Some questions are being answered

The Wildcat football team entered spring practice with a lot of questions to answer. After about 2/3 of practice concluded, we are starting to get the first of the answers.

What will the offense look like?

We've only gotten a small taste, but the offense seems like an amalgam of several spread offenses that we have seen. In most cases it resembled the four receiver sets of Texas Tech, but we have seen everything from two tight ends to the standard I formation. Considering that the Wildcats went pretty vanilla in the first spring scrimmage, you can bet there will be many variations that we have not seen.

Will the Wildcats run the ball?

In the first scrimmage the Cats ran the ball about 30% of the time, but when they did, they did so effectively. The Cats picked up nearly nine yards a carry. To add to the effectiveness, the offense utilizes short passes, screens and even the shovel pass to run clock and gain "safe" yardage.

The bigger question is who will run the ball? That battle probably won't be decided until the end of fall camp. Chris Jennings, Xavier Smith and Terry Longbons all ran the ball effectively. At this stage Jennings looks to be best suited, as he is the shiftiest of the backs, but all three have skills that can be utilized in the offense.

How will they use Earl Mitchell?

The short answer is any way they want. In the scrimmage they used him at fullback, H-back and full back. He did not get a lot of touches but he seems as if they will use him in as many, if not more ways than they did last season.

How fast can the pick up the offense?

They seem to have picked things up very quick, at least the basics. It may take awhile to master all the intricacies of the scheme, but they basics seem to be coming very quick. With another week of drills, plus all of fall, the prognosis for having a working knowledge of the offense seems very good.

Are there receivers after Mike Thomas and Anthony Johnson?

It is too early to pronounce anyone a future star, but Terrell Reese, Terrell Turner, Delashaun Dean and B.J. Dennard have all had solid camps to date. The chance of them being solid receivers next season seems pretty good.

Is there life after Nic Folk?

Yes and no. Keenyn Crier has an unbelievable leg and should make people forget about Nick Folk the punter. He still has to gain consistency, but he can boom it. The prognosis is not as good for Jason Bondzio. He's had a decent camp, but he did not look great in the first scrimmage. He's accurate, but he does not have the leg strength that Folk does. He should be able to hit from 45-yards and in, but kickoffs could be an adventure, especially since they moved it back to the 30.

Will the offensive line be better than last year?

The early prognosis is good. The new scheme seems to suit the players and they did a very nice job in the scrimmage. There seems to be good competition at just about every spot and players like Blake Kerley and Eben Britton are really emerging as leaders.

Of course there are still a ton of questions left unanswered. We should learn a little more about this team after the spring game, but most won't fully be answered until the team takes the field.


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