Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Spring game thoughts

During the Big Ten Network's day-long orgy of UW athletics, I recorded the spring game, and watched it on a rainy Sunday. Not too much going on, but it satisfied my football jones for the time being, and I've got some thoughts and feelings.

-Philip Welch looks like the kicker, more reliable on his attemps than Matt Fischer. The other specialist, punter Brad DeBauche, didn't look all that good, leaving the door wide open for incoming freshman Brad Nortman.

-Scott Tolzien looked pretty good at quarterback, showed nice chemistry with T.J. Theus. Tolzien did miss a wide open Maurice Moore in the end zone, a play that Jay Valai misplayed. Valai did make a nice pick later.

-Allen Evridge was OK, nothing spectacular, nothing horrible. Most of the national stuff that's been written about our team lately has been calling quarterback play a big question mark and doubting our guys. Setting the bar low ... I have a feeling the guys will jump over that bar.

-Chris Maragos showed great ball skills and athleticism, with one interception and another one that should have been. Niles Brinkley made a really nice play on his pick as well.

-On the flip side, Prince Moody and Otis Merrill didn't look very good at cornerback.

-The first string Cardinal squad ran the ball well enough, but given that the first string offensive line was fully in tact, and the defensive line was missing about 87 guys because of injury, the O Line did not dominate as much as would have been expected.

-Lance Smith looked really good, showing patience as his blocking developed. Having him for all games, health willing, will add a dynamic element to the offense. Zach Brown ran well before going down. And John Clay was as good as advertised - not dominant yet, but effective right off the bat. He's going to be a beast; I can see "Joooooohn Clay" becoming the new "Roooooon Dayne." We've got to have the best group of running backs in the country.

-Dustin Sherer had some nice hook-ups with David Gilreath. Gilreath had a strong showing overall.

-Curt Phillips didn't do much, but my favorite moment for him actually came after a play was whistled dead. Phillips was wearing a green no-contact jersey, and as defenders encountered him on one play it was whistled dead, but he took off upfield and showed a tremendous burst. I'm looking forward to him getting a year under him as a redshirt and getting ready to compete for the starting job in 2009.

-James Stallon is Jim Sorgi skinny, maybe even more. He's listed at 6-5, 172 pounds ... maybe pass rushers won't see him back there. And apparently his last name is pronounced "Stalins" not "Stal - ens." I'd rethink that if I was him.

-Said it before, will say it again: Lance Kendricks is the next Travis Beckum, starting in 2009.

-On the mic, the normally steady Jay Wilson made mistake after mistake, and not on obscure seventh stringers but on guys who will see time this season. Luke Swan wasn't as bad as I thought he'd be, although his voice did get drowned out by the band at times. He looked really small next to Wilson, surprisingly small.

Only a couple months until fall camp starts, can't wait!


Edward said...

I watched a month ago. I did the ol' fast forward the DVR between every play. I pretty much saw the whole game in 10 minutes. A lot of blah and meh. I agree the running backs were the highlight. We'll see what Clay can do against starters, but WOW he looks like a horse.
I just can't get into spring games. I did watch the last 20 minutes of 2005 Badgers-Minnesota game last week on the Big GTen network. Still amazing.

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