"The defensive front has been the best part of our team the whole spring," Ball State coach Stan Parrish said. "Robert Eddins has had a sensational spring. We can't block him right now off the edge. He has a chance to become a force."
The set-up for this year's game was different in year's past, as no score was kept. It was offense versus defense with both the No. 1 and No. 2 offense running on scripted plays by Parrish.
Cosby, a senior, played Saturday with a different emotion than normal. There are some that have already penciled incoming freshman Travis Freeman of Glenville (Ohio) as the starter at middle linebacker. With that kind of talk, it's possible that it light a fire under him.
"Spain Cosby created a lot of havoc in there today," Parrish said. "He hasn't played like that before. He's playing confident. He's a destroyer in the middle."
In defense of the offense, the Cardinals were playing without two important cogs in running back MiQuale Lewis and tight end Madaris Grant. Also, the team's leading receiver from a season ago, Briggs Orsbon, played sparingly due to a pulled hamstring. Another key contributor, running back Cory Sykes, has pneumonia and missed the entire spring.
"We were playing with a short deck, which is good," Parrish said.
One player who did dazzle the crowd was freshman to-be Seth White. White, who graduated high school early and started at BSU in January, showed what he could do by making some plays and putting moves on defenders in space.
"He's a rich man's version of Briggs," Parrish said. "I think he's a couple steps quicker but the same type of guy. White didn't look like a high school kid out there. He's got a knack. He's a ballplayer. When guys are ballplayers, you just point him in the right direction."
White is one of two players that enrolled early, with Mershman being the other.
"They don't realize what they got out of this spring," Parrish said. "They're both going to be in the (two-deep) depth chart in the fall. It's a big edge."
With quarterback Kelly Page stepping in at quarterback for the departed Nate Davis, it might take a bit for the offense to fully jell – especially on the offensive line. The depleted offensive line struggled throughout the spring, losing three key starters from last year. The only returning starter is Michael Switzer. Redshirt sophomore Kreg Hunter, a part-time starter a year ago, moved to center. Parrish also said that redshirt freshman Cameron Lowry has locked down the left tackle spot, but the other three positions were wide open.
"We have 1.5 starters back up front," Parrish said. "That and a dime won't get you a cup of coffee. The fans want us to move the ball."