NCAA Football

Orange and White Game 2014: Live Game Grades, Analysis for Tennessee Football

The Tennessee Volunteers closed spring practice with the annual Orange and White Game on Saturday, and fans were able to get their first look at a slew of newcomers who will contribute this fall.

From the four-man quarterback race to the introduction of 14 mid-term enrollees, everybody was on display Saturday—and many got a chance to prove themselves in team and individual drills, all of which contributed to a modified scoring system.

Let's take a look at the first-half grades for head coach Butch Jones' Vols.

First-half analysis for the Tennessee Volunteers

Pass Offense: Tennessee's talented receivers were clearly the most impressive group on the field, even though they feasted mostly on the Vols reserve defenders. UT had 10 pass plays over 10 yards in the first half, and five of those went for more than 20 yards. Freshman Josh Malone shined with two touchdowns, and Marquez North scorched Cameron Sutton for a 50-yard score in the only touchdown drive against the first-team defense. Joshua Dobbs and Justin Worley were the two best quarterbacks throughout the first half.

Run Offense: Though the Vols had 151 rushing yards and a 4.7-yard average, the stats were boosted by Dobbs' 59-yard touchdown run following a poor snap. Senior Marlin Lane finally got going against the first-teamers on the touchdown drive, but freshman Jalen Hurd led the way with 48 yards on nine carries.

Pass Defense: The best news for the members of the Vols secondary is they don't have to go against the Vols receivers once the season starts. After the starting cornerback duo of Sutton and Emmanuel Moseley, there is a serious talent drop-off, and even Sutton struggled lining up on North. Having Curt Maggitt and Corey Vereen rushing off the edge will help the Vols, but the quarterback pressure still wasn't where it needs to be.

Run Defense: The only thing missing from Dobbs' touchdown run for the defense was circus music. It was a lesson of what not to do fundamentally, as players out of rush lanes led to the 59-yard score. Other than that, the rush defense was solid. After struggling much of the spring, UT's starting defensive line got the best of the rebuilt O-line much of the half.

Special Teams: There's still too much inconsistency in the punting game, as Matt Darr got off to a poor start with a 36-yard punt but followed it up with a 53-yard boomer. George Bullock started the scoring with a 41-yard field goal that had plenty of room to spare, so the kickers looked better than anticipated.

Coaching: Everybody wanted to see Hurd run more against the first-team defense in the first half, and the situational scoring system made the game impossible to follow from a team standpoint, but Jones put his players in every situation imaginable, which is exactly what you're looking for in a glorified scrimmage.

Final analysis for the Tennessee Volunteers

Pass Offense: Worley separated himself from the pack with the best day in team action against the first-team defense. After leading two first-half scoring marches, the rising senior carried a 70-yard touchdown drive to open the second half. Dobbs led four touchdown drives in the game, but all were against the reserves. It was nice to see Riley Ferguson rebound with a 19-yard touchdown pass to Cody Blanc to cap a long drive against the starting D. The only real mistake of the day was Malik Foreman's late interception of Ferguson.

Run Offense: There simply weren't any "wow" runs from the Vols running backs. Though Dobbs and Worley had long scrambles, it would have been nice to see Lane or Hurd break free for a big gain. The offensive line continued to struggle run blocking, even though UT wasn't bad in short-yardage situations. Hurd had a better day than Lane.

Pass Defense: The Vols clearly sputtered on the back end of the defense without safety and leader Brian Randolph, who has missed the entire spring. The corners continued to be beaten routinely by Malone and North in the second half, and UT desperately needs the incoming freshmen to be ready to provide quality depth. There isn't any currently.

Run Defense: After the coaching staff rode the defensive line throughout the spring, they really showed up at times Saturday. Even with A.J. Johnson playing limited snaps, the Vols starting linebackers were sharp as well. Jalen Reeves-Maybin was stuffing runs all over the field, and Kenny Bynum was solid backing up A.J.

Special Teams: Bullock didn't have anymore opportunities to kick field goals, and Darr shook off the first poor punt to hit a couple more solid ones in the second half. There will be the occasional clunker from the rising senior, but if he punts the way he did on Saturday, the Vols may not have as many issues replacing Michael Palardy as they'd originally thought.

Coaching: Whether it was set up or not, Jones keeping Hurd and Malone in for most of the day against the reserves really helped fuel the hype surrounding them. Both had memorable first spring games, and it should be a huge momentum boost for them going into the offseason. Jones also did a cool thing by bringing out moving screens set at certain distances downfield for a live skills challenge for his quarterbacks that sent a buzz throughout Neyland Stadium.

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Nebraska Spring Game 2014: Live Game Grades and Analysis

On a beautiful afternoon in Lincoln, Neb., the Cornhuskers hosted the annual spring game. In front of an official 61,772 fans, the red team and white team showed off what they've been working on for the past few weeks.

