News & Notes Spring Game

We couldn't have asked for better weather today. Bearcat Insider would like to thank Par's Place (Perry Brandt) and Ed Young and his son for sponsoring our tailgate party prior to the game. Thanks to Greg, Rick, Eric, Steve, Clint and his girlfriend, Mr. And Mrs. Y, and our cook, Mike Story.

I hope everyone enjoyed themselves, and I didn‘t forget anyone. Sorry about the last minute change of parking lots. That's where having Thunder paid off. There just aren't too many 120 pounds dogs tailgating these days. Dave and I enjoyed meeting or getting reacquainted with all of you. We will be in that spot next season for all football games so feel free to join us any time.

-As everyone knows Saturday's game was absolutely dominated by the defense. The score was 76-39, but I still have no clue how they decide on these point values. The game was more lopsided than the 37 point difference.

-I predicted earlier in spring practice that Ryan Manalac will be the next walk-on to win a scholarship, and he didn't disappoint. He had an interception and a sack. He was his usual aggressive self.

-I think the defensive surprise of the scrimmage was Adam Hoppel's play. Hoppel's a big, strong young man and adds depth to that already strong defensive tackle position. I had Adam with two sacks and a TFL.

-The offensive surprise was the punting. As I've said previously, both these guys have big time legs, but they've been unable to consistently hit punts. Today both of them hit punts consistently. It was very impressive! Kevin Huber averaged 48.3 yards a kick, and Brian Steel averaged 47.3 yards. Both showed they are very capable and need to carry this outstanding performance into August. The only bad thing was Evan Sparks blocked a Huber punt.

-One of the big questions going into spring ball was the offensive line, and I think it's still a major question. The big guys up front simply did not give any quarterback enough time to look good. The offense had only 245 yards, and you really have to divide that number in half since this was an offense vs. defense scrimmage so the offense was always on the field.

-Last year after the spring game, I felt Dustin Grutza was clearly the #1 guy. This year I haven't seem anyone really earn the job. I thought Dustin consistently threw behind receivers and had trouble finding the open man. The overall quarterback numbers were horrendous, but much of that may have been due to the unbelievable pressure on the quarterback. If Nick Davila hadn't hit DeAngelo Smith for the 66 yard TD, there really was no offense through the air from the quarterbacks.

-Dominick Goodman's reverse pass to Earnest Jackson for about 35 yards was one of the best thrown balls on the day.

-Once again the two new centers (Duenas and Reinstatler) struggled with the C/QB exchange. I think both these guys will improve by August since both are new to the position. Reinstatler has a great attitude about this switch of positions, and that attitude alone will help him improve.

-I was told there were 325 kids at the football clinic preceding the spring game. That's a really nice turnout.

-Coach Dantonio must have been really busy today. About 15 minutes before the start of the spring game, I passed him as he was heading away from Nippert. I told him he was going the wrong way, and he said he had forgotten his shoes.

-Ryan Manalac, Dominic Ross, and Andre Revels all had interceptions.

-Trevor Anderson, Dominic Ross, Ryan Manalac, Terrill Byrd, Jon Newton and Adam Hoppel with two, all had sacks on the day.

-The Bearcat offense averaged only 2.1 yards per carry.

-I had a number of people asking me who #32 was. I believe that was Charley Howard who was #33 in the program. He's a walk-on receiver and was with the team last year.

-Kevin Lovell looked much better today hitting two of three field goals.

-Greg Moore was the only back to get any good rushing yardage. He had 11 carries for 55 yards, and more importantly, he didn't fumble.

-Nancy Zimpher visited our tailgate party. We appreciated her taking the time to talk with us.

-I was disappointed that two of the guys I've been touting this spring were unable to play. Jared Martin really wanted to play today, but I know he got an MRI this week, and I'm hoping he won't need surgery. David Wess was also held out of the scrimmage. It will be interesting to see where David plays in August.

-I really love Bearcat football, but I'm ready for a break. Thanks to the many players and coaches who spoke with us this spring. Also thanks to the managers and trainers who put up with me on the sidelines every day. Those guys work their butts off. There are so many good people involved with this football program. Also, thanks to our members for helping our cause. When things heat up again in August, Bearcat Insider will be there.

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