Cal Poly traveled to New Mexico State last week with six true freshmen looking to make their collegiate debuts.
As it turned out, all but two remained on the bench. Grayshirt fullback Joe Protheroe appeared on special teams but did not play an offensive snap. Neither did true freshman slotback Lance Mudd.
That could change today against South Dakota State.
“Joe Protheroe will probably play a little bit more, and maybe Lance Mudd,” Cal Poly head coach Tim Walsh said. “That’s not a guarantee, but we might play them a little more, force-feed them to see how much they actually really do know rather than trying to protect them. I think we need to throw them into the fire.”
Sophomore defensive ends Josh Letuligasenoa and Kelly Shepard made their debuts in the starting lineup last week while seniors and projected starters Jake Irwin and Chris Judge stayed home recovering from hip surgery.
Walsh was hoping to bring both Irwin and Judge to South Dakota State as long as they are physically able to play. As the team prepared to embark on Friday’s charter flight, a final decision had yet to be made public.
One defensive change to the starting lineup was announced, however. Junior linebacker Burton De Koning, a transfer from Nevada, will start at strongside linebacker after making a pair of tackles late in last week’s 28-10 loss to the Aggies.
“He played well in the fourth quarter,” Walsh said. “We’ll see what he can do in the first quarter now.”
Offensively, sophomore Derrick Sabo will start at left guard. The projected starter missed the New Mexico State loss with a minor injury.
FLOWERS WAITING TO RETURN
Senior defensive end Wesley Flowers attended practice this week but did not participate while he continues to serve a suspension for a violation of an unspecified team policy.
Flowers, a former UCLA transfer, had 11 tackles last season, including five in his lone start, a 41-25 loss at Fresno State. Walsh said Flowers could be eligible to return by midseason.