The early practices were sometimes sloppy and full of mistakes. I attribute that to missing a lot of veteran leadership and being without most of our best players on the field. We went through much or all of spring without: Daryl Smith, Greg Gathers, Keyaron Fox, Leon Robinson, Nate Dorsey, & Tony Hollings.
Let's face it; it's a totally different team in fall if we hit the field without this group of players.
The offense had issues for most of spring trying to get some chemistry on the OL that was featuring 3 new starters from last season (2 spots due to injury and 1 to graduation). Not only that, the QBs struggled to find a rhythm until finally having some success in the last week or so of practice.
The OL, particularly the right side, made some good progress. The good thing about missing all of our top players is that we really got to see what we have available behind them. Increased reps really worked out well for the likes of Michael Sampson, Gerris Wilkerson, Kingi McNair, & Eric Henderson. We now know that we have some solid talent behind those guys that are returning and have capable replacements in case they aren't 100%.
I think we've had better spring performances but I also think that a lot of learning went on this year. Hopefully some of the young guys have taken their lumps now and will be closer to being ready to compete in fall.
Overall it was a more physical camp and I hope the added toughness shows itself in fall, which starts off with a pretty tough schedule. The defense again looks pretty tough, but the offense will succeed or fail based on how the Quarterbacks play. That position hurts the overall grade I'm giving for spring more than any other.
We still have questions to answer there in fall when I had hoped Bilbo would have solidified the position this spring.
Best performance by a senior, Offense: Jonathan Smith
& Hugh Reilly
Best performance by a senior, Defense: Ather Brown
Best performance by a RS freshman, Offense: George Cooper
Best performance by a RS freshman, Defense: Kingi McNair
Best comeback player: Nate Curry
Most memorable play: P.J. Daniels turning a one-yard gain into long touchdown when he backed up, changed directions and darted through the secondary for the score.
Loudest Coach: Tenuta
Best intimidators: Tony Hargrove & Eric Henderson
Most promising position change: Mike Matthews to FB
Best attendance from a parent: Mr. Reilly
Best attendance from a former player: Ray Blake
Best attendance from incoming player: Joe Gaston
Most boisterous player that didn't play: Tony Hollings
Friendliest player to talk to after practice: Ajenavi Eziemefe
Offensive MVP: Hugh Reilly
Defensive MVP: Eric Henderson
Spring Game MVP: Reuben Houston