Answering Spring Questions 1-3

Before spring practice started the staff at USFNation came up with 10 important questions that were to be answered after the spring game. Here's our take on questions 1-3. Included is- who's the starting QB, who replaces Hall and how will the Dline handle losing three starters. Read on for the entire story.

1. Who will be the starting Quarterback by end of Spring?

With all the build up and hype, the QB battle was somewhat of a disappointment this spring. Almost like a movie with an ending that leaves you scratching your head. Are the coaches supposed to determine a QB from that performance?

It would have been one thing if the named-starter could have practiced, but Carlton Hill missed over half the practices for academic reasons. Hill and Matt Grothe were supposed to go head-to-head and battle it out to see who would be the starter this year. Instead cast-off QB and former starter Pat Julmiste may have regained his starting job. PJ still makes the mistakes that drive the coaches and fans crazy, but he can move the ball down the field. In the spring game he threw for almost 90 yards, including a 30 yard TD pass to Ean Randolph. He also rushed for 59 yards on only four carries.

Matt Grothe had a great spring practice, but not the best spring game. All spring we talked about what a great out-route Grothe throws. Then the first play of the game he throws it for a touchdown….to the other team! He did settle in and make some nice throws. He also showed that he may not be as big and fast as Carlton Hill, but Grothe can be just as elusive.

Answer: If the season were to start tomorrow I would have to give the starting job to Julmiste. Only because the other QB's were too raw, too nervous and didn't move the ball well enough when it mattered. However, the season doesn't start tomorrow and there will be more time to learn the little things. That being said, Matt Grothe will be the starter for the first game.

2. How will the team replace the production of Andre Hall?

It is now obvious that no running back or even two running backs will replace Andre Hall. Not that Ricky Ponton was a disappointment, it's just that Hall was such a dynamic player that nobody on this year's roster is capable of "replacing" him.

Ricky Ponton has a lot of potential. He sees the field and has an innate ability of making people miss. Josh Julmiste said it best one day at practice, "Ricky looks like he's skating on ice out there."

With Moise Plancher basically missing he entire spring with a pulled hamstring, it is hard to tell how he will contribute next year. He has been hyped as possibly the next great back, but has yet to take the field in even a meaningful practice situation. Walk-ons Walt Smith and Benjamin Williams saw a bulk of the action and did a decent job. Both are undersized, but would be capable fill-ins if one of the two scholarship backs were injured.

Answer: The passing game, the running game, special teams and the defense will all need to step up to replace the presence of Andre Hall. Hall helped more than just the offense. He was a leader, the defensive players respected him as much as the offensive players. This year everyone is going to have to take the lessons that Hall taught them to take their game to the next level.

3. What players will be able to step-up and fill in for the loss of Terrance Royal, Tim Jones and Jon Simmons on the Defensive Line?

Who would have thought the most solid position on the team besides linebacker, would be the defensive line. Especially when Eric Thomas retired due to injury, coupled with the loss of Frank Harry early in the spring. Looking at it now, I'm not sure Harry would even be second team. At the tackle position Allen Cray and Richard Clebert are on one side with Woody George and Tavarious Robinson on the other. Harry was only there for a few days, but with the performance of the returning players it would have been tough for him to see much playing time.

Just as surprising was the play from the end position. After nearly being moved to offensive line, George Selvie is now a starting defensive end along with Josh Julmiste. Selvie and Julmiste are both built in the Simeon Rice mold – tall, fast, strong, and relentless. These two have motors that don't quit. Julmiste really improved this year in batting the ball down at the line. It's not as glamorous as a sack, but it can frustrate the quarterback more than getting hit. Look for him and Selvie to come out hot, the two of them could each have 10-12 sacks this season.

Answer: Royal, Jones and Simmons will surely be missed this year, but this Dline should be better than last year's. The graduating seniors were great football players, but this year's line is bigger and faster. Remember Jarriett Buie isn't even starting. In past year's it would have been unheard of to have a player of that caliber playing a backup role.

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