A major difference during this year's scrimmage would be the breakdown of teams, which also affects the scoring system. The starting offense would be the red team, while the starting defense would be the white team. The scoring system would be as follows:

 

Offense (Red)

Touchdown: 6 points

Field Goal: 3 points

Extra Point: 1 point

2-Point Conversion: 2 points

Plays of 20 Yards or More: 1 point

3 Consecutive First Downs within a Drive: 1 point

 

Defense (White)

Interception/Fumble Recovery: 6 points

Defensive Touchdown: 12 points (6 for TD, 6 for takeaway)

Sack: 2 points

Three and Out: 1 point

Missed PAT by Offense: 1 point

Unsuccessful 2-Point Conversion Attempt: 2 points

Missed Field Goal: 3 points

 

Red Squad 55, White Squad 46, Final

 

First-half analysis for the Nebraska Cornhuskers

Pass Offense: It was a rough start for Tommy Armstrong who threw an interception on the first play of the game. The offense seemed to recover a bit from there, until Zack Darlington was picked off a bit later. Ryker Fyfe has appeared cool and collected at the quarterback position, passing the ball nicely. He was 7-of-8 for 53 yards and a touchdown in the first half.

Rush Offense: Keep an eye out for Imani Cross in 2014. Both have had a big start to the spring game. Cross has 100 yards on six attempts for two touchdowns. He is averaging 16.7 yards per carry.

With Ameer Abdullah sitting out, Cross has shown what this group is capable of in 2014. If it's anything like the first half of the spring game, the rush offense looks tough.

Pass Defense: Two interceptions should really say it all. At this point, the Blackshirts look confident at stopping the pass. Nathan Gerry and Anthony Ridder recorded the interception.

The only note would be the major bust for the defense where Johnny Stanton connected with Kevin Gladney for a touchdown. That will be something that the defense needs to learn from.

Rush Defense: The Blackshirts did a decent job of stopping the run at the beginning of the scrimmage, but the offense seemed to find its rhythm as time went on. Zaire Anderson did record a sack on Armstrong, but beyond that, not much else has happened. Cross is proving to be a difficult force to stop for the Blackshirts.

Special Teams: It's hard to get a good read for this position with the new spring-game format. With no opportunity to see punt returns (minus one drill), it's tough to call. However, Mauro Bondi and Grant Schumacher have done their part with field goals. Both have been as consistent as Husker fans have grown to expect. The only hiccup was the missed field goal by Spencer Lindsay.

Coaching: It all started with Bo Pelini carrying a cat out during the tunnel walk.

From there, it was clear the coaches intended to have fun with the spring game. From a goal-post throwing contest to announcing players' Twitter handles before drills, the coaches have kept the game interesting. From a scrimmage, the staff deserves a lot of praise for showing off but for also not giving too much away.

 

Second-half analysis for the Nebraska Cornhuskers

Pass Offense: Armstrong redeemed the first-play interception with a 51-yard pass play to Brandon Reilly. That definitely helped boost the passing game's confidence. In the end, he was able to keep from adding any additional interceptions to his day.

However, Tyson Broekemeier did throw a pick, making the Huskers' total three on the day. It's something that will need to be addressed before fall.

Rush Offense: Terrell Newby got a chance to shine in the second half, proving it’s not just Abdullah and Cross leading the way. He ended with 51 yards on 16 attempts and one touchdown. He may have only averaged 3.2 yards per carry, but he proved that between him, Cross and Abdullah, the Huskers are going to be tough at rush offense.

Pass Defense: Three interceptions on the day isn't bad. While the group is far from perfect, it was a shining spot for the Blackshirts. Even Pelini acknowledged their improvement.

"I think our secondary came a long way in the spring," Pelini said. "Not the finished product but we’re going to have some really talented guys."

Rush Defense: The starters definitely looked the most improved after this spring, but those behind were a bit off. Cross showed the Blackshirts where they need to improve. It's not perfect, but the group is young. The positive side is that they're also learning.

Also worth noting, the linebacker group is as deep as it's been in awhile.

Special Teams: Nebraska has had great kickers over the last few years, but today seemed to be a bit of a mess on that front. Bondi ended up missing a field goal wide left, which was disappointing. Pelini acknowledged the issue in his presser, saying it may be time to look forward:

"The bottom line with the [kickers] we have right now, they are capable but none of them are consistent. So enter Drew Brown, so we’ll find out."

What started out OK, ended up being a bit disappointing. This will be something the group will have to focus on before fall.

Coaching: In his post-practice presser, Pelini admitted the coaches wanted to have a little fun. That's exactly what they did. The coaching staff didn't show off too much, but if the attitude showed anything, it's that this team is less tense than last season.

 

All quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.

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Georgia Spring Game 2014: Recap, Highlights and Analysis

The Georgia Bulldogs played their annual G-Day spring football game on Saturday, with the Red team earning a 27-24 victory over the Black squad between the hedges at Sanford Stadium.

Highlights of the action can be found on GeorgiaDogs.com:

Fans were able to get their first glimpse of the 2014 UGA football team and did not come away disappointed. A number of players made their debut for the Bulldogs, while plenty of others stepped up into new starting roles.

The complete depth charts for each team can be found here, courtesy of The Red & Black.

No player had more pressure to perform on G-Day than Hutson Mason, the Red team quarterback who guided his side to a win with a sterling performance.

The 22-year-old threw for 188 yards and a touchdown on 17-of-25 passing in one half of play, a statline that Barrett Sallee of Bleacher Report tweeted out:

One of those touchdown passes went to senior Michael Bennett, who made a spectacular grab to put points on the board:

Bulldawg Illustrated pointed out that Bennett’s one-on-one battles with sophomore cornerback Shaq Wiggins were one of the highlights of this game:

Mason, a redshirt senior, has been patiently waiting in the wings for four years and finally has his chance to take over for Aaron Murray as a full-time starter. He’s surrounded by weapons and could carry the Dawgs to a national title for the first time since 1980.

