NCAA Football

Auburn Football: QB Nick Marshall Ready for Monster 2014 Season

Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall jumped onto the scene in 2013 as he led the Tigers to a 12-2 season and an appearance in the BCS National Championship Game. The senior is gearing up for a big 2014 season as he hopes to lead Auburn back to the title game and this time walk away a champion.

What kind of stats will Marshall put up in 2014?

Watch as B/R's Michael Felder and Barrett Sallee break down what to expect from the dual-threat QB this upcoming season.

 

Highlights courtesy of XOS Digital.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Will Oregon Ducks Steal 5-Star Dual-Threat QB Kyler Murray out of Texas?

Dual-threat QB Kyler Murray recently took an unofficial trip to Oregon. The Ducks have had some success recruiting nationally, but it would be huge if they could land the 5-star, Allen, TX native. 

Murray is a true dual-threat, throwing for 46 touchdowns while running for 19. The 5'11" 170-pound athlete is a little undersized, but he makes up for it with incredible playmaking abilities. Can Oregon land Murray and does he have what it takes to be Marcus Mariota's replacement?

Check out Andrew Greif from The Oregonian break down the latest on Kyler Murray with Adam Lefkoe

 

Highlights courtesy XOs Digital

All rankings from 247 Sports Composite 

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Will Oregon Ducks Steal 5-Star Dual-Threat QB Kyler Murray out of Texas?

Dual-threat QB Kyler Murray recently took an unofficial trip to Oregon. The Ducks have had some success recruiting nationally, but it would be huge if they could land the 5 -star, Allen, TX native...

Read the full article on Bleacher Report...

Is Tarean Folston Unquestioned No. 1 RB for Irish?

Tarean Folston and Cam McDaniel will be the top returning running backs for the Fighting Irish in 2014. As a freshman last year, Folston improved every week. Look for him to continue building on that success this season. 

Folston has great potential in South Bend, but he may need to split time with Notre Dame's other running backs. Will Folston be the clear leader at the running back position and put up huge numbers his sophomore year? 

Check out Michael Felder and Barrett Sallee break down what to expect from Tarean Folston in 2014. 

 

Highlights courtesy XOs Digital.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Auburn Football: Top Performers from the Tigers' Spring Game

AUBURN, Ala. — The Auburn Tigers elected to go with a starters vs. reserves game last Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium, which led to one of the most lopsided A-Day Games in school history.

The Blue Team starters, as expected, had no problem moving the ball and playing defense against their White Team backups. Auburn's starters put up 657 yards of total offense and led 44-3 at halftime, when most of the first team was pulled for the rest of the afternoon.

So what can you gather from a spring game that featured a 55-point margin of victory and a running clock for the entire second half?

While broad statements on the quality of the starters are probably not the wisest takeaways from A-Day, Auburn fans should focus on the individual playmakers from the high-scoring spring game.

Here are seven of Auburn's first-team players whose stock rose with their impressive performances in the defending SEC champions' spring practice finale.

Begin Slideshow

Karlos Williams: FSU RB Will Explode, Challenge for Heisman in 2014

FSU running back Karlos Williams is preparing for a monster 2014 season. The 6'1", 219-pound senior rushed for 730 yards and 11 TDs least season, but he had to split carries with former Seminoles RBs James Wilder Jr. and Devonta Freeman. 

What will Williams' stats look like this upcoming season? Could he compete for the Heisman?

Watch as B/R's Barrett Sallee and Adam Kramer break down what to expect from the the star running back in 2014.

 

Highlights courtesy of xosdigital.com

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Virginia Tech Football: 4 Players to Watch in the Hokies' Spring Game

The Virginia Tech football team has just one week of practice left before the team’s spring game, and several players have really started to make it clear that they deserve attention in the spring’s final scrimmage.

The Hokies are still trying to replace quite a few playmakers from last year’s squad, and they’ve been fortunate that some guys have started to step up and fill those roles.

However, the quarterback position remains unsettled, making the spring game a crucial proving ground for the players vying to get consideration for the top job this fall.

Between the players that have the potential to evolve into stars on the field this fall and the two main competitors for the QB spot, there will be plenty of players to watch on April 26 when Tech takes the field.

Read on to find out exactly who deserves the attention.

 

Unless otherwise noted, all quotes come from the team’s media availability immediately after the Hokies’ third spring scrimmage.

Begin Slideshow

How Brady Hoke Can Solve Offensive Issues Before the Start of the Season

Offensive coordinator Al Borges paid the price for Michigan’s offensive inconsistency last season and was fired by Brady Hoke who replaced him with Doug Nussmeier from Alabama.

