The gates of the Big House opened in 2007 for this year’s version of the Spring Football game. This is the first of three pre-season events leading up to the football season, the other two being the ‘Fan Day’ typically in August and of course the Appalachian State dress rehearsal on September 1.
Many know that the format in year’s past was more of an organized practice with a few snaps of live action. They actually introduced more team play this year with the Blue (offense) taking on the White (defense) in real snaps just a few minutes after warming up. They created some type of scoring system for the defense as well but they failed to explain to the 10,000 on hand how the white team scoring actually worked. Anyway, I liked the format and it allowed for a lot of action as opposed to a bunch of practice drills.
Missing from the Spring game were many of the big players, including Mario Manningham, Jake Long and Mike Hart, but enough guys got in there to see some good plays. Kevin Grady is also out probably for the entire year with an ACL tear that happened last week. Lloyd Carr advised that Carlos Brown will now be heading back to the tailback position after his brief run with the defense. [I mistakenly thought I saw ‘Los on the White defense, but it was Steve Brown, sophomore safety.]
Most eyes were on incoming 5-Star QB Ryan Mallet who saw many snaps. Lloyd Carr was asked prior to the Spring game today about the back-up QB race, and he spent most of the time talking about Mallet. So it was no surprise to me when after a couple series’ with Henne at the helm, Mallet was the first quarterback off the bench. He looked ok; there were definitely some missed tosses but he did show a little mobility in the pocket. At one point, after the ref’s whistle blew the play dead, Mallet took off down the sideline for a touchdown and taunted the White team in the end zone. He’s cocky. I think I like that.
A couple other highlights:
– Ron English barking at the defense. It was so loud he actually got me pumped up. I wouldn’t want that cat in my face.
– Freshman and Saline native Vince Helmuth getting a bunch of snaps at fullback including some with Henne at QB. Carr talked about how he liked him in the presser. I’m not sure what to read from this but it can only mean positive things for the local boy.
– The weather was pretty brutal. I couldn’t bring myself to wear gloves to the Spring game but it was probably warranted.
More photos from Section 10 in the south end zone:
Mike Hart sat out but as usual was omnipresent
A great TD catch by David Middleton despite being blanketed by Johnny Sears (A lucky ‘click and pray’ photo)
Some more of the foundational construction, this time inside the 30’s in the north endzone. You could also see markings outside the press box where the new renovation digs will take place later this year.
A view of the Blue trying to score on Ron English’s White team
Unfortunately there were a lot of drops, including this one in the end zone by tight end Andre Criswell. Will the Blue be able to fill the gap left by Tyler Ecker (NFL) and Carson Butler (Booted off)?
UPDATE: I just checked out the pics of the Spring game found on mgoblue.com. I’m a little concerned about the one of Mallet firing a pass with his arm extended. Err…does that golden arm have a little bit of chicken flab? Is that the arm of a stud QB or the crypt-keeper? Judge for yourself: