With his second spring practice set for March 6, UNT coach Todd Dodge has much on his mind.
It's a laundry list, starting at center and defensive tackle. On Wednesday, DT Isaac Thomas was released from a Denton hospital after nine days of treatment for a blood clot in his leg that, thankfully, was detected early. In 2002, Texas A&M defensive tackle Brandon Fails died when a similar leg clot traveled to his lungs.
Thomas, UNT's 300-pound bear in the middle of the DL, has not been cleared for physical activity. Dodge said Thursday he'll know more about Thomas' spring status next week. Right now, he's a no-go. Joseph Miller and Jonathan Stewart are the spring first-teamers, with redshirt freshmen Jesse DeSoto and Jordan Scoggins right behind. Moving defensive end Charlie Brown inside is a possibility, Dodge said.
On Thursday, starting center Kelvin Drake will have surgery to "clean out" an injured ankle he played on late last season. UNT first thought Drake could heal with rest by March 6, but that's no longer an option. He can run and cut in early July. "The decision was whether to have him for spring or two-a-days," Dodge said.
Drake's main backup, Chad Rose, will miss spring practice after shoulder surgery. Rose started 12 games at center in 2006. So, redshirt freshman J.J. Johnson will "get a ton of reps," Dodge said. With junior-college transfers Nate Jenkins and Gabe Hollivay not arriving until August, the OL will be more of a look-see deal this spring.
--OG/OT Tyler Bailey is up to 295 pounds and could play 2-3 line positions this spring.
--WR Evan Fentriss (knee) will miss the spring. Fentriss, a transfer from Rice who sat out 2007 as per transfer rules, was one of last spring's more exciting players.
--DE Tye Rexrode will forgo his final year of eligibility and not return by his choice, Dodge said.
--Back this spring from 2007 injuries/surgery are LB Colt Mahan and DB Zach Babb.