Bearcat Insider went to the voice of UC football, Dan Hoard, to get his observations and opinions about the spring game and next season.

Q. Did any players surprise you in the spring game?

A. The biggest surprise was Anthony Hoke playing linebacker. I didn't know about that change. I guess it happened in the last few days, but I was pleasantly surprised. He looked very comfortable at the position. It looks like a smart move by the coaches.

Q. Can you identify any positions that offer the incoming recruits the best chance to play right away?

A. I'd say both lines. They may not have the chance to start right away, but they could end up playing quite a bit. When you lose four of your five guys on the offensive line, it certainly creates opportunity for others. The defensive line lost three of the four so there's some potential there too.

Q. When you look at this recruiting class, what players impress you?

A. I guess the Colerain defensive players (Andre Revels and Terrill Byrd). They've had the benefit of good coaching in high school, and they're physically advanced. Plus, there's a need in the positions they play (linebacker and defensive tackle respectively). I probably tend to focus on the guys I've seen play. The other guys I only know about what I read and hear.

Q. Why was Coach Dantonio so successful in keeping his assistants here, unlike past years?

A. I guess one answer might be that he gives his assistants responsibilities and allows them to do their jobs. Coach Minter typically stepped in and did things himself if anything went wrong. After so much turnover, coaches came here with the intention of it being a stepping stone to another job. I think Coach Minter certainly had some good coaches, but they didn't come here with the intention of staying.

Q. We're talking about this before the conclusion of the NFL draft. What Bearcat other than Trent Cole do you expect to get drafted?

A. I expect Gino to get an opportunity somewhere. I think he has a good chance to at least hold a clipboard in the NFL. I think Daven Holly will be taken by someone at some point and have a chance to stick in the NFL.

Q. What about Jamar Enzor?

A I'm not surprised he hasn't been taken yet because I just didn't hear his name popping up much. I don't really know the reason. He may be a little too short or a little too slow, but he was sure a productive college player.

Q. Critique the UC offense.

A. The offensive line has to be a concern with those four starters gone. It may take some time to plug in some new guys. Grutza looked solid, and they are strong at running back. Receiver is pretty solid as is tight end.

Q. Give an overview of the defense.

A. There have to be concerns almost everywhere with so many guys gone. They lost their four top linebackers with no one behind them. There are holes to fill on the defensive line, but some feel they did well recruiting that position. The secondary has some guys back and probably is in a little better shape.

Q. Can this young team have a winning record next year?

A. I think they have a chance for a winning season. The Big East is certainly not what it used to be with Miami and Virginia Tech gone. Pitt and West Virginia will be tough, and my alma mater (Syracuse) will be getting better with the coaching change, but there is some opportunity for success next year.

Q. What is your opinion of the game day changes for next season?

A. I think it's positive. A couple of those changes were driven by national TV. Since we've televised the UC/Miami game on WXIX in the past, I know historically the interest in that series, and it's nice to expose it to the nation. The opener against Eastern Michigan was changed to try and generate a bigger crowd.

Q. What can you tell us about basketball recruiting?

A. I know they're going to sign two more big players.

Q. If they sign two more players, who's leaving?

A. They obviously know, but no one else does. I guess Souley would be a good guess.

Bearcat Insider wants to thank Dan Hoard for sharing some time with us and our subscribers.

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