The players are working hard to accomplish that goal, and head coach Mark Richt revealed that he is getting on their cases to show improvement, as per Tim Tucker of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: “We’re pushing them hard,” he said. “And most of them are getting better.”

The future looks quite bright for Georgia beyond this coming season, as Faton Bauta showed off his skills and wound up as the top passer in the contest. The redshirt sophomore had a big day, showing the dual-threat skills that will make him extremely dangerous when he finally gets on the field.

Bauta was vying for the No. 2 job on the depth chart and might have earned it after passing for 231 yards and earning another 39 yards on the ground.

Fans turned out in droves to watch their team, a spectacular showing you can see courtesy of Marc Weiszer of the Athens Banner-Herald and fan Noel Couch:

Darren Rovell of ESPN noted that the official attendance number was 46,073, by far the highest of any spring game played this year:

Georgia football’s official Twitter informed us that it was the biggest crowd in G-Day history:

Considering the Masters were being played at nearby Augusta National, it’s an even more impressive turnout. Fortunately, the organizers of this game put a live feed of the prestigious major on the big screen at the stadium.

Sallee posted a photo of the crowd erupting for a Bubba Watson eagle:

It was a fitting end to a great game that has the Bulldogs set up for success in 2014. This team has plenty of talent and a lot of weapons, many of which were on display during G-Day.

Make sure you keep an eye on the Dawgs as they look to make a surge back to the top of the SEC this coming campaign.

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Ohio State Student Beats RB Dontre Wilson in 40-Yard Dash at Buckeye Spring Game

Ohio State Buckeyes head coach Urban Meyer was curious to find out who the fastest student on campus is that isn't on the football team, and he got quite a surprise.

After letting students run the 40-yard dash in recent weeks, the Buckeyes finally found Malcolm Branson. Branson got a chance to race several players, and he didn't disappoint, beating running back Dontre Wilson and tying defensive back Doran Grant.

[Vine, h/t College Spun]

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Nebraska Head Coach Bo Pelini Brings Cat to Huskers Spring Game

With the Nebraska Cornhuskers getting ready to go out onto the field, head coach Bo Pelini decided to have his cat help lead the charge.

Along with leading the team out onto the field, Pelini raised his cat in the air during the spring game in a "Circle of Life" moment. 

The team's Twitter account posted a picture of the cat as well.

The cat was in honor of the Fake Bo Pelini Twitter account that features a fake picture of Pelini with a cat.

[Twitter, BTN.com]



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Brandon Winey Arrested in Connection with Shooting of LSU LB Tahj Jones

Former LSU and NFL offensive tackle Brandon Winey was arrested and charged with attempted second-degree murder Saturday in connection with the shooting of former Tigers linebacker Tahj Jones, Sulphur County Police have confirmed.

Chief Lewis Coats released a statement to Renita D. Young of The Times-Picayune Saturday afternoon verifying Winey is currently being held on charges, and bail has been set at $1 million.

According to the police report, Winey shot Jones late Friday evening following an altercation at a local apartment. Witnesses say Jones arrived at the apartment uninvited to visit a friend, which later led to he and Winey getting into a fight. It's unclear why the situation escalated, but Winey allegedly shot Jones during the altercation and fled the scene.

"Winey produced a handgun and shot Jones in the abdomen," police said.

Winey was later arrested at his home.

Jones, who finished his last year of eligibility in Baton Rouge last season, is currently in serious condition at Rapides Regional Medical Center in Alexandria, La. He underwent emergency surgery to remove the bullet and is now resting. Neither the severity of Jones' injuries nor his long-term outlook are known at this time.

"We are aware of (the shooting) and obviously we're praying hard for him and hoping he pulls through," LSU football spokesman Michael Bonnette told Young.

Winey's charge of second-degree attempted murder is a felony that comes with a maximum 25-year sentence in a federal penitentiary. The 36-year-old was a standout offensive tackle for the Tigers in the early 2000s and drafted in the sixth round by the Miami Dolphins in 2001. He played a total of 24 games in the NFL (three starts) over two seasons, most recently with the New York Giants in 2004.

His relationship with Jones is unknown at this time.

Jones, 24, spent four years at LSU playing mostly reserve linebacker and on special teams. He was expected to start at one of the outside linebacker spots as a senior, but managed to start only three games due to myriad issues. He recently participated in LSU's pro day, though it's unlikely he would have been drafted in May regardless of the incident.

For his career, Jones tallied 47 total tackles, two sacks and one interception. His best season came as a sophomore, when he compiled 27 total tackles, a sack and his lone interception, standing out as a menace on special teams.

Police have indicated their investigation is still ongoing. Winey has not released a statement, nor is it clear whether he has hired representation. He will be held pending bail.


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Penn State 2014 Spring Game: Live Game Grades, Analysis for the Nittany Lions

The Penn State Nittany Lions closed out their spring camp on Saturday with the annual Blue-White scrimmage, and fans came out in droves.

The "game" placed the Blue squad, made up primarily of first- and second-string players against the White squad, which included everyone else.

Blue won in a blowout, but the score wasn't relevant.

How did James Franklin's crew do in their public debut?

 

First-half analysis for the Nittany Lions

Pass Offense: Christian Hackenberg looked good on some intermediate routes but just missed Geno Lewis when he got behind the defense. D.J. Crook was average with a decent supporting staff. Looks like the running back screen might be a part of the offense again. Michael O'Connor might have the backup quarterback spot locked up.

