"What We Know" Spring Practice

Fifteen days of spring practice are now in the record books and it's time to look at "What We Know" about the upcoming 2008 University of Cincinnati football program.

Class Act


No matter what happens this fall Dustin Grutza has proven he’s a class act and should be remembered for the roles he’s played since coming to campus.  The Maysville, Kentucky native enjoyed a great opening drive and showed he can’t be left out when camp opens in August.


Work In Progress


Demetrius Jones has seen his short Bearcats career be one of up’s and down’s since coming to campus after his quick exit from Notre Dame in the fall.  With an injury behind him and talk of his poor mechanics, Jones continued to work hard and saved his best for Saturday night’s spring game making sure everyone will have to keep his name on the possible list of starting quarterbacks if Ben Mauk doesn’t return.


Rumors, Many Rumors


The talk on Saturday night was that Ben Mauk will receive his approval from the NCAA on Tuesday this week.  While Mauk and those at UC continued to say they’ve not heard from the NCAA, much talk was that things look good.  Let’s hope this is more than rumors and becomes truth early this week.


Mauk Goes Old School


If you saw the red jersey Ben Mauk was wearing during Saturday night’s game and wondered where he got it, the quarterback explained the ownership.  “They had some old jerseys out at the golf outing and I saw this one and bought it.”  The jersey was Bearcats model C-USA and showed its wear.


Chazz Anderson


One of the things many have asked me about is the progress of Chazz Anderson.  On Saturday night Chazz had a night that could be expected.  Anderson has heard the talk he’s a front runner for the starting position this fall and showed freshman nerves during his time on the field.  But while Anderson would have liked to have a better night don’t for one minute think he’s not going to be fighting for the starters job is Mauk isn’t back.


Zach Collaros?


After going up and down during the spring Collaros showed why he’s considered a gamer and a player to keep an eye on.  As spring drills were coming to a close it looked as Collaros would be the guy left out of the quarterback race.  But a strong showing on Saturday night must have the Bearcats staff looking hard at any possible move.


Tony Pike


Pike may be the one on the hot seat after he looked lost on Saturday night.  Most of the spring the talk was there was going to have to be a move at the quarterback spot and after Saturday night Pike might be the one looking up at the rest.


Bearcats Defense


The Bearcats defense has got to be considered one of the nation’s top defenses.  With speed and building depth, the Bearcats continue to show they’ve got the talent needed to take over a game.  With the moves of Connor Barwin, Craig Carey and Brandon Underwood in the mix the Bearcats depth is growing.


Ryan “No Comment” Manalac


The one Bearcat who doesn’t talk a lot is the one who was making the most plays on Saturday night.  Ryan Manalac is not one to talk about himself and instead of talking with anyone holding a recording device run to the nearest exit sign, but when you continue to make plays people want to know more about you.


Barwin & Carey


What was best described by me as an experiment, the Barwin / Carey move to defensive end from the offense has proven to be one of the best in college football.  The duo brought an exciting attitude to the defense and much needed energy to a group that carries the lunch pail knowing what they can do.


Nut To Claws


Brandon Underwood continues to show he’s got the tools to play a major role on the Bearcats defense this fall.  After showing signs of doing so good things while at Ohio State, the defensive backs move back home to Cincinnati may prove what helps him find his name called in the NFL Draft in the very near future.


Guidugli Moving Up


Ben Guidugli may be in the shadow of his older brother, but the Bearcats tight end is making a name for himself and showed on Saturday he’s capable of getting open and make a play.  While he’ll need to continue to work on the small things the Highlands High product is earning his scholarship.


Yingling Makes Most Of Chance


Brandon Yingling knows his college football career is ticking away.  The former Mason product made the most of Jake Rogers back pains on Saturday night and showed he’s capable of getting the job done.


Another In The Mix


After having an “OK” spring, running back Scott Johnson showed he may be a player to watch when the team returns to the practice field in August.  While he only rushed for 26 yards, he did get an average of 6.5 yards.  But if Johnson can’t make the move up on the depth chart look for one of the freshmen to get a shot to be the third back in the Bearcats offense.


Fans & Prospects


With a count of over 10,000 for Bearcat Bowl II the University of Cincinnati Football program has seen some great changes since Bearcat Insider covered its first spring in 2005.  The program continues to grow as fans showed up on Saturday night along with many high school prospects getting a look at the growing fan base.  Another top season this fall and who knows how many people will start calling themselves Bearcat Football Fans.


We’ll have more on Bearcat Bowl II today and during the early part of the week.


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