Ball State Spring Game 2009 - Random Thoughts

BallStateInsider.com writers Phil Friend and Andy Thorpe were able to take in the 2009 Ball State Spring Football Scrimmage from a field level view. Here are some of the news, observations and notes they want to share from the day.

Here are BallStateInsider.com writers Andy Thorpe and Phil Friend's quick hits on the 2009 Spring Game:

Phil: One just has to keep in mind that MiQuale Lewis, Madaris Grant and Cory Skyes were not on the field Saturday and Briggs Orsbon played sparingly. I say because the offense was beyond rusty.

Andy: Speaking of the offense, in case you were wondering, Sophomore LB Ryan Hartke has been moved to TE. The 6-4 219 Hartke, who also played WR in high school, should be able to provide depth at the position while regulars Grant and Kevin Steinhaus recuperate from injuries.

Phil: Kelly Page did not complete a pass further than 15 yards and only attempted three or four. I don't know if that's a vision of things to come or if Stan Parrish was sand-bagging.

Andy: I wouldn't call it sand bagging. I think the short passing game was something we saw last season, but it was also more prevalent today because Page had little time to drop back and go long.

Phil: While his arm and accuracy may be a question mark, Page certainly showed what he could do with his legs, whether it was scrambling from a collapsing pocket or running the spread option. He's a playmaker, that's for sure.

Andy: I think, given the amount of direst he played under, I think Page looked solid. His arm, from what I have heard, is above average. But you are right, he is a playmaker for sure.

Phil: The offensive line play was a mess. One gets the feeling that this is might hold the Cardinals back from possibly winning the MAC West.

Andy: Agreed. There is definite work to do here. I think Lowry, Hunter and Switzer will all start, from there it is anybody's guess. Luckily they have fall camp to jell.

Phil: Enough good things cannot be said about Seth White. The kid made a handful of plays Saturday, making defenders miss with his jukability. Ball State may have gotten a real steal with this kid.

Andy: Is jukability even a word? But I agree with Seth. I have been on his bandwagon since I saw him at the Ball State camp a year ago. He has great quicks and elusiveness and like my Dad said Saturday – he has just started learning the position.

Phil: Although he won't get many carries this fall, both Andy and I were impressed with the play of mighty mite Dwayne Donigan. The 5-6, 190 pound freshman from Broad Ripple High School made a number of plays and also made people miss in the open field.

Andy: Agreed again. He was a pleasant surprise. He, along with Michael Hunt & Frank Edmonds, played very well on Saturday. Of course, where they stand in the fall with a 100% Quale and Eric Williams and Jelani Alford all here remains to be seen.

Phil: Middle linebacker Spain Cosby was hitting people. Hard. He was everywhere on the field as he tries to earn a starting spot for the Cardinals. On one particular play, he timed the snap count perfectly and lit up both the offensive lineman and Page before Page could get the ball handed off.

Andy: Spain is playing with a chip on his shoulder. He has always been able to deliver the highlight reel hit, but Saturday he proved he can do a lot of great things. I know a lot of us have given the starting MIKE spot to Travis Freeman before he has even stepped foot on campus, but look out; Spain Cosby wants it pretty bad.

Phil: This team has speed in the form of Torieal Gibson and Koreen Burch. And once Sykes gets back and teams up with White and Orsbon, we may be seeing something special.

Andy: It will be interesting to see how the cornerback position pans out. Gibson is a quick athlete and Burch is the fastest dude on the team, you add that to bigger guys like Pinkston, Carnegie and Howard and we might have some good young DBs. As for speed on offense, don't forget Otis Brown and Alford, both have some major wheels too.

Phil: Basically, the entire defense played really well. Very promising.

Andy: Yes, it was nice to see Robert Eddins and Andy Puthoff and company in the backfield on a regular basis. It was also nice to not hear Alex Knipp and Sean Baker's names called too often. Both are great players, but when your top 2 tacklers are your safeties – your defense has some issues. By the way, the Soul Eater – Sean Baker, will still be All-MAC!

Phil: Kicker Steve Schott and defensive end Jeff Barker are about as big as a toothpick.

Andy: Well, I don't mind a skinny kicker, and if Ian McGarvey comes back from suspension, it will give Schott the chance to get over 110 lbs. Barker on the other hand needs some more weight. I know he has put it on this past year, but he won't be at his best until he gets to over 225.

Phil: Here are my initial thoughts on Aaron Mershman. When I saw him, he just looked like a quarterback. He's tall and muscular and isn't even done growing yet. He's definitely unpolished but we saw glimpses of his potential.

Andy: Mersh definitely has some work to do, but you are right, he passes the eye ball test and is a solid athlete. I expect big things later on from that young man.

Other Notes:

Several of the incoming freshmen for the class of 2009 were on hand for the game. We spotted such players as Jacob Green, Tony Martin, Armand Dehaney and Keith Langtry. . . . Also in attendance was a nice showing of 2010 recruits including Jack Denton of Zionsville, Zach Livovich of Valparaiso, Erik Willis from Richmond and Joel Cox and Blake Miller of Center Grove.

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