Monday, April 25, 2011
Non-AQ spring games rewind
By Andrea Adelson
Here is a quick look at the non-AQ spring games from this past weekend.
Ball State: Coach Pete Lembo said Keith Wenning has the edge in the race to become the starting quarterback over Kelly Page. Lembo cited Wenning's mobility and ability to protect the ball as two areas where he has done better. One side note: Michigan coach Brady Hoke attended the game to watch his nephew, Kyle, who is on the team. Hoke coached Ball State for two seasons before leaving for San Diego State.
Colorado State: M.J. McPeek appears to have won the backup quarterback spot behind Pete Thomas. Many key contributors were held out or limited during the spring game. That includes cornerback Momo Thomas, who is making his return from a shoulder injury that cost him all of 2010. Thomas returned punts only. Pete Thomas only played a handful of series. One player who stood out to coach Steve Fairchild was former walk-on running back Derek Good, who had 10 carries for 75 yards.
Idaho: The offense behind Brian Reader looked sharp, and several players on defense made some big plays in what coach Robb Akey said was the best practice of the spring. Tre'Shawn Robinson was one of six players with four tackles. Defensive end Benson Mayowa continued his impressive spring, leading the team with five tackles. The one downside -- the team was still assessing a knee injury to linebacker Robert Siavii.
FAU: The Owls are switching to a 3-4 defense, and coach Howard Schenllenberger was pleased with the overall way the unit performed this spring. They are going to have to be better after ranking as one of the worst in the nation last season. Cory Henry and Randell Johnson impressed on the outside. As for the quarterback competition, it will continue into the fall between David Kooi and Graham Wilbert. Wilbert injured his finger during the spring game, leaving the majority of the snaps to Kooi.
Marshall: There was no separation between quarterbacks A.J. Graham and Eddie Sullivan during the spring game, meaning their competition to win the starting quarterback job will stretch into the fall. Coach Doc Holliday also mentioned two incoming freshman who will be thrown into the mix.
Navy: Trey Miller won the Vice Admiral William P. Mack Award at halftime of the spring game. The award is given annually to the most improved player during the spring, as voted on by the coaches. Miller is the second quarterback to win the award since its inception 36 years ago. Miller is currently listed as the backup behind Kriss Proctor.
"Trey had a great spring, he impressed the coaching staff with his grasp of the offense and he’s a kid that just knows how to plays. He has the ability to make something out of nothing,” coach Ken Niumatalolo said.
Northern Illinois: Senior quarterback Chandler Harnish completed 18 of 25 passes for 180 yards and two touchdowns, and the Huskies’ No. 1 defense kept the second-team offense out of the end zone. Jasmin Hopkins had 10 carries for 46 yards and a touchdown, while Akeem Daniels led all rushers with 11 carries for 64 yards and a touchdown. First-year coach Dave Doeren was pleased with his offense, but still has decisions to make at running back.
"We didn’t want to reinvent what they had going here. They had a good system and a good team," Doeren said. "Chandler did a nice job of being a consistent guy who throws the ball well, manages the game and handles the team. He doesn’t have to do too much."
Utah State: Adam Kennedy and Alex Hart will continue their quarterback competition into the fall, but coach Gary Andersen is not going to let it drag on for very long. "We will let it go for a week or week and a half at the most before we make a decision," he said. "It is not going to carry on into the Auburn game where we haven’t named a starter. We will continue to let them battle it out throughout the summer. That should help them. We will see what kind of leadership they have and we will see whom the team rallies around. I think the team will rally around both of these young men, and the battle will go on.”