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Spring Game Post-Mortem

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The replay if your cable is ESPN360 compatible.

Here's what the coordinators had to say.

Assigning value to a zero sum game is a dubious task, but there is value in looking at individuals and specific areas of interest. The coaches mixed and matched personnel groups quite a bit, so I wouldn't read too much into any group's performance.

It was great to see some football. And no injuries.

Defense

They won the scrimmage overall. Pressure on Colt was solid and our DBs ate up our passing offense with gusting winds serving as their ally. Our DL didn't make make me happy at the point of attack on a few running plays. They were disruptive on several of our half-assed zone runs, but got clobbered a few times when we ran out of 21 personnel.

Aaron Williams and Chykie Brown were dominating shutting down routes and choking off releases with great hand and footwork. Last year's bend-but-don't-break (which was understandable necessity) is no more. We're old enough and physical enough now that we're going to challenge everything. Should be fun to watch. Both Chykie and Aaron are cat-quick, will put their head in there in run support, and are focused.

Christian Scott led the team in tackles. Vicious in run support and his grasp of the D is coming around. Much more consistent and reliable than last year where he flashed great plays, but sometimes flubbed the routine assignments.

Earl Thomas was dominant and my scrimmage MVP. He had a pick 6 off of a beautiful read on Colt's inside WR and he was comfortable both in man coverage on a slot WR or in two deep playing over the top. He's a great football player.

Gideon was fine. Similar to last year. He needs to get stronger and faster and offer us something on the turnover ledger - either with picks or jarring hits. Does anyone have Brian Cushing's e-mail?

Nolan Brewster made a nice play on a free ball for a pick and just looked much more athletic and fluid overall. He's a very solid depth guy. Liked Marcus Davis in limited action as well. Curtis Brown looked very solid. More aggressive, more confident. Deon Beasley is also playing more consistently (and had a decisive punt return) but he's on the outside looking in and will remain so. Muschamp is trying to build a defense based on physical play and consistency and those just aren't Beasley strengths.

I liked the play of the LBs overall, but Keenan Robinson missed an important tackle against Fozzy on a TD run. He has to make that play - that's OU/OSU style off-tackle bread n' butter right there. That's a consistent play - off tackle, straight power alley - that our LBs consistently under or overrun. They just don't have a good feel for facing a traditional running game. Keenan was really active otherwise. Muck was Muck: solid, reliable.

Sergio Kindle was held out. Alex Okafor got a huge number of snaps in his place. He wasn't outclassed and that's pretty impressive for a guy who was playing against freaking Temple a few months ago.

Ben Alexander is improved and looks to have lost 25 pounds. Kheeston Randall did little to assure me that his light has turned on. Let's be clear: #2 and #3 DT is a problem. Lamarr Houston really needs a buddy. There's still time.

Offense

I'm not worried about Colt. Sherrod Harris had some shaky moments, but even when he threw the ball well, his receiver screwed him or the DB made a great play. He didn't make a push for making Garrett Gilbert redshirt.

Seeing Malcolm Williams make two great plays - one on a KOR, the other on a sideline catch just out of bounds - along with some more mundane catches in the short passing game was gratifying. It's pretty clear that the coaches won't play guys who won't catch the ball consistently or run the correct route and it's good to see Williams in the reliable club.

Kirkendoll looked fast.

Dan Buckner needs to decide if he's serious about football. I'm not sure he gets what offense we're running - drops just won't be tolerated.

TE play was horrendous. Greg Smith dropped an easy one, Ahmard Howard hot potatoed a ball into Brewster's hands (evoking fond memories of a Peter Ullman volleyball set) and generally made the position a giant glaring negative. This is a cursed position full of bodies, no ballers, injuries, and injured kids who can't find their classroom.

I was quite impressed with our ability to run with 21 personnel though I'm not sure how much of that was attributable to young Okafor and a subpar DT accounting for 1/2 of our DL. Still, our OL got down with good pad level and played with some intensity. We were a predictable monkeyfuck in our more traditional zone series though.

Really excited by the play of Britt Mitchell at OT. He's legit. I'm very comfortable with him as a 3rd OT when Hix returns.

Vondrell and Fozzy both ran well. It's not a mystery: RBs look good and can showcase skills when they have holes and a legitimate chance to do so. Fozzy looks like our 3rd down back, but we know that can change if he doesn't block well.

Special Teams

We've got a half dozen guys who can make plays on kickoff returns and punt returns and Mack looks determined to play them. Good. No Courtnee Garcia "sure hands" punt return philosophy to be found. Coverages were uneven, but don't sweat that. Our talent level is better across the board and I'm pretty sure we'll get the right guys plugged in.

All in all, we are what we thought we were though our ability to run the ball situationally out of 21 personnel and the sheer quality of our DBs was impressive and above expectation. The play at TE and DT was not. Plenty of time left to address each though...

Let's hear your thoughts?

BON's are here.