Enjoyed spending some time out at spring practice Saturday. UC moved out of the bubble for the first time this spring and into Nippert. In the sun, sitting in the bleachers was even tolerable.
The concept of being excited by plays made in scrimmages/practices always make me chuckle. Even when something good happens, it almost always means something bad happens.
For example, Chris Williams made a nice play stepping in front of a Munchie Legaux short crossing pass for a 60-yard interception return for a touchdown. Great play by Williams, but not the best decision by Legaux or the receiver who could have knocked the ball down (couldn't catch his number in the hubub).
Sophomore Arryn Chenault also grabbed a pick on an overthrown pass.
"We did force some turnovers with some interceptions, but we got to take care of the ball at the receiver position, and at the quarterback position, but a lot of times too it stems up front with pressure," Butch Jones said. "I am excited because we have not fumbled the ball yet this spring, yet that is disappointing from a defensive standpoint as well. It's a double-edged sword. The thing you don't want to do is be sloppy. We haven't been sloppy to date and that is encouraging."
The defense dominated most of the day. Of course, once Zach Collaros stepped in under center (remember, he's the only QB wearing the untouchable red jersey) the big play occured with a 40-yard crossing pass that went for a touchdown.
Elsewhere, kickers Danny Milligan (St. X) and Tony Miliano (Elder) were thrown into some tough spots in their GCL competition. Both had attempts from at least 47 yards out. Both had a miss, with Milligan converting the final kick of the day.
As for where the competition stands, well, it's a work in progress with what sounds like reinforcements on the way in June, according to Jones.
"Tony and Danny are extremely competitive," Jones said. "We put them in some difficult situations with some longer field goals and wind conditions and all those things. That's kicking."
If you'd like more analysis from Jones, here is an in depth interview on those topics plus some others here with Tommy G from the end of practice Saturday.
Of course, you should all be visiting Spring Football Central for all the specifics and updates from each day of practice. If you're not, well, I'm not mad, just disappointed.
--- This is from Friday, but didn't get an opportunity to post it in the Breakfast. If you are reading this blog, you care at least a little about UC athletics. And if you care at all about UC athletics, you must read this Q and A wiith Mike Thomas by BearcatLair. Stop now. Click link. Read. Return.
--- Butch Jones talked glowingly about the five freshmen early enrollees, but specifically pointed out linebackers Nick Temple and Dwight Jackson. He says they are currently running with the second team. Considering the lack of depth at the position (exascerbated with Walter Stewart's move to DE), their contribution will be a necesity.
"I couldn't be more ecstatic or excited about these two youngsters that came in," Jones said. "We are throwing a lot at them and they are handling it quite well. We have no depth at that position. The way they are progressing, they are going to have to play for us next year. Them being here for spring football means so much to their development."
--- I've got an update story with CB Dominique Battle in the hopper. Battle was supposed to be the veteran holding down the young secondary last year. When he tore up his knee, the pressure become overwhleming for the cast of kids.
Battle's wearing the green shirt right now, but is playing and expects to be full strength this summer.
Keep an eye out for that posted soon.
--- Scott Springer pointed out some possible impact Cats and focuses on Kenbrell Thompkins and Walter Stewart.
--- Can't help but think about UConn being in the national title game and how close UC was in that game. The margin between good and legendary seasons is much thinner than you think.
--- If you're interested in a little blast from the past, Andy Kennedy and Bob Huggins sat down on WVU Illustrated for about seven minutes and shared stories with some UC talk. Also, Frank Martin stopped by with a great story about scouting the Kentucky NCAA tournament game where Rajon Rondo dropped bombs from the outside. (BTW, Martin should be No. 1 candidate at the U of Miami open).
--- On the outskirts of things UC is concerned about, Dayton hired Archie Miller (Sean's younger brother) as head coach. He's only 32 and been a top assistant under his brother, Thad Matta and Herb Sendek. UD obviously in search of the next Brad Stevens, or next Sean Miller, for that matter. Or really anybody who could beat Xavier in Cincinnati.
--- I'll be at spring practice tomorrow and have some more then, if you have any questions or players you would like to hear more from feel free to send an email to me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or hit me up on Twitter (@pauldehnerjr).
--- In what will be the first time anybody ever says this, Charlie Sheen should have learned from The Situation.
--- Not sure how anybody could argue Zack Morris had a better high school athletics career than AC Slater at Bayside. It's proposterous. Slater was a state wrestling champion. Zack's cross country career doesn't compete. These are the facts.
--- Why did Carmelo Anthony want to join the Knicks? Because his team can lose 9 of 10 games and he'll still be asked to come on SNL. For the record, I would have paid more to attend the afterparty than the taping.
--- If you read this blog regularly, you're aware of my love for One Shining Moment. We get to see the 2011 version tonight. It will be the main reason I watch the game. Here's a poll asking what you will do when you watch the song (Luther Vandross version this year, people! Win!) You will see it here tomorrow.