At tackle, can Ken Smith and Jarquez Samuel give the Herd a dozen good snaps a game?
Linebackers - A major, major issue, especially with new defensive coordinator Chuck Heater going with a 4-2-5 alignment much of the time. In those formations, there will be two linebackers, and the Herd has been rotating those practice by practice.
So you'll see Billy Mitchell, Jermaine Holmes, Cortez Carter and Stefan Houston is whatever order. Just don't read much into it, particularly with Kent Turene, Evan McKelvey and Raheem Waiters returning from injury.
Cornerbacks - The first thing to notice is the much-welcomed return of Darryl Roberts. The second thing you may notice is there won't be a 12-yard cushion conceded to receivers. From there, compare Derrick Thomas to Monterius Lovett. Keith Baxter may get snaps today, wearing a red "no contact" jersey.
Nickel back - Not the rock band, the freshman wearing No. 19. That's Corey Tindal. He can play. You'll see Derek Mitchell, who plays more of a "Sam" linebacker.
Safeties - D.J. Hunter is back home on the range, so that's one position not really in dispute. Junior-college import Taj Letman has established himself as the running mate this spring, subject to what A.J. Leggett and/or Shawn Samuels can do in the fall.
Leggett and Samuels have been an all-red-jersey tag-team, but they haven't been cheated on non-contact reps. They may play some today.
What to expect, overall - The starting defense is an obvious underdog, but made strides when Heater installed his first blitz package. On the second string, the defense gains the upper hand in the trenches, and has given Blake Frohnapfel and Holcombe good pressure.
Special teams - With only Justin Haig kicking and Tyler Williams punting, there has been little suspense this spring. There will be no live special-teams action today.
Reach Doug Smock at 304-348-5130, dougsm...@wvgazette.com or follow him at twitter.com/dougsmock.