On Saturday, Pat Fitzgerald kept us honest by starting true freshman Rashawn Slater at right tackle and Jalen Brown at wide receiver despite the depth chart indicating otherwise. That said, Slater and Gunnar Vogel rotated fairly evenly and Macan Wilson, who was replaced by Brown on Northwestern’s first offensive snap, played more than the Oregon graduate transfer did. From Week 1 to Week 2, there were a few noticeable changes to the depth chart.
Rashawn Slater gets the first-team nod at right tackle over Gunnar Vogel, although the two should continue to rotate. After the win over Nevada, Fitzgerald had this to say about the right tackle situation: "We're going to play the guy who is playing better. Based on the rotation I'd say both were equally good or bad."
Notably, John Moten IV remains listed as the second-team running back ahead of redshirt freshman Jeremy Larkin. Larkin got the bulk of the carries behind Justin Jackson on Saturday, gaining 16 yards on six rushes. Moten IV managed one yard on just three carries. Although he was listed as the backup kick returner to Jelani Roberts, Moten IV was the deep man on each Nevada kickoff and had three returns for 49 yards. He moved up on the Week 2 depth chart to first-team kick returner.
Wide receiver Riley Lees didn’t crack the two-deep despite reeling in two receptions for 35-yards and a touchdown. Fellow redshirt freshman Ramaud Chiaokhiao-Bowman is listed on the second-team along with Jelani Roberts and Jalen Brown.
On the defensive side, true freshman Samdup Miller replaces Fred Wyatt on the first-team, joining Joe Gaziano, Tyler Lancaster and Jordan Thompson. Miller actually started and was on the field much more than Wyatt on Saturday, recording four tackles, two solo, and 0.5 TFL, so the switch doesn’t come as a huge surprise. Wyatt moves to second-team along with Trent Goens, Alex Miller and Ben Oxley, who has made the switch back to the defensive side of the ball where he played as a redshirt freshman.
While there was no question about the linebacker depth which remained unchanged, the cornerback situation is one we’re going to monitor. Starting corner Marcus McShepard had to exit the game on Saturday with an apparent arm/shoulder injury, and his replacement Brian Bullock left with a lower body injury after a pass breakup. However, both McShepard and Bullock are listed on the Week 2 depth chart which is a hopeful sign that they will be ready to go against Duke. Robert Morris (Ill.) graduate transfer Moe Almasri will provide depth at corner while freshman JR Pace slides into the backup safety role. The little-known Almasri has tremendous speed and was an asset for the Wildcats on nearly every special team on Saturday. Pace has plenty of length and athleticism and appears to be the most ready (and healthy) of the freshmen defensive backs. He might be the next in line at corner if either McShepard or Bullock can’t go in Durham.
Nine true freshmen burned their redshirts Week 1 and fittingly, five cracked the Week 2 two-deep.