Nussmeier was hired to resurrect the Michigan running game to help the team compete in the new Big Ten East Division which now includes last year’s Big Ten champion Michigan State and runner-up Ohio State.

The offensive storylines out of spring practice revolved around the quarterback competition, the resurrected running attack and the emergence of freshman wide receiver Freddy Canteen.

But fans who attended the Michigan spring game hoping to see the newly minted offense roll up and down the field left disappointed.

On his first play from scrimmage, quarterback Devin Gardner threw an interception. The offense struggled to make first downs. Michigan running backs dove into the line of scrimmage struggling to find seams.

Things looked a lot like last season.

Here is what Brady Hoke needs to do fix the Michigan offense before next season.


Pick the Right Quarterback

Brady Hoke has been cagey on this all spring. Last week he said that Gardner would probably be his starter but that the competition was ongoing.

Devin Gardner poses an interesting problem heading into next season. His career experience and performance from last season make him the presumptive favorite to be the starter. But his confidence took a beating, and his demeanor in postgame press conferences revealed a player who was beat down by season’s end. He played admirably with an injured foot versus Ohio State but Michigan still fell short against its bitter rival. Gardner missed the bowl game rehabbing opening the door for Shane Morris to gain valuable experience.

It remains to be seen which quarterback style fits Nussmeier’s offense best. Morris closed the gap when Gardner was out at the tail of last season and both quarterbacks have worked equally with Nussmeier this spring. Borges paid the price for gradually implementing his offense—will Nussmeier choose Gardner who will be learning his third offensive scheme in his last season, or invest his time in a quarterback with multiple seasons of eligibility left?

Hoke and Nussmeier need to make a clear decision. Gardner is feeling the pressure—he acknowledged as much when he pushed himself to be ready and surprised his teammates and coaches by fully participating at the team’s first practice.

If Gardner can’t make the throws necessary in this new offense and his running ability isn’t valuable, then he needs to be replaced. It’s a decision that could threaten the team’s chemistry, but it may be time to move on with a new quarterback.

 

Solidify the Offensive Line

The offensive line was a disaster last season. A position group that needed a consistent group of starters to improve instead saw nine players rotate throughout the five starting positions because of injury and performance issues.

The projected starters are likely Erik Magnuson and Ben Braden at the tackles, Kyle Kalis and Kyle Bosch at the guards and Graham Glasgow at center. Jack Miller and Davis Dawson are also in the mix. The wildcard is freshman Mason Cole. Do the coaches risk having a true freshman play tackle while trusting him to protect the edge of the Michigan offensive line?

Miller took his lumps early last season but should be better prepared if needed to fill in at center or guard.

Last season, Michigan’s offensive line suffered from bad luck and poor play but the constantly morphing offensive attack didn’t help. Offensive linemen thrive on run blocking and endure pass blocking. Under Nussmeier, the offensive lineman should benefit from a more consistent running attack but will still need a more regular group of starters to be successful.

Hoke needs luck to avoid injuries but hiring Nussmeier was the right move to stabilize the offensive identity of his team. The team will miss tackles Taylor Lewan and Michael Schofield, but the added year of experience should help the returning players improve.

Damn the Torpedoes

Last season Michigan won early, barely eking out victories against teams with less talent. There was no impression of gradual improvement—one close call was followed by another until the wheels fell completely fell off in November with a 1-4 record.

Hoke needs to finish the Big Ten slate strong this season and he may need to let the offense struggle until Nussmeier’s new scheme gets on track.

The boos may rain down at Michigan Stadium but if early struggles lead to victories on the road later in the season versus Michigan State or Ohio State fans will forgive him.

When you're the coach at Michigan boos don't hurt you but repeated losses to Michigan State and Ohio State can be fatal.

 

Phil Callihan is a featured writer for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotations in this article were obtained via Press Conferences or in person.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Auburn's Defense Needs Improvements, but Tigers Have Talent to Succeed

The dominant storyline exiting Auburn's spring game was the play of the offense and quarterback Nick Marshall in particular, as Marshall lit up the Tigers defense with 236 passing yards and four touchdowns.

But that was against a unit that was littered with second-teamers and, because of various minor injuries on that side of the ball, some third-teamers.

When the first-team defense was on the field, it shined. The No. 1 unit gave up just three points—a 50-yard field goal by Daniel Carlson in the second quarter—against quarterback Jeremy Johnson and the second-team offense, and gave up just 73 yards in the first half.

