Well, only a few of my pictures from the game came out since my camera is just a simple point-and-shoot deal and not a professional setup where I can adjust brightness and color. I also got home late last night so I haven’t been able to see all the coverage from ESPN that I recorded, but I have seen some. I can just tell you a few quick impressions from the game.
It was a record crowd, at over 61,000 for the spring game. If you’re wondering why the crowd didn’t react to what the GameDay guys were saying despite hearing their voices echoing through the stadium at times is because you couldn’t hear them that well in the stands. Even when Chris Fowler counted off for the third pregame race and the people in the stands were quiet, it was still somewhat difficult to hear him. Despite the increased numbers, it was still a standard Spring game crowd: they cheered for only for the offenses and started filing out after halftime.
The GameDay set roughly 20 minutes before the game. As you can see, the location wasn’t conducive to a standard GameDay experience.
The Races for a Scholarship
Everyone around me in the stands wondered why Fowler only announced the final heat participants, and it appears from what the TV guys yakking with Urban Meyer said is that they saved the fastest students for the last race against Chris Rainey. It’s too bad they didn’t just start that heat with a whistle because though Rainey would still have won, the students in it did look pretty fast. It did worry some people that Louis Murphy didn’t win by much, but we gave him a pass since he’s been bothered by an ankle sprain this Spring.
Who’s red shorts? I gotta recruit red shorts to come play.
The Passing Game
It didn’t look much like anything we’ll see this Fall since so many guys like Percy Harvin and Cornelius Ingram were out. Tim Tebow is clearly better than Cam Newton still, which makes sense and all but the gap is unsettlingly large. Newton’s nadir was rifling a pass intended for 5’6″ Brandon James about 9 feet high. Still, he’s big (looks like he’s been on the JaMarcus Russell diet this winter), and we’ll see him carrying the ball to pick up tough yards so Tebow won’t have to. All you need to know is that despite the teams having roughly equal receivers, Tebow threw two interceptions and still had the blue team up 28-0 in offensive points by the end of the third quarter.
If the game is any indication, we’ll see a lot of roll outs, sideline patterns, and Riley Cooper on the slant route. Until everyone gets back, though, we won’t know what the total picture will be. I do have a hunch though that we’ll see a ton of Harvin.
Florida may have the rattiest no-contact jerseys in the country. Tebow’s and John Brantley’s have the numbers fading off the front, and here you can see Newton’s with a hole.
The Running Game
Based on who played and for how long, the depth chart here something along the lines of:
- Kestahn Moore
- Mon Williams
- Emmanuel Moody
James and Moore started for the orange, and Rainey and Williams started for the blue. Moody then replaced Moore in the orange’s rotation.
As I understand it, the game was a microcosm of Moody’s spring: it began slow, got better, but was marred by putting the ball on the ground. I think we can all give the “Yeah, but we got Moody” talk a rest for a while. Moore will almost certainly start the opener against Hawaii, and Williams will be able to get some tough yards up the middle.
What I didn’t get was rushing Rainey up the middle. We saw Meyer run James up the middle some last year too, and I can’t understand having undersized speed guys go between the tackles. Sure it’s unexpected, but that’s because it’s a bad idea. Rainey will be at his best on the edges in a Harvin-like role. And he will be very, very good.
You never get to learn anything about the defense as a whole in the spring game since they can’t go after the quarterback full-on and there’s a lot more rotating of guys than normal. Carlos Dunlap has gotten a lot better, having added some technique to his natural skills, but it’s hard to say too much more.
So, I’ll just say how funny it was to see Tebow lay out Major Wright on Lorenzo Edwards‘ interception return. What you couldn’t see on TV was Wright tugging at Tebow’s sleeve after the play, evidently trying to remind him that it doesn’t just mean that he can’t be hit but that he shouldn’t be hitting other people either. He then got quite a lecture from Dan Mullen, more than what you saw on TV.
A coach’s nightmare: the returning Heisman-winning quarterback in his no-hit jersey winding up to lay out the hard-hitting starter at free safety in the spring game.
Chas Henry has a monster leg now. If he can be consistent, he’ll be a humongous asset in the field position game.
Caleb Sturgis definitely has a big leg, but he’s got to find accuracy. Jonathan Phillips will probably be the kicker to begin the year, but Sturgis will almost certainly do the kickoffs.
No serious injuries, and everyone had a good time. You really can’t ask for much more out of a spring game, especially when you get 4 hours of free publicity on ESPN while you’re at it.