As week two of training camp begins at Roger Harring Stadium, Mike Schmidt has a lot of evaluating left to do.
The first round of roster cuts were made Saturday, but with the season-opener less than two weeks away, more cuts are coming this week. The first-year head coach of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Eagles said the roster will be down to 105 players before its September 3 matchup with Luther College.
The most noticeable battles are on defense. Schmidt said 18 linebackers are still fighting for 13 positions, and six or seven players remain in the mix for a starting spot.
"Jake Krueger, a freshman transfer out of Eastern Michigan, has had a great fall camp. I think he's going to be a great player, he's going to push some of those older guys like (Michael Garvey) and (Peter Krien) and (Noah Risch) for some playing time," Schmidt said. "I really think Tyler Hyde has done a great job at our outside linebacker position, and Nick Peters and Eric Bitney are pushing at the other outside position, so I think there's a lot of guys in this mix right now still."
The second safety position is also up for grabs, with Peter Kissling, Alexander Villarreal and Luke Winnen fighting to accompany Ryan Weber in the secondary.
Schmidt said the team is a little banged up, especially at wide receiver. but needs to continue full-contact work to find play-makers.
"That's part of the reason why we need to have some of these competition drills, some of the full-contact, because especially at the running back position and linebacker position, we've got to see how these guys are going to do to get our team ready to go and make a push through the WIAC season," Schmidt said.
Quarterback battle down to three
Schmidt said three players - Andrew Thompson, Tarek Yaeggi and Ben Schramski - have separated themselves at quarterback due to their athleticism and ability to stretch the field. Schmidt said he expects to name a starter early next week.
The Eagles have eight practices scheduled this week before Saturday's scrimmage at Loras College.