Run Offense: Cole Chiappialle and Dom Salomone have looked like the best two running backs so far. Ton of wildcat formations today. 

Pass Defense: DaQuan Davis just missed a pick-six on a screen pass attempt to DaeSean Hamilton. Blue team (first string) has been getting steady pressure. C.J. Olaniyan (2.5) and Anthony Zettel have recorded sacks. Ryan Keiser had a big pick late off of Crook.

Run Defense: Staunch on both sides. Zettel is as disruptive as advertised. Could have an all-conference type season.

Special Teams: Sam Ficken made a short field goal. All kicks and punts are being played with no opposition. Chris Gulla is getting good hang time on his punts.

Coaching: Bill Belton lined up in the Wildcat on the second play of the game. Doubt we'll see that much in the UCF game, but it gives George O'Leary and company something to think about. Franklin led a "We Are!" chant between first and second quarters, and the crowd went nuts.

 

Final game analysis for the Nittany Lions

Pass Offense: The biggest pass play of the day was a 56-yard touchdown pass from wide receiver Geno Lewis to wide receiver Matt Zanellato. That pretty much sums up the passing game.

Run Offense: Cole Chiappialle had a strong showing, rushing for two touchdowns. Lynch, Belton and Zach Zwinak totaled three carries.

Pass Defense: Ryan Keiser, Trevor Williams and Matthew Baney each had interceptions, and none of the quarterbacks got into a rhythm. Give credit to the D.

Run Defense: Hard to judge the run defense as a whole when the top two ball-carriers were Chiappialle and Jack Haffner. They did their job, though.

Special Teams: Ficken made a field goal but missed an extra point. No pressure was put on the kickers by the defense.

Coaching: Not much to judge them on today. Fans showed up in droves today, and everybody will probably be healthy tomorrow. That's all you can ask for.

 

Game will be aired at 6 p.m. on BTN.

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Notre Dame Spring Game 2014: Recap, Highlights and Analysis

With several longtime Notre Dame contributors moving on to the NFL or graduating, a new era of Fighting Irish football began on Saturday in the form of the Blue-Gold spring game.

Irish mainstays such as quarterback Tommy Rees and defensive linemen Louis Nix and Stephon Tuitt won't be leading the way for Notre Dame this fall, but the spring game has to have Irish fans excited about the 2014 season.

The game pitted the offense (in blue) against the defense (in white). Both sides of the ball could score points even without reaching the end zone, and it was ultimately a tale of two halves.

As seen in this tweet courtesy of Notre Dame Football, the Blue-Gold game featured a complicated scoring system that essentially made every play count for something:

In the end, it was the Blue team that prevailed over the Gold team by 11 points, according to Daniel Malone of MassLive.com:

The offense had a natural advantage since red jerseys prevented the quarterbacks from being hit. They made the most of that fact by moving the ball with great efficiency during the first half.

Also, when asked about the defensive gameplan at halftime, Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly admitted that the team was purposely keeping things fairly vanilla, according to Andrew Owens of Blue & Gold Illustrated:

There were plenty of intriguing position battles worth watching throughout the day, but there is no question that most observers were focused on the quarterback battle between Everett Golson and Malik Zaire.

Golson entered the game as the odds-on favorite to win the starting job after leading Notre Dame to the National Championship Game two seasons ago, but Zaire looked superior early on, particularly in the opening quarter, per ESPN's Joe Schad:

The red-shirt freshman made headlines in March when asked about his chances of beating out Golson. According to the Associated Press, Zaire said that he expected to be the one under center in the season opener against Rice.

"Without a doubt. There will only be one guy starting on Aug. 30 against Rice at Notre Dame Stadium, there will only be one guy out on the field, and I believe that will be me," Zaire said.

Zaire looked good in rolling out of the pocket and completing throws on the run, but he also excelled at taking shots down the field. He connected on a deep ball to wide receiver Chris Brown that very nearly led to a touchdown:

Golson was quite solid in his own right as he picked up a rushing score, but Zaire's numbers really stood out after one half of play, per Irish Illustrated:

Zaire, Golson and the rest of the offense combined to give the Blue team a huge lead heading in to the locker room:

As important as the on-field action was, perhaps the biggest revelation related to the field itself. Notre Dame's natural grass field has infamously created some major problems in recent years, so athletic director Jack Swarbrick announced the school's intention to install field turf, according to NBCSN's Alex Flanagan:

Although Swarbrick's preference was to keep the traditional grass, he felt like it was time for a change: 

After the offense looked so smooth in the first half, the defense clearly made some adjustments and performed much better for the remainder of the game. Neither Zaire nor Golson were able to match the production that they put up to start the game, so the quarterback battle remains unsettled.

The defense's sudden surge allowed it to come back in a major way and make a game of it. Even with a running clock in the second half, the defense racked up plenty of points and pulled to within 10 points of the offense in the fourth quarter:

Even though the quarterback play dropped off considerably, Notre Dame's offense was able to stem the tide thanks largely to running back Greg Bryant. The red-shirt freshman looked spectacular in the second half, and he seemingly made something happen with every touch, per Justin Kenny of the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel:

His most impressive play came in the middle of the fourth quarter when he ripped off a 51-yard run to end a stagnant period for the offense:

Keith Arnold of NBCSports.com compared the run to something that one of football's all-time great running backs would have pulled off in the past:

Notre Dame has an interesting stable of running backs that should give Kelly plenty of options in 2014, but there is little doubt that Bryant has put himself in position to potentially be the bell cow of the group.

