For football staffs, it's always a conundrum this time each year: redshirt a true freshman who might not play or play a true freshman who's borderline and coaches aren't sure about.
Assistant coach Shane Beamer has three such players this fall, though all three might be closer to playing than redshirting this fall. Shai McKenzie, Marshawn Williams and Travon McMillian have all impressed at times this fall, but none of the three have locked up a spot yet.
All three are dealing with an injury or switch, too. McKenzie tore his ACL last fall, while Williams has been limited this fall following hernia surgery last month and McMillian just made the switch last week from quarterback.
McKenzie especially has looked solid thus far. And for now, he's won his position coach's approval.
"If he was only carrying the ball three times a game and he really wasn't factoring in on special teams, then I would say redshirting is better for him," Beamer said. "Where we stand right now, I don't envision that happening. There's a lot that could happen between now and the first game, but the track he's on, he's probably put himself in position to carry the ball more than three times a game."
Only one of the three can have the ball at a time. And with redshirt freshman Trey Edmunds and junior J.C. Coleman especially factoring in, the carries might be hard to come by. For Beamer, it'll come down to a number of issues that ultimately determine who redshirts and who doesn't.
"As a staff, we're worried about 2014 and let's do what's best for 2014," Beamer said. "We're sitting around and we spend an hour in the staff meeting talking about some of our defensive guys. They're probably not gonna figure in on defense, but they could probably help us on our special teams right now. You know what? Let's play 'em. If they can help us on special teams, let's roll and go play and it'll help 'em that much more next year for defense and it's kinda the same thing for offense."
Below is Beamer's full interview with the media this week:
Click Here to view this video.