7. What receivers will become the guy with T.J. gone and the absence of A.J. Love?
Every year teams lose players to graduation, but when a team loses a player as dynamic as T.J. who had more scores than the Bulls other top five combined, it's never easy. Last season T.J. and A.J. scored 8 of the Bulls 13 receiving touchdowns, and replacing that production is never easy, but the spring is the time for other players to step up to the plate. Jessie Hester, who led the team in receptions (57), yardage (578), and was voted the offensive MVP was the logical choice, but he was injured in the first scrimmage and missed the rest of the spring. With 3 of the Bulls top 5 receivers from '08 either gone or injured the competition was wide open this spring.
The one player that really stepped up to the plate was junior receiver Dontavia Bogan, who showed great route running, hands, and simply the ability to make plays. Last season Carlton Mitchell led the team in yards per catch, but this was the first full spring for junior, and it was very productive one. In the spring game during the white teams final drive Carlton caught a 19-yard pass and took a vicious hit by Jerrell Young, but held on to the ball and showed he can be relied on when it counts. Junior Edner Alcin needed a solid spring and had is best one ever, catching passes, taking hits and making his case to be in the rotation. Redshirt freshman Daniel Bryant made some great catches and gave fans a glimpse of what he's capable of doing when giving the opportunity.
Senior Theo Wilson is a player that brings excitement to the table simply because you never know how they're going to use him. Sophomore receivers Patrick Richardson and Jeffrey ‘Pookie' Wilson both showed good things with Wilson displaying nifty moves on his TD in the spring game. Senior Colby Erskin who's trying to return from injury is doing everything he can to crack the two-deep, and had a nice diving catch at the end of the spring game.
8. Will Mike Ford return from an injury marred season and return to his old form?
Mike has returned from injury, and came into the spring a leaner, stronger and better condition than he was last season. He's cut his dreads, dropped down to 224 pounds and is noticeably leaner and looks quicker with a little pop to his step as he tries to become an every down back for the Bulls. With his weight and body fat down, and his strength up, Ford is doing everything he can to put ‘08 behind him and return to his freshman form. He only had a few early carries in the spring game, but on two of those runs, looked like the Ford of old, and gave fans a reason to be optimistic for the ground game in 2009.
9. Who will win the starting jobs at outside linebacker?
With the graduation of Tyrone McKenzie & Brouce Mompremiere, the Bulls lost two team leaders and both outside linebackers, which is never easy to replace. The two players who had the inside track were Sabbath Joseph & Chris Robinson who opened as starters. Sabbath showed some very good things throughout the spring including natural athleticism and the ability to go sideline to sideline. Senior Chris Robinson in his bid to return from purgatory had his best spring since in years. Maybe it's the new coaches or simply a wakeup call for C-Rob, but either way he's responded and his interception and pass break-up in the spring game, showed that just maybe he's returned to old form. The biggest surprise of the spring was Donte Spire who left the team after the 2007 season, but has made incredible strides for someone who just rejoined the team, showing incredible talent and is right there vying for the outside spots. Mike Lanaris had a good spring but is in the inside and Armando Sanchez has developed but isn't quite there yet. The unit had a good spring, but the audition for the outside linebackers will continue this summer.
10. What impact will WR Coach Phil McGeoghan have on the receivers?
The first thing you notice about McGeoghan is he's very high on the intensity and brings that passion and aggressiveness that you want in a coach. He may be young, but he was a wide receiver that's been in the league and knows everything about the position and also knows what the players need and how to reach them. He's a direct extension of Coach Canales and the players bought what he's selling and responded immediately. He's one of those coaches players want to be around, and has bonded well with the unit, and it shows. He does a great job to motivate and get the most out of them by making the unit better every day. In return the players are working hard, playing tough, and competing every minute, and you really can't expect more out of coach/player relationship during their first spring together