Friday, April 22, 2011
Non-AQ spring games
By Andrea Adelson
There are a few non-AQ spring games this weekend. Here is a quick glance:
Ball State: New coach Pete Lembo has stressed working on fundamentals this spring, but he also has a quarterback competition that has been ongoing between Keith Wenning and Kelly Page. The two are the only scholarship quarterbacks on the roster, so they have gotten plenty of reps with the first- and second-team offenses. Wenning has an edge following the last scrimmage the Cardinals played. Lembo hopes to have a decision following the spring game. "But if it’s not clear-cut, we won’t panic and we’ll make that decision in the preseason," Lembo said. "Either way, those guys will continue to get a lot of work."
Colorado State: Quarterback Pete Thomas has continued his improvement throughout the spring, but one player to watch is Crockett Gillmore, who has turned heads at tight end after lining up at defensive end. The 6-foot-6 Gillmore had a 1,000-yard season as a receiver in high school and has showed good hands and good blocking this spring. Coach Steve Fairchild was asked after a scrimmage last week whether Gillmore could be used like Stanford two-way player Owen Marecic. "It would take some time, and some well-thought-out packages to see which way he could go the most, and so forth," Fairchild said. "We’ve got a long time before we have to make that decision. But I know this: He’s one of our top 22 football players and he will be on the field in Albuquerque [for the season opener against New Mexico Sept. 3].”
FAU: Graham Wilbert and David Kooi continue their competition to become the starting quarterback, but it appears there may not be a decision until the fall. In the last scrimmage before the spring game, Kooi went 5-of-12 for 64 yards and a touchdown. Wilbert went 12-of-18 for 108 yards and a touchdown.
Idaho: Injuries have taken a big toll this spring, especially on the offensive line, where only two starters participated in the team's last scrimmage. But coach Robb Akey has been pleased with the development of the depth on his defensive line. Michael Cosgrove and Benson Mayowa have been spring standouts, combining for four sacks in the team's last scrimmage.
Marshall: A.J. Graham and Eddie Sullivan have not separated themselves in the race to become the Thundering Herd's starting quarterback. They have one last opportunity to impress in the spring game, though this race is expected to continue into the fall. The Herd has to improve their running game, too, and Essray Taliaferro has impressed this spring.
Navy: Twenty players are being held out of the scrimmage this afternoon for various injuries, including Alexander Teich, Jabaree Tuani, G.G. Greene and Aaron Santiago. Those players are veterans, and do not need to prove themselves. Coach Ken Niumatalolo needs to see his younger defensive players in the game with so many starting jobs up for grabs in the linebacking corps and secondary. Only three starters return on defense.
Northern Illinois: A great running back competition has developed during between Jamal Womble, Jasmin Hopkins and Akeem Daniels.
You can read more about it in a blog post I did earlier this morning.
Utah State: Alex Hart, Jeremy Higgins and Adam Kennedy are competing for the starting quarterback job to replace Diondre Borel. Coach Gary Andersen does not want the offense to fall on their shoulders as much as it did on Borel. They should get some help from a deep running back group that features the return of Robert Turbin (knee) and Michael Smith (turf toe), along with Kerwynn Williams. Turbin has been limited during the spring but expects to be full go for fall practice. The last day of practice is actually April 29, but the spring game is Saturday.