Senior offensive guard John Sullen
Wednesday, in the third scrimmage of preseason camp, each was on the first team, Sullen at left guard and Evans at strongside linebacker.
Evans started nine games last season and was in on 40 tackles, but he underwent shoulder surgery and could only watch as first-year coordinator Brian VanGorder began installing his defense in spring practice.
"It was pretty bad seeing my friends go out and practice without me," Evans said. "It was really hard to watch that and not be a part of it."
But as camp unfolded, VanGorder liked what he saw of Evans. Last week, Evans moved to the strong side with Justin Garrett. And Wednesday he moved to the front.
"I'm always up for great competition," said Evans, 5-foot-11 and 231 pounds. "Starting off low, I knew I had to work to get where I had to get. I had to learn the system because I sat out the spring.
"It's a challenge in this defense because you have to know the alignments and the exact little details of what this person or that person is doing on every play. It's been really tough. Jumping into fall camp after missing spring, everything is fast-paced. I'm pretty much jumping right into the fire."
Sullen, 6-foot-5 and 313 pounds, was the projected starter at left guard. He missed the first four days of camp, but he says he's back at full-speed just in time.
"I'm very excited to play," Sullen said. "Watching is not fun at all. There is plenty of competition. You take a step back, you might be with the second group. You have to keep getting better every day."
STARTING LINEBACKERS IN WEDNESDAY SCRIMMAGE
SLB Jonathan Evans, 5-11, 231, Sr.
MLB Jake Holland, 6-1, 236, Jr.
WLB Daren Bates, 5-11, 215, Sr.
STARTING OFFENSIVE LINE IN WEDNESDAY SCRIMMAGE
LT Greg Robinson, 6-5, 311, RFr.
LG John Sullen, 6-5, 313, Sr.
C Reese Dismukes, 6-3, 302, So.
RG Alex Kozan, 6-4, 294, Fr.
RT Chad Slade, 6-5, 301, So.