With 11Fest in full blast just miles down the road, the Ohio Bobcats football team took the field for the 2013 spring game. Normally, the spring game is the college version of the NFL’s preseason; both sides go full speed and it is an early look at what players will be getting playing time come fall.
But for this football team, the massive amounts of injuries turned this edition of the spring game into a glorified scrimmage. For starters, starting quarterback Tyler Tettleton only participated in the 7-on-7 drills, as quarterbacks Derrius Vick, JD Sprague and Greg Windham took all of the live snaps against the ‘Cats defense. At running back, it was much of the same. Beau Blankenship played the first three snaps and called it a day. Ryan Boykin and Daz’mond Patterson both sat out as well, leaving a large portion of the carries to Kyle Hammonds, who carried the ball 10 times for 33 yards. Paul Wilks also saw significant action in the backfield, carrying the ball 8 times for 31 yards. As a team, the ‘Cats rushed for 94 yards.
With 139 days until the matchup with likely preseason Top-10 Louisville, it’s still not crystal clear what the ‘Cats will look like come the start of the season.
- The defense clearly outperformed the offense today. Unexpected players made big plays against the offense. That bodes well for a team that last year was defined by it’s offensive stars.
- The success of the defense should be taken with a grain of salt. With no Tettleton, Blankenship or Boykin, the offense was no where near full strength. Come fall, the offense should still be expected to be the driving force behind the Bobcats this season.
- Here are the stats from the quarterbacks. Vick: 3-5. 25 yards. Sprague: 2-3, 40 yards. Windham: 2-2, 9 yards. As these stats indicate, that trio of quarterbacks is pretty tight together behind Tettleton. Coach Frank Solich said as much after the game.
- At kicker, no one player stood out in the race to be at the top of the depth chart. The prohibitive favorite, Matt Green, still is waiting on NCAA clearance after transferring to be closer to his ill father. According to Coach Frank Solich, this race may not be decided until the fall.
- A total roundup of who was missing: seven offensive linemen (including four likely starters), six defensive backs, four wide receivers, three tight ends and three running backs.
Solich and assistant head coach Jimmy Burrow were made available to the media post game and both men were relatively pleased with the ‘Cats performance on Saturday.
“It’s about what I expected,” said Solich. “It’s clear that that we’ve got to get a lot better at execution, and I think in terms of execution, being a football team that can run and hit, I think we’ll have that. Now, the rest of its got to come.”
Injuries are a problem.
“It has been that way all spring. We just lost so many guys to surgery last year, that are just coming off it in terms of rehab and some of them are fairly close in terms of being able to be out here, but not there yet,” Solich said. “But there’s always a silver lining and that is that the young guys, the guys that had to get so many reps, should have benefited from those reps.”
For Burrow, there was a lot to like on the defensive side of the ball. They forced at least one turnover and largely dominated the action. An added surprise was the stellar play of early enrollees Dyquan Stewart and Jarid Brown, both coming out of Fork Union Military Academy in Virginia.
“Jarid and Dyquan both showed a lot of good things,” he said. “They did a good job and we’ll see. Both of ‘em are still possible redshirts, and they know that, but going into the summer we are going to give them every opportunity to compete during fall camp and continue to get better. And they did both get better.”
– “To me, he’s a mentor. I just look at it is an opportunity to show what I got and that’s it. That’s what this was today, and my whole entire spring.” – Sprague on getting extended time in absence of Tettleton.
– “We just had to be ready – mentally ready – because of the spring game to, like, a regular scrimmage. So, I think we came in prepared and we just knew that we had to work on our stuff because we have lots to improve before game one.” – Redshirt freshman Kurt Laseak on the switch of a full on game to a spring scrimmage.
– “We were forced into this corner. We didn’t have any choice.” – Solich on adjusting the spring game to a scrimmage.
– “I don’t think that’s an issue. You just try to count up the number reps he’s had through his career and it’s plenty to able to do what we did this spring with him. Two reasons, one, he doesn’t need a lot a of work, and then two, was we needed to get as much work as we could scrimmage wise, to the other three quarterbacks to try and see separation from them.” – Solich on having Tettleton sitting out.
– My favorite quote of the day: “No.” – Solich on if the coaching staff was any closer to figuring out the jumble of quarterbacks behind Tettleton.