Bryant's late heroics allowed the offense to preserve its lead and come through with a victory, but that was far from the most important part of the game. Kelly was able to learn a lot more about his offense, particularly in the first half, and he also had to be happy with the defensive showing in the second half.

There is clearly a lot of work left to be done on both sides of the ball before September; however, Notre Dame looks like an extremely talented—albeit inexperienced—team.

The Irish also seemingly escaped the game without any injuries of note, and that is always the goal when it comes to glorified scrimmages.

Expectations may not be as high for the Irish this season as they have been in recent years, but the pieces are in place to surprise prognosticators.

The Blue-Gold spring game was a great step for Notre Dame football as it prepares to write the next chapter in its storied history.

 

Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter

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Georgia Football Spring Game 2014: Live Game Grades and Analysis

Georgia held its annual G-Day spring game on Saturday.

Here are complete game grades and analysis for the intrasquad scrimmage, where the Red Team (first-team offense) defeated the Black Team (first-team defense) 27-24 at the half.

First-Half Analysis from G-Day

Pass Offense: Offensively, starting quarterback Hutson Mason and his backups (Faton Bauta and Brice Ramsey) found success through the air.  An offensive line unit that is far from cemented performed adequately, and a host of Georgia receivers made plays down the field.  Georgia receivers struggled to shake loose on short passes in the flats, but otherwise, the first half was tremendously successful for the passing attack. 

Run Offense: Georgia's first-team offense did not rely too heavily on the ground attack, but Todd Gurley and Brendan Douglas both found room to run.  Interestingly enough, Mason, who is not known as a dual threat, had several long runs on the read-option.  The second-team rushing attack led by redshirt freshman A.J. Turman was equally underutilized, but Turman ran hard and showed promise.

Pass Defense: In some ways, this defensive unit is graded on a curve to account for the prolific nature of Georgia's offense.  In that regard, although Jeremy Pruitt's defense gave up yards in bunches through the air, there were plenty of positives in the first half.  Notably, cornerback Shaq Wiggins made a number of plays, including a pass breakup in the end zone.  The defense also tackled well in space, which was rarely the case in 2013, and the front four put decent pressure on passers.

Run Defense: Pruitt's defense struggled more mightily against the run.  Long runs on read-option plays plagued both the first- and second-team defensive units, and gaping holes were repeatedly opened by an unproven offensive line unit.

Special Teams: Georgia is not kicking off or punting live during the scrimmage, but one field goal (from 33 yards out) was good and a long one as time expired (53 yards) was just off.  All three extra points were successful.  

Coaching: Offensively, coordinator Mike Bobo has not been forced out of his comfort zone, and Pruitt's defense is clearly still a work in progress.  With that in mind, it's hard to discount Bobo's play-calling or drop a hammer on Pruitt.  That being said, both teams were penalized more often than is desirable.  That needs to be cleaned up.

 

Final Analysis from G-Day

Pass Offense: Undoubtedly, Mason was a high point of the day as he demonstrated consistency, accuracy and control while under center.  That being said, the backups encountered more adversity in the second half as the defensive secondary made a number of plays and forced several turnovers.

Run Offense: The Georgia ground attack is what fans expected it to be, and that's not a bad thing.  Gurley, Douglas and Turman all ran the ball well.  The offensive line created holes and the talented Bulldog backs capitalized.

Pass Defense: If nothing else this Georgia secondary seems more opportunistic than last year's squad.  The defensive backs are still plagued by youth, but when opportunities arose, the safeties and cornerbacks made plays in the second half.  Coverage remained streaky (at best), but open field tackling also seems to have improved.

Run Defense: Georgia's defense gave up more yardage on the ground than some would have expected, but some of that can likely be blamed on the new scheme.  Several times too many defenders dropped into coverage or failed to maintain lane integrity.  Because of these miscues, far too many holes for runners were opened.

Special Teams: If a missed field goal from 53 yards out is the only black eye for Georgia's special teams, then it's been a pretty nice afternoon.

Coaching: Bobo did a nice job of working multiple quarterbacks (even true freshman Jacob Park) into various packages and doling out plenty of experience.  On the other side of the ball, Pruitt seems to have established a solid rotation among the front seven and he's truly committed to giving everyone opportunities in the secondary.

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Notre Dame Spring Game 2014: Live Game Grades and Analysis

On a beautiful South Bend afternoon, Brian Kelly's offense burst out of the gate and ran away from Brian VanGorder's defense, with the 85th annual Blue-Gold game ending in a 63-58 win for the offense. 

With our first extended look at new coordinators Mike Denbrock and Brian VanGorder, let's go through our final game grades and analysis as we critique a new depth chart on both sides of the ball.  

First, here's the unique scoring system Brian Kelly established for each team.

