Thus a more happy group of people in Commonwealth Stadium, players, coaches, statisticians, and most of all, fans. Though it went without saying, knowing how coaches think sometimes, Brooks wasn't in the mood to push his luck so he stopped the game with Two-minutes and thirty second left on the game clock. He has said it, reiterated it several times that in terms of injury, this has been a very successful spring practice.
The weather was uncharacteristically good, and the crowd was announced at 20,200, which was the second largest crowd ever for a spring game. Given the history of the UK spring game, it was in question as to the number of people that would show up for the game. This time in addition to the good weather, Keeneland ended yesterday and there was no "Thunder Over Louisville" for the game to go against.
There are many things and players that are constantly talked about throughout the spring. That's why the unexpected is looked for and what reveals itself in the way of surprises. That's why a young man like running back Coshik Williams made such a big splash throughout spring practice. Well, there was a spring game surprise for everybody's consumption and that being walk-on receiver from Louisville Trinity Nick Melillo 6-foot-3, 220-pounds. He was the second leading receiver in the game 4- 43 right on the heels of Randall Cobb.
"I told him he can be a Jacob Tamme," said Joker Phillips. Brooks said he is somebody that will be looked at very seriously in the future. "He plays hard, he plays fast, he's tough, and he doesn't drop anything. Randy Sanders was asked about the play of Will Fidler, who at times turned some heads in the game? "Well I thought Will had a good day and established the fact he can play," Sander said.
"But at the same time through my years of coaching you don't get to excited about one day and you don't get to depressed about one day. You look at the whole body of work and he did a lot of good things out there today but there are still some things he's going to have to improve on to keep those guys out of there (Morgan Newton and Ryan Massakowski). Filder said that today was a kinduva break out game for him but he said he going into the summer the same way he went into the spring. "I don't really think about those guys, I just go out there and compete with myself," Fidler corrected.
Brooks expressed a great deal of happiness about the play of he young defensive ends Chandler Burden, Collins Wkwu, and Taylor Wyndham. "They showed great improvement and as the spring went on they got better and better," Brooks bubbled. On Thursday defensive line coach Rick Petrie said that the light came on for Burden about 10-days ago and Burden did nothing in the game to disprove that finding. Brooks said he is pleased to see these guy making play at the defensive end position.
Another surprise in the game was a thirty-one yard kickoff return by Danny Travathan. "How long has it been since we've had a linebacker that can return kickoffs," Brooks again bubbled. For those that didn't see the spring game, eat your hearts out because you will probably never see him return a kickoff in a regular game type situation. But then, who would ever thought they would see the starting quarterback returning punts. That was Randall Cobb - ‘Wow what a football player,'
There is much more to be written about this spring game and spring practice. Stay tuned!