Bearcat Bowl V will take place Saturday at at Nippert Stadium. The procedure will be much different than in the past. So, as you prepare to head down to
I) Young linebackers:
A significant area of development is necessary at the linebacker position. The Bearcats suffered through the lack of depth there and moving Walter Stewart to DE further exposed the area. Yet, by all accounts thus far a trio of young linebackers have shown the potential to not just fill the position but become breakout performers there.
Jones raves about early-enroll freshmen Dwight Jackson and Nick Temple at every opportunity. In practice, they've digested all the information thrown at them and performed at a high level. All we haven't seen from them is how they perform when the stage grows. Some young players struggle with that. Granted, this is only a glorified scrimmage under the lights, but the presence and pressure of fans in the stadium changes the game.
II) Wide receivers:
The Bearcats search for depth at the WR position involves D.J. Woods and a bunch of guys with little experience. Anthony McClung owns 22 career receptions. OJ Woodard owns two. After that, nobody has caught a ball at the Division I level.
Anybody who attended last spring game knows Kenbrell Thompkins, who took part before eventually being ruled ineligible. But this will be another opportunity for fans to see what the
Unfortunately, early enroll freshman Shaq
I enjoy some of the unique elements this practice format will bring to the spring game. At the top of the list is the institution of the 1-on-1 matchups. This will be DB v. WR and OL v DL. Particularly watching the competition of the skill guys on the outside going at it will provide an interesting glimpse into the personnel on both sides. I look forward to watching Cam Cheatham, who everyone I've spoken with has said is playing his best football and become the team's top pure cover corner at this point.
Also, look for situational football like overtime scenarios, offenses being buried deep in their own end and kickers forced to make pressure field goals.
IV) Youth clinic () and autograph session ()
If you have kids, there are few opportunities to come this close to the players and coaches as you'll see Saturday. Players will be directly interacting with kids during football drills and then after signing autographs. It's an experience few kids will forget and one of the cornerstones of the day from Butch Jones' perspective.
V) Decent weather:
This clearly jinxed the entire day, but reports are claiming the 24 hours of rain the city is supposed to endure will be clearing up by the time registration for the youth clinic begins at A night in the mid-50s at Nippert Stadium with the lights on will feel a lot like Saturdays in the Fall. Should be a festive atmosphere. Of course, I think I still have wet socks lying around somewhere from last spring's soakfest, so whatever happens almost has to be an improvement from Jones' Nippert debut.