OFFENSE

Field goal: 3 points
Touchdown: 6 points
Extra Point: 1 point
2-point Conversion: 2 points
Big Chunk Pass (20+ yards): 2 points
Big Chunk Run (15+): 2 points
Two consecutive first downs: 2 points

DEFENSE

Defensive Stop Before 50-yard line: 4 points
Defensive Stop After the 50-yard line: 2 points
Turnover Forced Before 50-yard line: 7 points
Turnover Forced After 50-yard line: 3 points
Forces a Field Goal (Make or Miss): 1 point
Three-and-out: 2 points

Final analysis for the Fighting Irish

Pass Offense: If there's a big surprise it's been the productivity of Malik Zaire. Looking more composed and poised than veteran Everett Golson, Zaire completed 15 of 19 throws for 259 yards and 2 touchdowns in the first half. 

He looked good checking the football down. He made a very nice long throw to Will Fuller that set up a touchdown. He showed touch and then a great fastball when hitting Amir Carlisle on a short slant for a red zone touchdown. 

In the second half Zaire slowed down, but still finished the afternoon 18 of 25 for 292 yards and two touchdowns, making it known that Zaire wasn't living in a parallel universe when he thought himself capable of winning a starting job. 

In his return to the football field after a season away, Golson was far from bad, but did miss a few early throws and found himself abandoning his reads and fleeing the pocket. Golson finished the afternoon 13 of 24 for 154 yards, an average day at the office for a quarterback playing behind mostly backups on the offensive line. 

If there was a positive that matched the quarterback's production it's the multitude of receiving options that the quarterbacks had. Rising junior Chris Brown caught five balls for 105 yards. Corey Robinson made another highlight reel catch on a deep throw. CJ Prosise and Amir Carlisle looked at home in the slot, with Prosise supplying one of the game's "wow" moments when he showed off his sprinter speed and ran away from the Irish secondary for a 39-yard touchdown. 

An uninspired second half—not to mention a running clock—kept the yardage totals mostly flat after the first half. But a combined 31 for 49 for 446 yards between Golson and Zaire, with zero turnovers, is a great day at the office. 

Rush Offense: After splitting series in the first half, Greg Bryant exploded after halftime, breaking loose on a 51-yard run and hitting his stride to power the ground game. Bryant's run helped him pace the rushing attack, with 12 carries for 101 yards leading the way. 

Folston looked very smooth as well, running for 38 yards on seven carries, but exploded in the passing game with 54 yards on five first half catches, including a few very well executed screen passes. 

Cam McDaniel was his reliable self, rushing nine times for 33 yards and a touchdown while catching two passes, including a clutch third down reception on a back-shoulder throw. But Saturday's performance highlighted the youth on the roster, with Bryant and Folston looking like both the present and the future of the Irish's ground game.  

Pass Defense: It's hard to be too kind to a defense that gave up 388 yards in one half of football, but there were some nice moments. Cole Luke had a nice breakup on a deep pass to Torii Hunter Jr. Elijah Shumate made a solid hit on Amir Carlisle, causing an incompletion. 

Walk-on cornerback Connor Cavalaris was beaten by Corey Robinson on a long ball that didn't seem fair. Josh Atkinson was victimized a few times as well, but also broke up two passes.

If there's a plus, it doesn't appear that the Irish pass rush is lacking. Romeo Okwara paced the pass rush with three sacks (though with quarterbacks untouchable, it was a subjective measurement). Andrew Trumbetti, Isaac Rochell, Jacob Matuska and Chase Hounshell were credited with sacks as well.

One of the stories of spring was John Turner, and the safety-turned-linebacker added six tackles as an athletic coverman. Matthias Farley looked good after a shaky start in the slot, tallying five tackles. James Onwualu had three tackles, his first game playing defense for Notre Dame. 

Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly chuckled during the broadcast when Alex Flanagan asked him if Brian VanGorder's defense was showing his offense a lot on Saturday. So while the stats don't look too pretty, there's reason for optimism.  

Rush Defense: The rush defense stood strong outside of Bryant's long run. And while we didn't see much of Sheldon Day or Jarron Jones, senior Kendall Moore had a strong game in run support.

Perhaps the defensive highlight of the day was a beautiful tackle by Jaylon Smith. With Tarean Folston having the corner, Smith used his elite speed to close ground on Folston and wrap him up for a short gain. 

Tallying in sack yardage, the defense held the offense to a meager 2.7 yards per carry on 47 touches. Against the trio of Bryant, Folston and McDaniel, the defense gave up 4.5 yards a carry. A solid but not spectacular performance by the rush defense. 

Special Teams: The good: Kyle Brindza made a 50-yard field goal. The bad: Everything else. Brindza clanked a 33-yarder off the left upright and then missed badly when given a chance at a 58-yarder as the half ended. His punts looked no better, with both landing short without a return. 

Coaching: Outside of miscalculating what would make for a competitive game (in the first half), there's nothing to complain about from a coaching perspective. You've got to like the fact that the Irish screen game, terrible last year, looked really good. 

After talking about spreading the ball around to multiple weapons, the Irish have done exactly that. There were 14 different players with catches. Ten players caught two balls or more.

Down by 50 at half, the defense used the running clock and a better pass rush to close the gap to a respectable 63-58. And while it's too soon to tell about Nicky Baratti's shoulder injury, it looks like the Irish might have gotten out of the Blue-Gold game without any major injuries, either.  

 

 

 

 

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Miami Hurricanes Football Players Go Nuts over New Uniforms

The Miami Hurricanes football players anxiously awaited the unveiling of their new jerseys for the 2014 season, and it looked like it was worth the wait.

Watch the video above as the entire team gets hyped up after the big reveal. Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press got a glimpse of the jerseys and seemed thoroughly impressed.