This was without presumed starting defensive ends Carl Lawson and LaDarius Owens, both of whom skipped the game nursing injuries.

The strong play from the "ones" was something head coach Gus Malzahn expected.

"We kind of mixed and matched," he said. "With some guys that played with both groups. I do not read anything into the score. I think it is just a matter of both sides, at least with our 'ones' are better than they were last year at this time. It should be expected.”

So what went well for the Tigers?

The makeshift defensive line that saw defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson utilize his "rhino" package that features defensive tackle Gabe Wright at defensive end seemed to work well. On top of that, sophomore defensive end Elijah Daniel—who can also drop down and play defensive tackle in certain situations—had 2.5 tackles for loss, one sack and got consistent pressure.

Linebacker and defensive MVP of the game Kenny Flowers had seven tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and one sack, proving himself to be a viable backup behind outside linebacker Kris Frost and middle linebacker Cassanova McKinzy.

The rebuilt secondary looked solid, with a converted wide receiver running with the "ones," breaking up two passes and looking very comfortable on the defensive side of the ball. Junior college transfer safety Derrick Moncrief looked comfortable as well, recovering a fumble and breaking up a pass starting at the boundary safety spot.

Auburn's starting defense has the chance to be really good in 2014, but the depth should be concerning.

The "twos" looked incredibly lost in the spring game.

Granted, they were facing Marshall and the first-team offense which returns eight of 11 starters from last season, but the second-team defense will have to step up and provide that quality depth this fall.

Luckily for Malzahn and Johnson, help is on the way.

Tre' Williams, a 5-star linebacker from Mobile, Ala., will add even more depth to the linebacking corps. Up front, the Tigers will benefit from the arrival of defensive ends Justin Thornton, DaVonte Lambert and Andrew Williams, as well as defensive tackle Dontavius Russell—all of whom are 4-star prospects. In the back end of the defense, 4-star corners Nick Ruffin, Kalvaraz Bessent and Stephen Roberts will provide quality depth once they arrive on campus.

Defense doesn't win championships anymore, "just enough" defense wins championships. What qualifies as "just enough" varies from team to team based on the offense a team runs. Auburn almost had enough last season and came within 13 seconds of claiming the national title.

It's still a work in progress in 2014, but the foundation is there. The first-teamers look like they've become more consistent, depth has been built along the defensive line thanks to some openings created from nagging injuries and there's help on the way this summer to finish off depth in the two-deep.

"Just enough" defense may become the reality for the Auburn Tigers in 2014.

 

* Barrett Sallee is the lead SEC college football writer for Bleacher Report. All quotes and spring game statistics were obtained firsthand, and all recruiting information is courtesy of 247Sports.com.

 


Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Jordan Cronkrite Commits to Miami: Hurricanes Land Versatile 4-Star

Miami landed a talented local prospect Sunday when Jordan Cronkrite committed to the Hurricanes. The 4-star Westminster Christian School junior revealed his collegiate intentions on Twitter:

The 5'11", 196-pound playmaker is commitment No. 10 for Miami during the 2015 recruiting cycle. Cronkrite can play a variety of positions, exceling at running back and defensive back.

He rushed for 1,343 yards and 15 touchdowns in 2013. It was a breakout campaign in the offensive backfield for Cronkrite, who has steadily impressed as a receiving threat in high school.

His stat sheet includes 44 receptions for 706 yards and eight scores since 2011. Cronkrite presents a variety of options for the Hurricanes coaching staff.

He tallied 35 tackles, a sack and an interception on defense. His efforts also extend to special teams, where Cronkrite routinely makes an impact as a kick returner.

He's rated No. 22 among athletes in 247Sports' composite rankings, which list him at No. 34 overall in the Sunshine State. The Hurricanes now hold eight in-state commitments, including Winter Garden running back Dexter Williams.

Williams, rated the No. 5 player at his position in 247Sports' composite rankings, pledged to Miami earlier this month. His presence provides competition in the offensive backfield if that's where Cronkrite ultimately ends up.

The Hurricanes have picked up five commitments since March 20. Aside from Williams and Cronkrite, head coach Al Golden has added pledges from defensive end Scott Patchan (Tampa, Fla.), offensive tackle Hayden Mahoney (Malvern, Pa.) and tight end Bowman Archibold (Dade City, Fla.) in the past month.

Miami's 2015 class currently rates top 10 nationally in 247Sports' composite rankings.

