All eyes were on the quarterback battle today, and sophomore Kyle Wright did not disappoint. Wright solidified himself as the starter during Saturday's spring game with an efficient performance. Wright went 10-of-13 for 159-yards and threw two touchdowns. Wright's most impressive drive came during the second quarter. He began the drive by connecting with Sinorice Moss on a 31-yard out-route.
On the next play he rolled out to his left and hit Darnell Jenkins for an 11-yard pass. Wrights most impressive throw of the game came on a 23-yard touchdown pass to Ryan Moore. Wright split the cornerback and safety and hit more in stride down the seam. On Wright's other touchdown drive, he hit Darnell Jenkins on three consecutive plays: of 18-yards, 7-yards, and a touchdown pass of 38-yards.Wright showed poise in the pocket and an ability to slide in the pocket the whole game. He always looked to pass first and run second if he needed.
Freshman Kirby Freeman had a difficult time getting into any rhythm. Freeman was pressured all day by the active defensive line. Freeman went 7-of-18 for 109-yards, threw two interceptions and ran for 20-yards. Freeman's best play of the game came on a 34-yard pass to fullback James Bryant. One of Freeman's interceptions should be disregarded. In the third quarter Bryant bobbled a pass from Freeman—which led to an interception by Willie Cooper. Kyle Wright was always a hair better than Freeman the whole spring and he solidified himself as the starting quarterback for the 2005 season in the spring game.
The ‘backs showed an ability to not only run the ball, but the ability to come up with the big reception out of the backfield. Freshman Derron Thomas and senior, Quadtrine Hill were the starting backfield for the game. It was obvious that the coaches wanted to keep the running backs healthy as Thomas finished the game with 6 attempts, Charlie Jones finished with 8 attempts and George Timmons had 4 attempts. Thomas led the unit with 23-yards, while Hill and Jones finished with 10-yards each.
The most impressive aspect of the game for this unit was their pass-catching ability. Bryant led the unit with 42-yards receiving off of two receptions. Bryant had a long reception of 34-yards and is a beast to tackle in the open-field. Thomas turned a short reception into a big gain, one which he squirted his way for 21-yards. Jones added 9-yards receiving on two receptions. It is hard to get a grasp on this unit just by looking at the spring game. The coaches limit the carries for each running back and want to ensure that they are all healthy. Also junior running back Tyrone Moss, who is expected to be the starter this season, was held out of contact all spring.
WIDE RECEIVERS & TIGHT END
The receiving unit turned in a solid performance throughout the spring and did not disappoint in the spring game. Darnell Jenkins had another solid spring game, leading the team with 72-yards on four receptions and one touchdown. Jenkins took over a drive in the third quarter. In that drive Jenkins caught a 17-yard pass across the middle. He followed that play with a 7-yard out route and a few plays later beat Devin Hester on a 38-yard touchdown reception down the sideline.
Ryan Moore caught the other touchdown pass on an over-the-shoulder catch in the back of the end-zone. Sinorice Moss turned in a solid day as he caught a 31-yard pass from Wright on the sideline. Moss also ran for 9-yards on a reverse. The biggest surprise of the spring was walk-on tight end Phil Gyulai. Gyulai caught four passes for 48-yards.
The unit played well and can only get better. Moore has taken a leadership role with the receivers and healthy again, has returned to his 2003 form. When Greg Olsen and Lance Leggett get back to being healthy, this unit will be one of the deepest for the team in 2005.
At the beginning of the game the offensive line started off shaky, but as the game progressed, so did the offensive line's play. Three starters from last season were out of the game due to injuries—Tony Tella , Derrrick Morse, and Eric Winston. Also not dressed was center Alex Pou. Starting for the o-line on Saturday were: Rashad Butler, Andrew Bain, Cyrim Wimbs, Tyler McMeans, and Tyrone Byrd. The young offensive line struggled at times, allowing constant pressure on the quarterback—nine sacks—and committing costly penalties. The line committed three holding penalties and four false-start penalties.
The offensive line did an adequate job of opening running lanes, as the Hurricanes rushed for 94-yards on 29 attempts. New field goal snapper John Rochford is showing growing pains as he botched a snap on a 48-yard field goal attempt in the first quarter. Though the line struggled during the spring game two facts need to be kept in mind: more than half of the probable starters did not play and they were facing one of the deepest and most experienced front seven defensive units in the country.
DID NOT PARTICIPATE DUE TO INJURY
RB Tyrone Moss, RB Andrew Johnson, WR Lance Leggett, TE Greg Olsen, TE Buck Ortega, OL Tony Tella, OL Eric Winston, OL Alex Pou, OL Derrick Morse
Spring Game Recap: Offense
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