"BIG FIVE"

In just five days the first "Big East" version of the University of Cincinnati Bearcat football team will assemble for spring practice. Between March 29th and April 23rd, these Bearcats will answer many questions about what fans should expect. Today I look at my "Big Five" for the Bearcat football team for the spring.

1. Quarterback: Who will it be? While many are talking about the two recruits (Carey, Goodman) coming in the fall, we all know they will not be ready to compete for any playing time. So it's up to those who will be involved in spring practice to make a difference. Dustin Grutza, Tony Pike, David Wess, Todd Spitzer and Juco Nick Davila are the players. Two will need to step up and make a difference this spring. This will be the most watched position during spring drills.

2. Offensive Line: One starter returns from last years bowl team. Add in a coaching change, and you add even more questions. While I hated seeing the coaching change, the new hire and the shift in the staff is a positive one. Steve Eastlake is the only starter returning and will be counted on to provide leadership. The rest is wide open as Coach Roushar and Staten build this unit.

3. Defensive Line: The loss of Trent Cole and Andre Frazier are huge. Both will be in NFL camps and rosters next fall. Who will step-up and make a name for themselves? That will be the big question during the spring.

4. Wide Receiver: With a new quarterback under center, solid play at this position is a must. Quick, name the top returning receiver? Give-up? Earnest Jackson who pulled down 24 catches for 314 years and 1 touchdown is the top receiver that returns. One area the Bearcats are strong is Tight End. Brent Celek returns after posting 22 catches for 254 yards and 8 touchdowns in 2004. But finding a replacement for Hannibal Thomas is a must. All Thomas did last season was catch 64 passes for 1,028 yards and 9 touchdowns.

5. Defense: While we spoke about the Defensive line and the loss of Cole and Frazier, the defense as a whole will get major work during the spring. With the loss of Doug Monaghan and Jamar Enzor are huge losses to the program. Many youngsters from Coach Dantonio's first recruiting class will look to earn major playing time.

There you have it. The "Big Five" as the Bearcats enter spring drill next week. Remember, Bearcat Insider will have major coverage on the Bearcat football team this spring.


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