Big 12 Spring Game Reviews
Spring Game Reviews
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The annual Black and
Gold spring game was highlighted by strong quarterback play, including
2007 starting quarterback Cody Hawkins. The Black defeated the Gold
28-17 behind a 15 of 22/185 yard/two touchdown performance for Hawkins.
The installation of the new no-huddle, hurry-up offense went well for
the offense this spring, as evidenced by the quarterbacks’ effort. The
spotlight was also on the running backs this spring, with stud recruit
Darrell Scott arriving this summer, and as a group, they performed
adequately, led by Demetrius Sumler who had 43 yards on eleven carries.
With four year starting
quarterback Bret Meyer finally out from under center, the focus of the
final scrimmage for the Cyclones was to find their offensive leader.
Austen Arnaud threw for a touchdown, but only completed 33% of his
passes and threw three interceptions. His counterpart Philip Bates had
a much better performance, completing 15 of 27 passes for 140 yards and
two touchdowns. Running back Alexander Robinson garnered the praise of
head coach Gene Chizik after his 13 carry, 58 yard performance.
In the team’s annual
Blue and White spring game, the Blue came out on top 17-3. Although All
Big 12 candidate quarterback Todd Reesing played the majority of the
game for the Blue, the defense was the star of the show, forcing two
interceptions by the gritty Jayhawk signal caller. In all, both
defenses generated four turnovers, including the Blue’s first touchdown,
a 23-yard fumble return by defensive back Kendrick Harper.
Well, the points
weren’t plentiful, that’s for sure. The annual Purple and White spring
game was a slugfest with the only points coming on a 51 yard field goal
by Josh Cherry to give the White a 3-0 win. The offensive star of the
game was the Purple’s Keithen Valentine who ran for more yards (104)
than the White gained (76) all day long. The White defense was led by
Virginia transfer linebacker Olu Hall who had five tackles on the day.
The buzz in Columbia is
as loud as it’s ever been and it was evident for the spring game –
televised on ESPNU with over 26,000 in attendance. What they saw was
nearly the same thing they saw at the end of the 2007 season and a 71-28
win for the offense. Heisman candidate Chase Daniel was his usual
prolific self, completing 22 of 28 passes for 195 yards and two
touchdowns. And, in another non-surprise, wide receiver Jemery Maclin
had six receptions for 52 yards and a touchdown. However, the defense
took some hits this spring, in particular linebacker Van Alexander who
went down with a torn knee ligament.
Think the Big Red fans
are a weeeee bit excited? 80,000 turned out for the annual red and
white spring game to see new head coach Bo Pelini’s charges take the
field. Starting quarterback Joe Ganz completed only four passes on the
day, but they were memorable as the Red defeated the White 24-14. Ganz
threw for a 77 yard touchdown to Cureski Gilleylan and a 24 yard
touchdown to Marcus Mendoza for two of the three Red touchdowns.
Art Briles’ Baylor
Bears finished spring practice with a final scrimmage in lieu of a
traditional spring game. Running back Jay Finley was the star of the
scrimmage, rushing for 73 yards and a touchdown, but it may have been
the rookie who stole the show. That rookie is quarterback Robert
Griffin, the January enrollee from Copperas Cove. Griffin, who
graduated from high school early, completed five of nine passes for 66
yards and showed off his wheels as well, rushing for 30 yards on five
carries. He still may not start at quarterback in 2008, but his showing
gave fans a glimpse of what to expect in the not-so-distant future.
In the team’s final
scrimmage of the spring season, the defense more than held its own
against quarterback Sam Bradford and company, scoring three times on
three ‘pick sixes’. Soon-to-be starting cornerback Dominique Franks
kicked off the pick six parade with a 57-yarder off of Bradford and then
added two other interceptions on the day. The secondary has the most
holes to fill on this squad; considering the fact Franks and fellow
corner Jonathan Nelson (an 81-yard interception for a touchdown) had
strong days spoke volumes as to why head coach Bob Stoops felt so good
about his back four.
Nearly 20,000 people
showed up to see the Orange defeat the White 9-7 in the team’s annual
spring game. Seb Clements came up with his only tackle for a loss on
the day, one that resulted in a safety and the game clinching two
points. Clements had a strong day with five tackles and the
aforementioned safety, but Jamie Blatnick was just as dominant coming up
with three sacks to lead the Orange. Orange running backs Melvin Davis
and Kelvin Hunter ran for a combined 142 yards to lead the victors.
In a completely new
spring game format, the North defeated the South 14-10, while the ground
attack took center stage on the day. Quarterback John Chiles, known for
his game-breaking ability, rushed for 75 yards on nine carries, while
running back Foswhitt Whittaker accounted for two touchdowns rushing
(eight carries, 43 yards). The defense proved to be more physical under
new defensive coordinator Will Muschamp at the helm and was led by
linebacker Roddrick Muckelroy, a player Texas fans have been waiting to
see take the next step for a while now.
Perhaps making a
statement for the new coaching staff or for the doubters out there,
running back Mike Goodson accounted for 58 yards on eight carries to set
the tone for the entire scrimmage. Goodson’s Texas A&M squad defeated
the Aggies 14-3 in the first half, while the second half was devoted to
‘situational’ football. Goodson wasn’t without peer during the spring
game as redshirt freshman Bradley Stephens impressed, as did Cornell
Tarrant, who had a 40-yard touchdown run down the sideline.
Although it wasn’t the
last time the Red Raiders offense and defense swapped paint for the
spring, the defense beat the offense 29-23 in the annual Red-Black game
in Lubbock. The revamped defensive line had a stellar day. Juco
transfer McKinner Dixon had a pair of sacks, while Richard Jones led the
way with three. Quarterback Graham Harrell completed 17 of 29 passes
for 209 yards and a touchdown to star receiver Michael Crabtree. But,
head coach Mike Leach wasn’t happy with the offense’s output to say the
least. Hello, Monday scrimmage.