O'Neill Chambers will successfully make the transition to defense and see a limited role on defense in 2012 according to 34% of voters. The second most popular response was special teams (26%), and being a role player on defense came in third with 18%. Ten percent voted for Chambers to be a major contributor on defense. The remaining ten percent was split with being a role player on offense and having a limited role on offense receiving 4% each, and being a major contributor on offense receiving the final 2%.
I think Chambers will only have a role on special teams this year.
As a freshman in 2008, Chambers established himself as one of the best kickoff returners in BYU history. Before being suspended indefinitely from the team in 2010, Chambers was reported to have set a new school record for kickoff return yards. I fully expect Chambers to line up opposite Cody Hoffman on kickoff returns to form the best kickoff return duo in school history.
Outside special teams, I don't think Chambers will see the field. He started spring practices working on defense. I don't like that move. For three years, he played offense. Last year he wasn't working with the team at all. He is jumping into a pool full of very high quality players. Several defensive backs have been waiting years to play. To make matters worse, he pulled his hamstring on the first day of spring practices. I don't see how Chambers is going to come in cold and rise to the top to play.
Maybe Chambers is using spring to test the waters on defense, and he will go back to receiver in the summer and fall if he isn't comfortable with the situation on defense following spring. That isn't a terrible idea, but after a year away from the team I don't think he should lose any time experimenting. While Chambers has been away, the pecking order at wide receiver solidified. The best he can hope for now is to be the number four wide receiver. Waiting until summer to rejoin that group will be detrimental to establishing himself as "the best non-starter."
I have said it before that the best move for Chambers would be move to the slot and split time with JD Falslev. He could fly under the radar with defenses focused on stopping Hoffman and Ross Apo, and his bigger body (6'2", 211) brings an element that Falslev can't. I can see Chambers having a nice comeback year at slot.
There is still time for things to change, but the way it looks now, I don't think Chambers will see any relevant action outside of special teams.
Thank you to everyone who voted. Don't forget to vote in this week's poll: "Will the two Rugby players make the team?"
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