Once a video that actually shows the jerseys is posted, we'll make sure to add.

[Youtube, h/t College Spun]

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Florida State Spring Game 2014: Live Score, Top Performers and Analysis

Garnet 10, Gold 7—Late 2nd Quarter

The Florida State Seminoles have returned to Doak Campbell Stadium for the annual Garnet and Gold spring game.

ESPN is carry the game and Bleacher Report is providing live scoring updates and analysis throughout the spring game. As always, please leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

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South Carolina Spring Game 2014: Live Game Grades and Analysis

Keep it locked here for updates as Steve Spurrier and the Gamecocks give fans a preview of the 2014 South Carolina Gamecocks. 

Pass Offense: As a whole, the passing game looked sharp, particularly when starting quarterback Dylan Thompson was  in the game. Thompson completed eight passes in 11 attempts for 129 yards and a touchdown. Connor Mitch also was sharp, completing five passes in six attempts for 99 yards. The quarterbacks did a good job of spreading the ball around. Seven different receivers caught one pass each in the first half.

Rush Offense: The running game also looked sharp.Redshirt freshman David Williams carried four times for 20 yards and a touchdown in the first half. Seldom-used Devin Potter has 22 yards on four carries. Collectively, the running game produced 102 yards on 26 carries.

Pass Defense: South Carolina's secondary, particularly at cornerback, looked weak. Of course the Gamecocks are thin at corner, so it was somewhat to be expected. Also, according to the rules of the spring game, blitzing was not allowed, which certainly didn't help the secondary.

Rush Defense: The Gamecocks rush defense fared a little bit better. JUCO transfer Abu Lamin looked good at defensive tackle.Otherwise, the rush defense did a good job of not allowing any long runs fro scrimmage. 

Special teams: The return game was more or less taken out of the equation. Place kicker Elliott Fry made one field goal from 22 yards and missed one from 48 yards. Tyler Hull punted once for 40 yards.

Final analysis

Pass Offense: Thompson sat out the second half, turning things over to Mitch, Perry Orth and Brendan Nosovitch. Mitch looked the best of those three and will likely head into the offseason penciled in as the backup to Thompson.

Rush Offense: With starter Mike Davis limited, redshirt freshman David Williams looked the best of the remaining tailbacks. However, Shon Carson must have had a better body of work over the course of the spring. Carson was honored as most improve tailback of spring practice.

Pass Defense: South Carolina's weakest area by far, although Jamari Smith, converted from tailback to cornerback in the spring, did have an interception. South Carolina will have to wait for more help at corner when the incoming recruiting class arrives.

Special teams: The Gamecocks did not punt or try a field goal in the second half. Look for punter Tyler Hull to face a challenge for his starting job in the fall.

 

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Ohio State Spring Game 2014: Live Game Grades and Analysis

The Gray team, led by redshirt freshman quarterback J.T. Barrett, defeated the Scarlet team 17-7 in Ohio State's spring game Saturday afternoon. Check out the final grades and analysis below.

Gray 17, Scarlet 7, Final

 

 

Final analysis for the Ohio State Buckeyes

Pass Offense: Both teams produced relatively pedestrian numbers. Cardale Jones had a very rough day, completing just 13-of-29 passes for 106 yards. J.T. Barrett made a number of good throws, going 15-of-33 for 151 yards, but neither quarterback completed a pass longer than 30 yards or threw a touchdown.

Run Offense: With Carlos Hyde and four senior starters along the offensive line gone, Ohio State wants to get the ball to the perimeter more this season. With few opportunities, though, the Buckeyes' ball-carriers showed good speed and vision.

Pass Defense: Ohio State's defense gave up 268 passing yards per game last season, which ranked No. 110 nationally, but the secondary looked very sharp running new co-defensive coordinator Chris Ash's aggressive scheme.

Run Defense: The Buckeyes ranked ninth nationally in rush defense last year, and that domination spilled over to the spring game. Ohio State was active up front as neither side gained much traction on the ground.

Special Teams: Freshman Sean Nuernberger and Junior Kyle Clinton are battling for the starting kicker spot. Meyer gave both a number of opportunities, but Nuernberger showed more accuracy and leg strength. Punter Cameron Johnston was sensational, much like he was last season.

Coaching: The offensive coaches were dealing with a depleted roster and a limited playbook, so the uninspiring stats are somewhat understandable. The defensive staff has to be thrilled with what they saw as their unit played very well. 

First half analysis for the Ohio State Buckeyes

Pass Offense: The Buckeyes went with a pass-heavy offense by design. Cardale Jones struggled to find a groove, completing just six-of-15 passes of seven yards, but J.T. Barrett and the Gray team moved the ball pretty well through the air. Barrett connected on 15-of-27 passes for 112 yards.

Run Offense: With the play-calling slanted toward the passing game, there weren't a lot of opportunities in the running game. The Gray team, led by Barrett and running back Bri'onte Dunn, got things going in the second quarter.

Pass Defense: Ohio State's defensive front was very active in the first half, especially on the Scarlet Team, causing havoc when the quarterbacks dropped back. Neither team allowed a passing touchdown.

Run Defense: The Buckeyes weren't challenged very much on the ground, but even with the limited opportunities, Ohio State's defense played well against the run.

