Spring Game Wrapups - Week 2

We had games from 4 teams last weekend...<br><br> Here is our Purple Reign wrapup of the next to the last week of Spring Football for 2003...

Wrapping up the Spring Games/Scrimmages from the past Weekend...

Illinois -
They're still playing Football, right?

All that's in their media today is how Basketball Coach Bill Self has decided to go back to Kansas. OK....

On the Football Field, the Defense was tearing up the Illini offense in a controlled scrimmage. The offense did score 4 times, but  the D also forced 4 turnovers.

Both Jon Beutjer  and Tim Brasic had TD passes, both under 20 yards. Ibrahim Halsey and Jason Davis each had a 1 yard TD run.

From the Stats you deduce that they have a QB controversy brewing for #2 - Chris Pazan was 6 for 8 and 63 yds with one pick. #3 QB Tim Brasic was 6 for 7, 80 yards and a TD. Walk-on QB Matt Rinklin also took the Illini down the field in 4 plays for a score.

Halsey looks like he's the man with the ball rushing 11 times for 77 yds, but the Illini have Sr FB Carey Davis and Jr TB Virgil Morris looking to run the football next Fall too..Overall, the offense had a lot of penalties, and 4 TOs is just too much.

The final analysis from Ron Turner?
"It was great to see the defense flying around to the ball and forcing turnovers. I said all spring I haven't seen our defense this aggressive in a long time"
Looks like a long summer for the Offensive guys in Champaign-Urbana...
Iowa -
Its going to be a little different at Iowa this year; No Brad Banks,  new O-Line,  about all that's left is the defense.

Junior QB Nat Chandler was crowned #1 this spring. He was 6-15 and 52 yards. The Hawkeye O couldn't score on 4 attempts from the 7 yard line. Not your Offensively explosive Big 10 Co-Champ Hawkeyes.

The offensive highlight was the pregame drills - WR Ramon Ochoa made a "sensational one-handed catch" on a 50 yarder. Ed Hinkel also grabbed a 55 yarder during the drills.

But the Iowa defense, #2 against the run last year,  returns 7 starters and Kirk Ferentz has figured out that the D will carry the day in 2003; "We're just looking at the opposite of where our team was a year ago"

Maybe it was the 15 minute delay as Kinnick Stadium had to deal with a 15 minute downpour, but the First team were the Black team, the Gold team was the 2nd team. Needless to say, the Black team dominated, but nobody could score.

There are a lot of good updates in Spring Practice Central if you're interested in the Hawkeye's Spring "Scrimmage"
Michigan State
There's a new Head Coach, John L. Smith, there are 2 [ maybe 3], new quarterbacks: Drew Stanton and Damon Dowdell fighting it out to see who runs the the new spread offense, which will be joined by a new defensive scheme on the field next fall.

And then there was the "invisible man," former starting QB [and Heisman hopeful] Jeff Smoker, who battled a substence abuse problem last winter and who was not allowed to compete for a starting job this spring.

"Smoker is not in it until fall," said new Michigan State coach John L. Smith, according to the official Spartan site. But Smoker was 8-16 for 118 yards and a 29 yd TD pass.

Stanton was 9 for 15 for 181 yds and a 60 yd TD. Dowdell was 8 for 14 and 48 yds and a TD. Both were sacked once and threw a pick.

Yes, MSU is running a 4 WR Spread, with an unknown name pencilled in a RB.  There aren't many stories about the MSU Defense. The student paper noted that the first team D was OK, but the 2nd team players were "exposed several times on big plays."

The Spartans got out of the game with few injuries. DE Alphonso Townsend is no longer with the team, and Discipline is the watchword in Spartanland now.
Minnesota -
For a while, I thought the Gophers had stopped all coverage of their team in favor of their Frozen 4 Champ Hockey squad, but the news blackout finally lifted and we learned that the White team beat the Maroon team 24-6 with half of the White team points coming on pass interception returns.

So you weed thru the riot stories, and you figure out that the Gophers really haven't changed much this year. The starting QB is still the White team's  Asad Abdull-Khaliq - he was 10 for 22 and 184 yds. RB Brandon Hagen was the big rusher for the White with 93 yds on 18 carries. The guy to watch backing up is RB Marion Barber -  he led the Maroons with 30 yds and everyone with a 6.0 rushing average.

The story aparently was the defense's ability to stop the run. Gopher Coach Glen Mason's comment:
We've got three good running backs, they've all improved. (And) it was pretty tough to move the ball.
The final word on the scrimmage? From the QB
(The defense) came out and whooped up on the offense, and I expect that," Abdul-Khaliq said. "If we go out there and are scoring all over our defense, something is wrong.
Then there's the whole flap over not allowing a female kicker to try out...We'll leave that to later, but if she wants to transfer to NU....

Other Notes:
  • Northwestern scrimmage about 40 plays next Saturday, but the practice, wherever it is, will be closed.
  • Something that should be troubling for Iowa fans: There are more stories this weekend about Iowa's NFL prospects in the paper, than stories about the spring practices...

You can read all of the stories about the Illinois, Iowa, MSU and Minnesota Spring Games by checking out Spring Practice Central...

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