I posted these over on the Ning site yesterday, but for those not on board there, I thought I better re-post here on the main site:
Well, it was an awesome day for a spring game and the crowd was probably around 10,000. A slightly new wrinkle is that the spring game is starting to turn into a little more of a tailgating event. I saw a lot of early arrivals.
To the game:
--The player that jumped out was of course Rell Lewis (14 rushes, 64 yards and 3 catches for 55 yards). We saw some his skill in practice last August, but with the sudden shortage of running backs, he got a lot of action. Slightly thicker than Jake Sharp, but about the same height.
--Deshaun Sands showed that he can play as well while toughing it out for the white team (8 carries, 28 yards). Of course, Jake Sharp looked like the solid veteran that he is, going for 63 yards on 7 carries and adding 3 receptions for 34 yards.
--The concern at running back is that with the Jocques Crawford situation "all" of our backs are on the small side (Sharp, 5-10/195; Lewis, 5-10/201; Sands, 5-9/182). That probably means Toben Opurum is already moving way up the depth chart and fall practice is actually going to be more intriguing than usual. And I believe, Bradley McDougald is a possibility in the backfield as well.
--I don't think anyone was surprised to see that Johnathan Wilson stepped up and filled the void that Dezmon Briscoe left open. That's the thing about a great quarterback. If you can catch and get any separation at all, he'll make you famous. The Breeze is going to want to sort this out quickly.
--Former walk-on WR Willie O'Quinn is everybody's favorite to root for right now (3 catches, 12 yards).
--My favorite project -- Maxwell Onyegbule changed from #47 to #90, which was kind of disappointing. I love out of position numbers. Anyway, Max physically looks impressive, but I really didn't watch the line battle close enough to see how he was doing, because ...
--I was consumed with the new Angus Quigley linebacker project. To me, he didn't look too bad out there and rushing off the edge, he came with all kinds of speed. Of course, Kale Pick slipped underneath him on one of those and went for a long gainer, but on another play he would buried Pick if it was a live game. Literally. It's scary to think of what can happen if Angus catches a QB from the blind side.
--In coverage, I'm not going to pretend to be an expert on LB zone pass coverage, but in the short coverage Angus allowed some underneath openings. However, it didn't seem to be any worse than previous LB play at KU. Plus, he seemed to be in perfect position to light up the receiver. He ran down some ball carriers on long gainers which shows the proper never give up attitude.
--I did see Clint Bowen pull Angus out and rail on him for quite some time about consecutive mistakes made. Still, to me, I think I've seen enough to say that this project is going to come together at some point.
--Noted that Patrick Dorsey was playing with the blue team while Darrius Parrish was playing with the white. Seriously, if Dorsey is in the mix, I feel like we have five guys that could start at DT (Caleb Blakesley, Richard Johnson, Jr., Parrish, Dorsey and Jamal Greene).
--I also thought the white defensive line improved throughout the game. Of course, they didn't have to play the second half against Todd Reesing.
--I thought Chris Harris looked pretty comfortable at nickelback. Darrell Stuckey is Darrell Stuckey. I thought Lubbock Smith played pretty well at safety for the white team. Noted that Justin Thornton gave up the inside slant on fourth down. He seemed to transition well to corner, but the inside slant still looks like a weakness.
--That was Todd Reesing's final spring game. Watching him and Kerry Meier, I feel like we've taken great QB play for granted. How quickly we forget the time between Bill Whittemore and Reesing. Anyway, both of those guys are top-level college quarterbacks and they showed it to me yesterday, but for now ...
--It's hard not to get sucked into the future battle for the starting quarterback. Kale Pick seems to be progressing and I thought looked pretty promising. His running game is going to take some pressure off. Jordan Webb showed that he has a gun and a lot of competitive spirit slugging it out with the white team. The Webb vs Pick battle could shape up to be a lot like the Reesing vs Meier competition. Of course, Christian Matthews will be in the mix as well along with probably at least one member of the 2010 class.
photo credit: annependleton.com