The opening of the Tommy Tuberville era is less than three months away when the Bearcats host Purdue on Aug. 31. An influx of recruits and return of familiar stars leave an excitement of what UC can accomplish in The American.
With mass change in coaching staff comes unknown quantities up and down the roster. After holding a long conversation with Tommy Tuberville I churned out a list of the 10 players whose development will be most crucial to crossing the 10-win mark for the sixth time in seven years.
This won't be about pointing out the top players on the roster, though some stars will make the list, this will be about pointing out those who must take a step forward and spike production in order for this team to be successful. We'll run one player a day every day for the next two work weeks, counting down to No. 1.
Today at No. 9:
Year: Redshirt Sophomore
2012 Stats: Four passes defensed (vs. USF), 18 tackles
The Opportunity: With Camerron Cheatham no longer holding down the top corner spot, the Bearcats are in need of someone to step up opposite top remaining corner Deven Drane. Orr made strides last year as a Butch Jones favorite for his passion and work ethic, particularly during the grueling camp at Higher Ground. The primary competition should come from Adrien Witty and Leviticus Payne, who could just as easily be the names on this list.
Why development is crucial: Bottom line: The Bearcats need somebody to step up at corner, especially with their top competition in the American being Louisville with Teddy Bridgewater. This will be a wide open battle, though. Orr comes in with as much a pedigree as any, enjoyed a solid spring that included an interception in the final scrimmage and showed last year in flashes that he can play. He will need to return his focused mentality from last year's camp if he wants to be on the field for the first snap against Purdue.
Inside Take: This position battle will be one of the most interesting of the Fall. Even once it concludes expect to see a multitude of players manning the second corner. Tommy Tuberville said he likes to play 50-60 guys on gameday and rotate a number of positions. This would be near the top of that list.
I want to hear from you! Agree, disagree, befuddled? Shoot me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or hit me up on Twitter (@pauldehnerjr) with your thoughts on this list or anything else Bearcats football.