Day One in Books for Bearcats

Tommy Tuberville and his staff wasted little time in getting spring football started with their first practice of the season Thursday morning. Bearcat Insider was on hand and has a few notes from the day's events.

While the weather outside of Cincinnati's bubble on the Sheakley Athletics Center was windy and cold, head coach Tommy Tuberville and his staff put the 2014 edition of the Bearcats through their first paces of a new season.

While the majority of the work was on the basics, Bearcat Insider did see a handful of things that caught our eye.

QUARTERBACKS

The time is now for former five-star quarterback Gunner Kiel to step forward and show why he was considered one of the top prospects at his position just a few years ago. After a couple of strong practices during bowl prep, Kiel is now being looked at as the favorite to win the starting position when the Bearcats open the season.

Today, Kiel showed off the strength of his arm during one-on-one drills hitting several deep balls to streaking receivers. However, Kiel knows he's got competition on his heels in Junior College transfer Jarred Evans who showed off a quick release and a ball that was tight cutting through the air. A couple of times Evans did find a pass or two batted down at the line of scrimmage but that was quickly worked on. One thing that was easy to notice about Evans was the fact he'll give the Bearcats a quarterback option with the ability to run.

Freshman and early enrollee Hayden Moore showed the same arm strength we saw in summer camp that earned him his offer. Early in the session you could see nerves set in causing the first year player to make a few mistakes. However, he quickly turned things around and received the praise of quarterback coach Darin Hinshaw.

Michael Colosimo took his normal reps and Munchie Legaux attended practice but did not participate in drills as he continues his recovery from the serious injury he suffered last season.

SHORTER STRIDES

One thing the Bearcats have worked on with receiver MeKale McKay was the length of his stride when running. Last year found the long lanky receiver make several big plays, however, his long natural stride prevented him from running solid routes and getting off the line and getting separation from defenders. A few tweaks here and there and many expect McKay to continue on a path that could see him playing at the next level.

BIGGEST QUESTIONS

Watching both offensive and defensive line drills caused some concern as the Bearcats have holes to fill. At defensive tackle much should be expected out of Brandon Mitchell and it should be expected the hometown product will be pushed extra hard this spring.

Along the offensive line we don't expect to see too much until the team starts going full speed allowing for some separation in talent. Players who must step up include Tyreek Burwell who took reps at left tackle and Justin Murray who took reps on the right side.


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