Final Spring Practice : QB's & O-Line

A battle will rage on into the fall for one of the offensive line positions. Meanwhile Coach Carr is pleased with the improvement of his quarterbacks.

The biggest question mark along the line this spring was who would take over the center position. Rueben Riley moved over from guard prior to the start of drills and looked to be the leading candidate. He was extremely effective triggering the offense on Saturday…at one point pancaking Marques Walton with an awesome display of explosion, agility, and brute strength. As good as he looked, though, that position will still be a question mark when the fall rolls around. "Rueben Riley missed a lot of spring practice, which we needed him to have," Carr said. "We’re going to be unsettled at center until we get into training camp. As long as he was there he looked very good. We still have to do some things there to solidify that position. But Rueben did display that he certainly has the athletic ability and he's smart. It's a very tough place to play. We moved Alex Mitchell there this week just to see how he looked. I think Alex Mitchell has everything it takes to someday be a great player. Mitchell is big and powerful. He came in way overweight last fall but he has really worked hard and his weight is down. Mitchell could play a significant role this fall."

Rueben Riley

Behind center, a much stronger Chad Henne was taking the snaps. The sophomore-to-be was firing the ball around just like he did last season. That said, he (nor the offense for that matter) was as sharp as he would have liked to be at times. The Pennsylvania native was disappointed that a few balls sailed on him. Still it will be surprising if he doesn't have an even better season than he had last year. His head coach saw past the occasional miscue and looked to the obvious improvement his star quarterback made this spring. "I think the biggest improvement Chad has made is he is much stronger through the hips and through the legs than he was a year ago," Carr said. "If you watched him last fall it was hard for me to believe that he was an 18-ear-old freshman because he has such a great arm. But I think he throws the ball even better because he is stronger through the hips."

Chad Henne

Considering his long layoff, the guy backing up Henne had a pretty good day. Matt Gutierrez's arm strength hasn't totally returned, but his accuracy was pretty good considering the circumstances. The progress he has made thus far has been much more than his coach expected. What he missed was contact and scrimmage. We couldn't get him that. But considering where we thought he would be at this time...he got a lot of repetitions, he threw everyday in skele, and he got a lot of work on ball handling. But it is different when you don't hear the pads crashing and you don't hear things happening around you. That part of it we couldn’t get done with him. But he had a lot of that before he got hurt. "

Matt Gutierrez

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