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Spring Game Thoughts

Box Score

-- I want to thank Tom O'Brien for changing the spring game format so that it's more like the real thing. This year's game was about ten times more interesting than any of the Amato-era games. Only drawback: it makes the game even more of a tease. Gonna be a long five months.

-- The combined passing numbers:
Comp Att Comp% Yds TD INT
42 88 47.7 536 4 4
The individual numbers:

Evans had the best performance of the three, hitting on 20-of-34 passes for 275 yards and three touchdowns. Evans had a 19-yard touchdown pass to John Dunlap in the second quarter, then threw hit Blackman with a 50-yard touchdown with under three minutes remaining in the fourth quarter and the Red team down by 10. Evans completed the comeback for the Red squad with a 8-yard toss to Blackman with 16 seconds left to play.

Burke was 13-of-24 for 121 and a touchdown but threw three interceptions, with strong safety Javon Walker picking off the freshman twice. Beck finished a combined 7-of-26 for 116 yards, throwing an interception to free safety Jimmaul Simmons that the freshman returned 100 yards for a touchdown.

Daniel Evans definitely looked the most comfortable. He was far better in terms of decision making and impressed me with athletic plays on several occasions. One that sticks out: in the first half, he's flushed from the pocket and scrambles to his left. He sees a receiver breaking open on that side of the field, squares his shoulders and fires a bullet (while still on the move) that hits the receiver in the hands for a 15-yard (or so) gain. Really tough throw and he made it look easy. The Red offense operated smoothly while he was under center, and though the score was close, Red outgained White by a lot of yards (though I should note there were more first-stringers on the Red offense; Evans had the benefit of Blackman, Dunlap, and Hill).

There's no way to sugarcoat Harrison Beck's numbers, but I'm not all that concerned. It seemed to me that he was airing the ball out a lot in the first half, like he was just messing around or something, trying to hit the home run. Which didn't work out too well for him.

Neither he nor Burke made me feel any better about the QB situation. And in addition to the four interceptions made by the defenses in the game, they dropped at least 3-4 more shoulda-beens (not all of them Burke/Beck throws).

-- The running backs had no problems whatsoever today, although that fact may itself be a problem. I had a great view of Andre Brown's 25-yard TD run; not only was he not tackled, he was not even touched. Nice work by the OL on that one.
 Car Yds YPC
Baker 23 163 7.1
Brown 11 112 10.2
Eugene 15 174 11.6
Not a whole lot of resistance for the running backs. Jamelle Eugene's 50-yard run was one of the day's highlights. Right after he got the handoff, a flag went down in the backfield, so the play would be coming back. He made a cut and broke free to the outside, but the defense caught up to him as he neared the red zone and stripped him of the football. It was scooped up by a defensive back, who started to return the ball to the opposite side of the field and was tackled after a short gain, but not before another flag went down, this time for an illegal block during the return.

If you're scoring at home, that's a penalty on both the offense and the defense and a turnover in one play. Watching the game over the internet from his Tallahassee home, Chuck Amato wiped away a wistful tear. "Yep, that's how we do it."

-- Already at 21 points, the Red team got the ball to start the second half and quickly moved the ball down the field. As they neared White's 20-yard line, I joked to my dad, "they better be careful; they might break the 24-point threshold." A play or two later, Jamelle Eugene fumbled the ball away.

-- Hooray for coachspeak:

"If we compete the way we competed there at the end today we are going to win some football games here," O'Brien said.

Yes we are, coach. Yes we are.

I'd calculate the words-to-content ratio, but you can't divide by zero.

-- I was impressed by the turnout for the game--the lower West-side stands were packed and the upper deck was over 50% full as well. The day was, unfortunately, marred by an incident involving a particularly boisterous fan: