Even though injuries to the Running Backs ruled out any chance of playing a real game type scrimmage, and the bulk of the defense could be seen holding up the west wall of Trienens, if you talked to most of the coaches, they were reasonably pleased with the way the younger players had stepped up this Spring.-- da Coach
O-Line Coach James Patton not only was happy about getting through the spring with only a few minor injuries to his guys, but he actually finished with 11 good players up front, and additional man who could start, and 5 legitimate backups. Having a man he recruited get drafted in the first round was icing on the cake.
WR Coach Garrick McGee has a few backup players he thinks should have stepped up with all the injuries, but he's going to hit Kenosha with 7 or 8 legitimate starter prospects, and 3 really good returning letterman. He was smiling after it was all done.
TE/H Back Coach Jack Glowik was in fine recruiting form at the end of the practice - his guys played well, and there were a couple of big TE prospects in the house. I actually got to see his recruiting pitch, and picked up a few coaching pointers along the way. He's really happy with Chris Malleo's play after he switched to FB/TE/Slot, etc.
RB Coach Kevin Johns was glad Brandon Roberson didn't get hurt Saturday - he's looking forward to Kenosha to see who he's really got to run the ball. Actually they got to see everyone but Jordan during the various spring drills - he'll have everyone back over the summer.
D-Line Coach Eric Washington was relieved that he got through the Spring without any further injuries to his guys but even better was the emergence of some other interior linemen to compliment Barry Cofield and a whole bunch of defensive ends to work with Loren Howard. The Howard-Cofield tandem should drive the right side of Big 10 offensive line's nuts.
Linebacker Coach Pat Fitzgerald is always upbeat about his troopers - he was glad the younger guys got so much playing time, but he also had lots of ammunition on film to fire up the pass defenses. Fitz commented that a lot of the defenders realized this Spring just how good Div I offenses are and are starting to adjust their play up - which is good for the future Wildcat teams.
D-Back Coach Jerry Brown was also just glad to finish up without any injuries to his guys. You sensed he didn't enjoy Baz and C.J. picking apart his troops, but that it was all a learning experience and once Jeff Backes is healthier, the coverage will be better next year. He also seemed pleased with the way Bryan Heinz' made the switch strong safety
Defensive Coordinator Greg Colby figured that the Cats had a decent spring, but he's going to have to wait until Kenosha to see all of his defense.
Offensive Coordinator Mike Dunbar is also going to have to wait for August to see everything, but having a second really strong QB show up big made for a really nice spring.
We've all read Randy Walker's comments - I got the feeling that he really wanted a scrimmage, but he thought the team really got a lot a lot out of this last practice too. He really expects the Cats to put on their big show starting in September, and dismissed any comments about not making a statement with a Spring game.
Everyone involved [including Brett Basanez] seemed happy with C.J. Bacher's play all spring - C.J. has really picked up a lot of the playbook and at times really seemed to pick on the pass defense. You have to remember, however, that he was going against a lot of younger players. He seemed to enjoy taking off the green shirt and running a bunch of roll-outs and QB draws.
I think the defensive guys enjoyed slamming the QB after 4 weeks of "don't touch."
At the end of practice, Coach Walker turned the team over to the Seniors - they're now responsible for getting and keeping the team in shape until August and Camp Kenosha. This group seems primed to do just that.
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