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HomeSportsUT
Published: 8/27/2009

Page is listed as starter for Rockets

BY ZACH SILKA
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

The transition to college football is apparently going well for Eric Page.

The University of Toledo freshman and Springfield graduate was listed as the starter at the wide receiver "M" position - or slot receiver - on the team's depth chart released yesterday.

Named Ohio's Division II co-offensive player of the year in 2008, Page racked up 2,381 rushing yards and 1,102 passing yards while also running for 34 touchdowns, passing for 11 more and kicking 47 extra points.

After three weeks of practices with the Rockets, Page has continued to impress.

"He's probably as intelligent a freshman that [UT slot receivers/tight ends coach] Jason Candle has ever coached," UT head coach Tim Beckman said. "He picked up [the offense] very easy, and that gave him the opportunity to jump in front of people."

Page was unavailable for comment because freshmen are barred from speaking with the media under Beckman.

Freshman free safety Jermaine Robinson, who enrolled at UT in January and participated in spring practices with the Rockets, is also listed as a starter at his position.

"He had a great spring and a great camp," Beckman said. "He's a very good football player."

Freshman quarterback Austin Dantin has made waves by leap-frogging junior Alex Pettee and redshirt freshman David Pasquale to take over the backup duties behind senior Aaron Opelt.

Dantin completed 62 percent of his passes for 1,856 yards and 18 touchdowns last year for Leon High School in Tallahassee, Fla.

"He's proven he's ahead of his time for a freshman," Beckman said.

"He's a very mature kid. He handles an offense well for being 18 years old. We're impressed with what he's done. Probably the two best freshmen on offense have been him and Page."

Other freshmen listed as backups on the depth chart who will be in the mix for playing time include defensive end T.J. Fatinikun, a Perrysburg graduate, and linebackers Robert Bell and Dan Molls.

"I'm happy with all the freshmen," Beckman said. "I think you're going to see some more freshmen. We've got a good mixture, and the seniors have done a great job of leading them."

All other positions have remained basically unchanged from the preseason depth chart, but that doesn't mean there won't be alterations before the Sept. 5 season opener at Purdue, with competition still ongoing at several spots.

Sophomore junior college transfer Ryan Casano, who will handle kickoff duties, is continuing to push senior kicker Alex Steigerwald and sophomore punter Bill Claus.

"Ryan Casano has done a great job with his field goal kicking," Beckman said. "He kicked a 56-yarder the other night in a competition between him and Steigs, so he has a strong leg."

ROCKET WALK: UT fans will get an opportunity to get a little closer to their favorite players this season under a new tradition started by Beckman.

About 2 1/2 hours before every home game this season, the Rockets will walk from the Savage Arena south parking lot to their locker room at the Larimer Athletic Complex.

Accompanying the Rockets on their walk will be the UT drum line, and fans are encouraged to line the team's path to the stadium.

"We're trying to start something new," Beckman said. "It's huge to see the support and the tailgating and all that sort of stuff. That's what college football is all about."

Contact Zach Silka at:

silka@theblade.com.



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