Sunday, April 01, 2007

Football - The Ode To Spring

There's almost nothing better than the blooming of spring. Dogwoods, Cherry's, Bradford Pears, all kinds of flowers all strutting their stuff for about a week. Spring brings with it the climax of basketball season, the crack of the bat in beesball, and of course spring football. For the Jackets, practice has been an encouraging venture, with many positives to take-away so far. Here are some hints of things to come.

  • Taylor Bennett has most definitely locked up the #1 spot (if it ever really was in doubt). He has shown leadership, decision-making and accuracy so far this spring. This weekend's round of articles focus on the positive comments of Chan Gailey about Bennett starting to do things he didn't even think he was capable of doing. This after throwing 14-27 for 270 yards, 4 TD's with no INT's in Saturday's scrimmage
  • So the question really becomes - who's #2 at QB? At this point, it appears Steven Threet and Calvin Booker are getting most of the snaps. Threet is most definitely raw, but looks the part. Booker is showing that he learned a thing or two during his QB days at Auburn. Byron Ingram is another guy getting snaps
  • At Wide Receiver the Jackets should not let their expectations down too much with the loss of Calvin Johnson. Some - yes........... A BIG drop? Maybe just a small one. Greg Smith seems to have take a big leap in the spring and we know what we get with James Johnson, who has mostly been nursing injury. Both Demaryius Thomas and Corey Earls are proving themselves at the WR position as freshmen. Both Earls and Thomas caught balls for more than 100 yards Saturday.
  • Gary Guyton is poised to have an excellent season. Physically he's a better fit at LB than K-Hall was, and if he can get the mental side of the game like K-Hall, then watch out.
  • Interestingly the offense has generally dbeen "ahead" of the defense, or at least neck-and-neck. Bennett says it's the best spring for the offense since he's been here. I think that's a good thing, as I generally don't worry too much about Jon Tenuta's D's.
  • Word is that new OC John Bond has been a good fit. He hasn't re-written the book at all, but word is he's much more of a hand's on guy than Nix. Nix was really a schemer, but not big on individual instruction. Bond is out there with the players, helping the QB's with mechanics, working on QB/Center exchanges, staying after when needed, etc. The players really seem to like him and he seems to have a little of the "Tenuta attitude" on the field. In other words, he's a bit in-your-face, which should be a welcome addition. Ironically, I think this will even be welcomed by Tenuta, who has to be a bit frustrated over the years and carrying his unfair share of the load for winning games
  • In terms of the offense, look for the playbook to be altered. Nothing drastic, but don't look for as many deep bombs, and look for the entire field to be used. Also, without Calvin look for the offense to be spread around to more guys, which should keep defenses on their toes. In my humble opionion, the offense has a chance to be more diverse, more effective and just more plain fun to watch. Let's be realistic - the change at QB is more important than the loss of Calvin. Just my opinion.
  • At RB and O-Line, it looks like we are solid. Choice is clearly the man behind the line, and little man Evans and R.Grant are solid back-ups. Of course we are all interested to see how the new frosh show-out in the fall. The O-Line should be the "rock" for this team, as Coach Gailey migght have the most experienced unit since he arrived. Honestly, when your the strengths of your team are the O-Line and the D-Line, you have to feel decent about things. Tech is deep at the DE position, which is a great problem to have, particularly at the end of long grueling games. DT is looking solid as well.
  • Some position moves as usual - Quincy Kelly to FB, Tony Clark to LB
  • In terms of concerns, I think they generally go in this order - defensive backfield, Tight end, wide receiver, then general depth, since so many guys are on the sidelines not participating.
  • Recruits are rotating in to watch practices on a heavy basis. Seems that the staff is doing a good job of really making recruit visits a regular thing for practice.
All in all, there is reason to be excited. The only disappointment is that the fall seems so far away.