- Andrea Adelson, College Football
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Here is a quick recap of the four spring scrimmages around the Big East this past weekend:
Cincinnati. Inclement weather forced Cincinnati to cancel the Bearcat Bowl, as the Bearcats shifted to their indoor bubble for a brief practice. A couple hundred fans crowded into the bubble and onto the sidelines for a glimpse of what their team will look like in 2012. They saw quite the physical practice Saturday.
"We have to be a physical football team," coach Butch Jones said. "I said our margin of error is going to be extremely slim this year so we have to have a team that buys into the team concept, plays great team offense, team defense and team special teams. Our defense, we have to swarm to the football, we need all 11 hats getting to the football. It's an ongoing process but I liked the collisions I saw out here."
Louisville. Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater capped off a terrific spring with a nearly flawless performance in the Red-White game, going 19-of-21 for 257 yards and three touchdowns as the first team beat the second team on a rainy Saturday. Bridgewater has been on point throughout the spring, completing about 70 percent of his passes, further establishing the Cardinals as one of the favorites to win the Big East in 2012.
"He's had a really good spring," offensive coordinator Shawn Watson said. "He's been very accurate really all spring. I know he's been lights out. He's really played very well. I challenged him with the things he needed to get better with and use all the tools he has available to him. As a young player, he didn't quite get it. Now he's getting it. You're seeing a lot more completions now. He's worked hard. He's doing a lot of good things with his eyes and playing well."
Pitt. Isaac Bennett put an exclamation point on his terrific spring, running for 121 yards on 23 carries in the Blue-Gold game on Saturday. Pitt did not use a scoring format, relying instead on scripted situations. Bennett had a 51-yard run during the scrimmage, his fourth 50-plus yard run of the spring.
"Isaac worked this spring,” coach Paul Chryst said. “He is young and I think he had a chance to learn and to grow. The last scrimmages we’ve had, he’s gone pretty hard. He’s had some mistakes in pass blocking that he needs to clean up, but that is not atypical of a running back. I thought he did some good things.”
Tino Sunseri went 13-of-27 for 147 yards with a touchdown and one interception, while Mark Myers was 10-of-16 for 167 yards and it seemed apparent to observers that the passing game needs work. In one more bit of news, Chryst announced before the scrimmage center Ryan Turnley and defensive end Shayne Hale won the Ed Conway Award, given annually to the most improved players of the spring.
Temple. The Owls may have answered some questions about depth in their backfield during the spring. In the Cherry-White game Saturday, Kenny Harper ran for a game-high 48 yards and two touchdowns -- one for each side. Jalen Fitzpatrick had 40 yards on five carries, while Matt Brown had 39 yards on seven rushes for the Owls.
The running game was more effective than the passing game, which struggled at times. Chris Coyer was 6-of-15 for 116 yards and a 43-yard touchdown pass to Ryan Alderman. Receivers were plagued with several drops.
In another note, Temple announced its spring award winners -- Brown earned the Mark Bresani Award for spirit and enthusiasm; tight end Wanemi Omuso was most improved non-scholarship player; linebacker Ahkeem Smith was the most improved defensive player; Fitzpatrick was most improved offensive player; and linebacker Olaniyi Adewole was most improved special teams player.