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Friday, April 5, 2013
Cincy, Memphis ready for spring games

By Matt Fortuna

Seems like spring is just beginning, no?

It will be ending in the coming days for two Big East teams, as Cincinnati and Memphis will hold their spring games Saturday. The Bearcats' big spring event is actually an open scrimmage from 10 a.m. to noon at the on-campus Sheakley Athletics Center practice field, which holds roughly 2,500 people.

With cold weather having forced Cincinnati to cancel two of its earlier practices this spring, new coach Tommy Tuberville will hold one more practice on Wednesday to close out his first spring with the Bearcats.

Quarterback battles were the headline for both clubs entering this season, with both coaches saying that the men who finished last season as starters -- Brendon Kay for Cincinnati, Jacob Karam for Memphis -- would have to re-win the starting jobs going into 2013.

Kay, who took over for Munchie Legaux in the ninth game of last season and won four of his final five games, has been trying to make the most of this spring after the NCAA granted him a sixth year of eligibility.

"It was a long process and a lot of paperwork, talking to a lot of people -- definitely a lot of relief," Kay told ESPN.com earlier this spring. "I'm just very thankful for it, for all the people that put in the work to allow me to get a sixth year. It's over with now. [I'm] preparing for my sixth year, trying to get it as good as it could possibly be."

"Six years, three coaches, three offenses, three knee surgeries," he added, summing up his college career. "It's been a long road to get here, but it makes it all that much more meaningful. Just all the support I've had all around me, that's what I'm thankful for."

During a scrimmage last Saturday at the Bengals' Paul Brown Stadium, Kay completed 9-of-14 passes for for 101 yards with a touchdown and a pick, while Legaux went 7-for-16 for 100 yards with two interceptions.

"It was obvious that our defense was ahead of our offense today," Tuberville said afterward. "You better be ahead on defense in the spring, I'll tell you that. If your defense is not ahead of your offense then you are going to have problems in the fall."

Memphis will hold a more traditional spring game at noon at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, with one more practice coming Tuesday to wrap up coach Justin Fuente's second spring with the Tigers.

Rising redshirt freshman Paxton Lynch has pushed the rising senior Karam this spring, as has rising junior Eric Mathews, who served as last year's backup.

Karam, who transferred from Texas Tech after graduating in December 2011, threw for 1,895 yards last season with 14 touchdowns and three interceptions.

Both schools will hold youth clinics for those under eighth grade, along with autograph sessions, after their practices Saturday.