Special Teams: With no kickoffs or returns, Ohio State primarily worked on punting and field goals. Cameron Johnston had a number of excellent punts, including a 41-yard boot that pinned the Gray team at the 1-yard line. 

Coaching: The playbooks on both sides of the ball were very limited—the offense rarely ran and the defense didn't blitz—but the Scarlet team didn't execute their sets as well as the Gray team.

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Ohio State Spring Game 2014: Live Score, Top Performers and Analysis

Welcome, Buckeye Nation, to our live coverage of the Ohio State 2014 spring game.

We'll be bringing you all the action taking place in Columbus Saturday, as Cardale Jones leads the Scarlet squad against J.T. Barrett and the gray team.

For full spring game rosters, check out OSU's official release.

We'll break them down below leading up to the game, which is set for a 1:30 p.m. EDT kickoff and will be broadcast on the Big Ten Network.

Thanks for clicking in. Comment below with your own thoughts and questions on OSU's spring and upcoming 2014-15 campaign.

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Tennessee Family Dresses in Style for Orange and White Game

If you're going to go to a sporting event, you might as well dress in style.

With the Tennessee Volunteers playing in their annual Orange and White game, one family decided to rock the team's colors, with the dad and kids wearing full suits complete with canes. 

It's safe to say that the Stubblefield family will turn some heads at the game.

[Twitter, h/t Extra Mustard]

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East Carolina Football Team Reveals New Logo on Helmets and Field

With so many teams revealing new logos this offseason, the East Carolina Pirates have unveiled their new logo for both their helmets and on the middle of their field.

You can see a few pictures of the logo below:

After a strong 10-3 season last year, the Pirates are looking to make another strong push in Conference USA.

[Twitter, h/t College Spun]

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Notre Dame Spring Game 2014: Live Score, Top Performers and Analysis

The Notre Dame spring game is finally underway!

Are you excited? 

Note: Scoring isn't traditional, as points will be scored various ways. Please make sure to follow along for score updates, news and anything else regarding the game. 

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Georgia Spring Game 2014: Live Score, Top Performers and Analysis

It's April and that means college football is back.

Well, it's back temporarily as spring football has taken over the college football world and the Georgia Bulldogs will have their annual spring game today at 1 p.m. at Sanford Stadium. The game will be televised regionally on CSS and it will also be aired on ESPN 3.

The game will give fans a chance to see quarterback Hutson Mason take over the offense full-time. Fans will also get a chance to see what the defense will look like under new coordinator Jeremy Pruitt. 

Be sure to keep this blog open for the latest scoring updates, top performers and analysis on the game.

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Ohio State Spring Game 2014: Date, Start Time, TV Info and More

The Ohio State Buckeyes will help turn the page on last season's disappointing finish, as they conclude spring practices with the annual LIFESports Spring Game. 

Essentially, a spring game is a glorified scrimmage. It provides an opportunity for the athletes to show coaches they are ready for a big role in the upcoming season. This game will factor into position battles, and it will be a chance for fans to get a look at some of the new recruits. 

Along with this, it should be an entertaining game. As ESPN's Austin Ward notes, the teams are typically evenly split to help provide a good product and put players in important situations. 

Here are the vitals to catching the action, and then I'll highlight some of the more interesting facets to keep an eye on. 

 

When: Saturday, April 12 at 1:30 p.m. ET 

Where: Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati 

TV: Big Ten Network

Rosters: Ohio State tweeted the rosters for the teams: 

 

What to Watch

The Ash Impact

New co-defensive coordinator Chris Ash joined the Buckeyes after handling the defensive coordinator position for Arkansas last year. He will be in charge of the secondary, and the secondary needed a new direction. 

As the Buckeyes dropped two games to finish the season last year, they allowed Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd and Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook to combine to throw for 682 yards, eight touchdowns and three interceptions. 

Don't look for Ash to recite those putrid stats, however. 

“I’m not concerned about what’s happened here in the past,” said Ash in a quote captured by Tim May in The Columbus Dispatch. “I’m more concerned about the direction we’re going to go and how we get the players aligned to what our vision is going to be, and that we get better.”

Ash has only had a handful of practices to make his mark, but that won't stop anyone from looking for improvement in coverage. 

 

Battle for Backup QB

Incumbent starting quarterback Braxton Miller had shoulder surgery at the end of last season and won't be suiting up. In the case of this game, his absence works out well. Ohio State has to figure out who will be his backup. 

Redshirt freshman J.T. Barrett and redshirt sophomore Cardale Jones are battling for the honor. As Ari Wasserman of the Northeast Ohio Media Group explains it, Jones has a slight edge in the battle, but the scales could easily tip. 

Clevelanddotcomosu caught the two signal-callers in this Instagram: 

Jones has all the physical tools. He is 6'5" and 230 pounds and has plenty of arm strength. Meanwhile, Barrett doesn't match up in tools, but Wasserman noted he has impressed coaches with his leadership. Wasserman passed along Barrett's thoughts on leadership:

My biggest thing is to just lead by example. You can't lead anybody if you're not doing right. You have to have that personal integrity, and I tell that to my guys. I wouldn't actually be able to do it if I didn't do it, so that's biggest thing. Then also developing that trust over time so they can believe in you and believe in what you say. 

The job of Miller's backup is a valuable position for the Buckeyes. Hopefully, Miller will be able to make it through the season, but his style of play puts him in harm's way. The Buckeyes need one of these two talented youngsters to grab the backup job and run with it. 

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