Monday, April 8, 2013
Spring game recaps: Cincy, Memphis
By Matt Fortuna
Cincinnati and Memphis held their biggest spring events Saturday, while Louisville conducted its final scrimmage before next weekend's spring game. Here's a look at what went down.
Sixth-year quarterback Brendon Kay accounted for three of the biggest highlights of the team's final scrimmage at the Sheakly Athletics Center, tossing a trio of touchdown passes before the 2,000-plus fans. Redshirt sophomore Chris Moore proved to be the biggest target on the afternoon, notching team highs of five catches for 153 yards and two touchdowns, including a 56-yard score.
The offense made big strides just one week after the defense stole the show at Paul Brown Stadium. This was Cincinnati's third and final scrimmage, as it will not hold a traditional spring game, and has one more practice on Wednesday to round out coach Tommy Tuberville's first spring.
Tuberville said he will not name a starting quarterback until the summer, though Kay, who replaced Munchie Legaux in 2012 and started the final five games of the season, seems to have the upper hand with the season just less than five months away.
"Had a good practice," Tuberville said. "Lot of good effort. We mixed a lot of the first-, second- and third-team guys in there today, to make people learn how to communicate. Execution was iffy, on and off. Effort was real good. We made some progress. We cut back a bit on the offense and defense today to see if we could do some base things. It was a good day. Had a good crowd and good turnout. Excited about finishing up this week and getting into the offseason."
Sixteen Tiger offensive series began 65 yards from the goal line Saturday. None resulted in points, though Memphis' quarterbacks did a stellar job running the base offense at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium.
Jacob Karam, Paxton Lynch and Eric Mathews combined to complete 23 of 36 passes for 222 yards, with Karam and Lynch each tossing an interception.
“Today we came out and obviously just tried to run our very base, rudimentary, Day 1 installations on offense and defense,” coach Justin Fuente said. “I thought the defense executed it pretty well. I thought the offense at times was fine. As an entire spring, we have taken a step forward. We have gotten better.
“When we were out there scrimmaging with real scheme involved and real winners and losers, I thought we made strides. Today, we came out there and played hard. I would have liked us to do a few things differently but I thought they competed well and were fundamentally sound for the most part.”
Reggis Ball and Andrew Gaines came up with the picks for the Tigers' defense, while linebackers Anthony Brown and Charles Harris added seven and six tackles apiece, respectively. Carl Mitchell and Kewan Alfred added a sack apiece as well.
Like Tuberville, Fuente does not plan on naming a starting quarterback this spring.
Memphis will hold one final practice Tuesday to conclude Fuente's second spring with the program.
Though men's and women's basketball dominated the region this weekend, the conference's football favorites got at it on the gridiron Saturday for their final scrimmage on the practice fields before this coming Saturday's spring game at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.
The situational scrimmage pitted the first-team offense against the second-team defense.
Reigning conference offensive player of the year Teddy Bridgewater completed all but two passes Saturday, with one of those misfires getting picked off by Calvin Pryor. He threw touchdown passes of 25 and 9 yards, too.
Converted quarterback Dominique Brown appears to be making the most of his reps as the No. 1 running back, as the redshirt junior reached the end zone four times, including once from 25 yards out.
With Senorise Perry sidelined (ACL tear recovery) and Jeremy Wright not enrolled in classes, the Cardinals have needed someone to rise to the occasion in the backfield this spring.