler Gastineau from Goodland, who can play as a down lineman or drop into coverage as a linebacker. But out of all those names, don’t expect a starting unit to be announced until Sunday. 

As for linebackers, right now it could be Dalton Gantz, Alex Neuschafer and T.J. Ellison. But can you really cement Gantz as a lock? Time will tell. Kalil Gray is making a strong push for one of the three spots. The only thing we knew for sure is Neuschafer is a lock. 

Next up: Practice continues Tuesday at 3:45 p.m.

O-Line Coach Jerad Powers after practice


Head Coach Matt Miller