Senior Bo Wallace returns at quarterback and will go through spring drills for the first time since 2012, having missed spring practice last year recovering from offseason shoulder surgery.
"I feel like strength-wise, I'm a lot better than I was at the end of the year," Wallace said. "It's not exactly where I want it to be. From the time period I have had to get it right, I feel good about it. I have been throwing. Every day, I stay an hour or an hour and 15 minutes extra working on shoulder stuff and mobility stuff. I know I have put in the work, so I trust that it's going to get better."
"He said he feels as good as he has felt in two years," head coach Hugh Freeze said. "We'll see how that goes. He didn't get to do any offseason training last year and that showed as the year went on and his arm strength deteriorated some. We're confident that it should be stronger, and hopefully it will stay consistently strong."
Behind Wallace is a four-way battle for the backup quarterback position between redshirt freshmen DeVante Kincade and Ryan Buchanan, along with sophomore Jeremy Liggins and freshman Kendrick Doss.
"Jeremy and Kendrick are both eager to learn and ask a lot of questions," Wallace said. "Ryan and DeVante are coming on. They're starting to know it better. It's going to be fun to watch."
"I would say no one is ahead of the pack," Freeze said. Based on last year, there were some things that DeVante does naturally better than Ryan, and there are some things that Ryan does naturally better than him, and we didn't have the other two here."
A few other notes from practice:
Sophomore Kailo Moore, listed as a running back, practiced with the cornerbacks Tuesday. Freeze said he expects him to stay there, and he may run certain packages offensively.
"He is going to play some field corner this spring to see how he adjusts there," Freeze said. "He's all for that. He's kind of wanted to do that for a while."
With the departure of Donte Moncrief, sophomore Laquon Treadwell will move to outside receiver, and fellow sophomore Quincy Adeboyejo will move to inside receiver. Senior Vince Sanders, junior Cody Core and senior Collins Moore will also work at outside receiver, with juniors Quintavius Burdette and Quadarias Mireles moving from cornerback to inside receiver.
Both Treadwell and Adeboyejo excelled in their new roles Tuesday, as well as sophomore tight end Evan Engram, who participated in position drills with the wide receivers.
On the offensive line, redshirt freshman Christian Morris (Achilles) and senior Aaron Morris (ACL) will be out for the spring, and sophomore Austin Golson (shoulder) will be limited this spring.
The first-team offensive line Tuesday consisted of sophomore Laremy Tunsil at left tackle, junior Justin Bell at left guard, junior Ben Still at center, redshirt freshman Daronte Bouldin at right guard and sophomore Robert Conyers and redshirt freshman Davion Johnson splitting time at right tackle.
"That's the spot we're hurting the most at," Freeze said of the offensive line. "We're looking forward to a spring where we look and we have two full depth charts and replacements for those. Right now, we have full one, and we will use some walk-ons to make up the second one."
Senior Carlton Martin, listed as both an offensive lineman and defensive tackle, and junior Channing Ward, listed as both a defensive end and tight end, will stay on offense for spring practice, Freeze said, and that they could immediately go back to defense in summer workouts and not miss a lot.
"He will help us get a two-deep offensive line and also make sure he's getting a chance to contribute in his senior season," Freeze said of Martin. "He's one of our strongest players. We have a little more depth inside on the defensive line, so he's jumped in, and we'll see how he does this spring."
"We will see how he will adjust to that," Freeze said of Ward. "We are trying to make we get him into a good position to contribute to this football team a lot."
Other position changes include sophomore Jeremy Liggins who will split time between quarterback and tight end, senior D.T. Shackelford, who will start at Mike linebacker and junior Chief Brown who will move from safety to Huskie
Sophomores Anthony Alford and Fadol Brown, who both sat out last season due to NCAA transfer rules, are expected to step in and compete for playing time this fall. Alford ran with second-team defense at safety, while Brown ran with the first-team defense at defensive end.
"I feel like I can help the team out now and play a role as part of the defense," Alford said. "I just come out and work hard every day and everything else will take of itself."
In the return game, Freeze mentioned junior running back Jaylen Walton, sophomore running back/cornerback Kailo Moore, sophomore safety Anthony Alford, junior safety Trae Elston and redshirt freshman Eugene Brazley as options at kickoff returner. Freeze mentioned Alford, as well as sophomore wide receiver Quincy Adeboyejo as options for returning punts.