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23 days to football: When is the right time for a position change?

We take a break from grading the units for a day to talk position changes.

Jared Byers once was a fullback.
Jared Byers once was a fullback.

If you read this morning's HCA, you probably saw the news Isaac Dotson moved from quarterback to safety. The move wasn't necessarily unexpected, Dotson came to WSU as an athlete with the chance to play quarterback, but it brought up an interesting question.

If you were a coach, when would you decide to make a position change?

Moving a player shortly into fall camp as a true freshman gives him a full year to work on transition while getting some reps on the scout team. That can be good for their future, but there is also the risk of moving a player too soon. In Dotson's case, there may have just not been a path to playing time at quarterback, but what about in other cases? Destiny Vaeao played defensive end as a freshman before transitioning to BUCK linebacker this season.

The coaching staff appears to prefer giving players a brief look before making the switch during their freshman fall camp. Alex Jackson and Rahmel Dockery moved from wide receiver to corner early last season. The only problem with that is the risk you don't see what a player is fully capable of. Could Jackson or Dockery be in the rotation at wide receiver this year if they hadn't moved? I think it's certainly possible, especially with the recent struggles at H receiver.

Regardless, I think the one key in moving players is sticking with whatever decision is made. Eric Oertel came to WSU as a running back. Moved to linebacker during his freshman season, moved running back as a sophomore before only going back to defense during that season. All of this while playing special teams and using up eligibility. The new staff kept Oertel at linebacker, but it sure feels like some of his early years were wasted.

How would you handle position changes if you were Mike Leach?

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