Non-BCS: Best of spring football

May, 14, 2009
5/14/09
12:00
PM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Graham Watson

Through 50-plus spring games, several things stood out, coaches learned a lot about their teams, players learned a lot about themselves and both parties hope that translates into success in the fall.

There were several memorable plays throughout the various spring games. Here are a couple highlights from the best of this spring:

Best highlight-worthy play: Hawaii ran the "Medeiros Special" for what ended up being the winning score in the Warrior Bowl. Quarterback Bryant Moniz lateraled to slotback Jon Medeiros, who heaved a 50-yard touchdown pass to receiver Jovonte Taylor for the touchdown.

Best hands: Utah State wide receiver Omar Sawyer had three catches for 196 yards and touchdowns catches for 72 and 80 yards in the spring game. Sawyer was challenged by the coaches to play a significant role in new head coach Gary Andersen's offense. Last season, Sawyer had 19 catches for 246 yards and no touchdowns in 11 games.

Best defensive performance: Memphis redshirt freshman defensive back DeRon Furr, a transfer from Auburn, was named the spring game's defensive MVP after notching seven tackles, two for loss, two pass break-ups and an interception returned 54 yards for a touchdown.

Best performance by a quarterback: Utah State's Diondre Borel, who was known more for his running ability last season, spent the spring working on his passing and in the spring game was 12-of-23 for 320 yards and three touchdowns.

Best comeback: San Jose State's Kevin Jurovich returned this spring after missing most of last season with mono. He led all San Jose State receivers in the spring game with six catches for 98 yards and a touchdown.

Best position change: Army's Ali Villanueva from left tackle to receiver. The a 6-foot-10, 286-pound senior started 12 games at left tackle last season, but new head coach Rich Ellerson took one look at Villanueva, noticed his speed and agility, and thought his size would give the Black Knights a decided advantage.

Best surprise: Utah quarterback Jordan Wynn was not even in the quarterbacking conversation midway through spring football, but after completing 8 of 13 passes for 158 yards and a touchdown in the spring game, Wynn is in the thick of the hunt for the starting role.

Best coaching decision: San Jose State coach Dick Tomey's decision to hire Terry Malley as quarterbacks coach. Malley spent the past 14 years as an offensive coordinator for the San Jose SaberCats, the arena football team. If anyone knows about offense, it's Malley, and if there's one thing that held San Jose State back last season, it was its lack of offense.

Best quote(s): "The fact that we're so far away at quarterback right now is what stands out. They were just awful, awful. I mean, it was embarrassing." -- Colorado State coach Steve Fairchild gives his honest assessment of his quarterback situation after the final spring scrimmage.

"My heart sank when he didn't get up right away. I was actually talking to somebody at the time and I didn't hear a word that person said. All I could see was Ricky on the ground. Fortunately it was a mild sprained ankle. He could have gone back in if it was a real game." -- Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo on his thoughts after starting quarterback Ricky Dobbs went down with an ankle injury during the spring game.

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