Things I liked from the spring game

There were plenty of things to like at the conclusion of the annual spring game. Here are several things that I liked.

- Matt Moore, 12 of 16.

That's a damn good completion ratio, especially considering the fact that our star of the moment at wideout, Sammie Stroughter, was not wearing pads.

- Clinton Polk, 3 receptions for 63 yards.

Polk looks fluid in the open field and appears to have nice hands. I liked the look of him a lot out there.

- Joe Newton, 4 receptions for 33 yards.

I felt positively giddy when Big Joe hauled in a catch one-handed. He looks positively graceful out there.. really a special player and I'm glad he's back for this season.

- Marcel Love, 3 receptions 32 yards.

Boy am I glad to see Marcel back and I really liked the look of him at flanker instead of slot. As good as he was in the slotback position, I think he will be a much more productive player outside.

- Anthony Wheat Brown, 2 receptions 46 yards.

I see AWB making some big plays on deep slants this year. He is a nice physical specimen and I think he presents TE-like matchup problems for smallish safeties and OLB's.

- Taylor Kavanaugh! 3 receptions for 55 yards.

I really like the look of this young man. He runs nice routes, has great hands, and looks like he plays hard whistle to whistle. I will bet that Taylor catches 10 balls this year for 200 yards and in another year or two becomes a contributor. I'm calling my shot!

- Secondary play.

Sabby Piscitelli picks one off and runs it back for 6. I think we're going to see a fair amount of those plays this year. Not once did I see Sabby bite on the play fake! If he can play disciplined and unleash that fantastic athleticism within the framework of his assignment, Sabby is going to have a huge year.

Coye Francies appears to be the real deal. I watched Coye more than Keenan Lewis because I feel that Keenan is still "The Truth" and by the end of this season we will be touting our "lock down corner". I would have liked to get a better look at Brandon Hughes though.

- Alan Darlin, 8 tackles, 1 fumble recovered.

Any fears I had about the Mike position in the post-Bray era were allayed on Saturday. I really like how well Darlin moves and thought he did an excellent job shedding blocks and flowing to the ball. His backup Bryant Cornell also had a nice day, I thought.

- Isaiah Cook, 7 tackles, 1 TFL.

Cook is "the future" of OLB at OSU.. he's really the next James Allen. Big, rangy and fast. I like the looks of this young man a lot.

- Jeff VanOrsow, 3 sacks for 19 yards.

For all the concerns I have expressed about our DE's, JVO makes me feel a little better every time I see him play. He has a bring-your-lunch-pail-and-go-to-work attitude, can bull rush or play contain equally well. He's almost a Swanny Jr. at this point, and by the time he is a senior we will probably like Jeff a lot - he has a nice motor and good size to go with it.

- Ben Siegert, 1 sack for 7 yards.

Nobody wreaked as much havoc with our interior tackles all day as Siegert. This will be his 4th year as a starter and the Siegert we saw last year is a shadow of what this guy is now. I don't think he ever got healthy last season, but he looks ready to go now! Between Big Ben and JVO, I'm starting to feel much more comfortable with our DL. If Gerard Lee can add some *pop* and Dorian Smith steps up, this could be a pretty damn good DL.

- DERRICK FREAKING DOGGETT. 5 tackles, 3 TFL for 10 yards, 2 pass breakups.

The most athletic pass br/up Saturday was Doggett's leaping, outstretched batting of a sure TD throw to Clinton Polk. Last year I felt like they should consider moving D-Dog to safety. This year I'm damn glad that they didn't.

Random musings:

-Bryan Payton sure does look comfortable at safety. At spring practice last year, Kevin Davidson told me that Payton was too stiff through the hips to play corner.. didn't like him there a lot. I asked him if Payton was a better fit at safety and KD said, "oh definitely.. but he's got to step it up". Looks like KD's comments were very prophetic..

-Where the heck did Andy Stewart come from? I see special teams contribution from a hard-nosed, tough kid this season.

-Daniel Weis sure looks comfortable at the H-back position. I think we may see him in some game time situations this year, and wouldn't be surprised at all if he caught 20+ balls this season. I thought he was too undersized for the H when I saw him last year.. I was dead wrong. He looks pretty dang good.

-Zach Tarver, when he gets a little more polished, could be a heck of a weapon. He looks HUGE out there, even lined up with Keenan Lewis. Can you say, "post corner to Tarver for the TD??" Zach has improved a lot since last year.. but he's still raw. He does ooze potential though!

-Canfield looked like he had a little trouble finding his range with the swirling wind and gusts in Reser Stadium on Saturday. Boy does he throw a pretty ball though.. and I LOVE his poise in the pocket. He also surprised me a LOT with his athleticism.. if I had no other perspective than the spring game, I would have picked him as "faster/more athletic" than Matt Moore.

-Is Ruben Jackson dinged up? Something didn't look quite right with RJ for me. I've seen him look more explosive than he did on Saturday.

-Joe Rudulph was looking a little frustrated by our tackles. I get the feeling that Joe was able to physically beat our tackles in spring ball last year when I watched a practice or two, and either our OT's have progressed by leaps and bounds or Joe has regressed. Personally I feel that our tackles have improved technically enough that an athletically superior DE can't get by them on athleticism alone any more. Joe is far more athletic than JVO, but JVO is now arguably stronger and inarguably technically better. I guess 40's and measureables aren't everything...

So how long until kickoff?

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