Cronkrite committed to the Hurricanes from a collection of scholarship offers that includes Clemson, Florida State, Alabama and Oregon. 

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Will Muschamp Close to Solving Offensive Issues Before the Start of the Season

Until the results change in a game that actually matters, the Florida Gators will be considered a talented team with an offense that couldn’t move the ball the length of a coffee table. So, even though the Gators looked much improved offensively in the spring game a week ago, Florida fans still remember 122 passing yards in a loss to Georgia Southern.

You can almost envision Will Muschamp in a dungeon somewhere slaving over game film in hopes of finding the answer.

Truth is, there’s no magic wand that’s going to turn things around or make a Percy Harvin 2.0 and the second coming of Tim Tebow appear. The Gators can only keep doing what they’ve been doing, and that’s working hard under offensive coordinator Kurt Roper, buying into the new offense and eventually knowing the plays better than Aaron Craft knows Pi.

Over the next few months, players and coaches will have limited contact. That means until fall camp rolls around, it’s up to the players to put the work in and come together as a team to get this offense moving in the right direction. This time of year is all about timing and getting on the right page with your teammates, as quarterback Jeff Driskel told Robbie Andreu of Gator Sports.  

The summer is for timing on the offensive side. We’re going to have to throw a lot and get our timing down. You can’t go back into fall camp without being in rhythm. So we’re going to have to do that, but we’re used to that. We’ve done that the past few summers. It’s nothing new to us, and we’re looking forward to it.

Timing seems to be the key to making this offense work. The players and talent are there, but it’s a new system and a quarterback who has been out of action for nearly an entire season.

Driskel completed only 56.25 percent of his passes in the spring game, as many of his passes sailed out of bounds or were underthrown. Getting comfortable with everybody on the field, knowing when the ball is supposed to come out and where receivers like the football could improve Driskel by leaps and bounds, which improves the offense by a great deal.

Truthfully, if you look at the players on the roster and the progress they showed in the spring game, you shouldn’t be as concerned about this unit as you were a few months ago.

Tell Muschamp he can stop watching replays of the 48 combined turnovers over the last two seasons. Yes, the spring game is nothing more than a glorified practice, and the defense is as vanilla as it gets. However, keep in mind that the Gators would have struggled scoring on some high school teams last season.

There was confidence shown, receivers were actually holding onto the football and running backs were getting more than two yards and a cloud of dust. Even though they were playing against teammates, the Gators offense looked nothing like last year’s unit.

Muschamp told Jeff Barlis of ESPN how happy he is with the progress the players have made in a short amount of time.

I'm extremely pleased with the day offensively with 15 practices and how far we've come. I think you can attribute all that to [new coordinator] Kurt Roper and the offensive staff and the job they've done. 

Our kids have been very receptive and have confidence in what we're doing. I think it's a good fit moving forward.

With the jump the Gators have already made, it’s logical to believe that another three months would produce an offense that could score more than 17 points against Vanderbilt.  

Like it or not, Driskel has a lot of upside and a skill set that should thrive in this uptempo offense. The running back depth is loaded, with Kelvin Taylor leading the way. Demarcus Robinson has All-SEC wide receiver written all over him. The Gators also have an experienced offensive line that should fare much better in pass protection than a year ago.

Yes, the offense still has some tweaking that needs to be done. But you can at least sleep well at night knowing that Florida is ahead of the curve. There's a lot less offensive issues to worry about. 

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Pro Player Comparisons for College Football's Top 25 Stars

College football greatness doesn't always translate to NFL success. Just look at some of the players who won the Heisman Trophy in the past decade, as illustrious pro careers weren't in the cards for USC's Matt Leinart, Ohio State's Troy Smith or Florida's Tim Tebow.

Yet each time a college athlete achieves star status, the first thing we want to do is compare him to an NFL player as a way of gauging how likely it is he'll make it in the big leagues.

The current stars of college football face the same comparisons, as we have identified the pro player each most closely resembles in terms of size, skill and approach to the game.

(Note: Players are listed in alphabetical order, not in terms of ranking)

Begin Slideshow

Clemson Football: 4 Things Standing in the Way of an ACC Championship

The Clemson Tigers last won the ACC title in 2011. That was former quarterback Tajh Boyd's first full season as the starter and Sammy Watkins' freshman season.

In 2012 and 2013, the Tigers came up just short because they couldn't beat the Florida State Seminoles.

Now that FSU is coming off a national championship season and the Tigers are replacing several stars, can Clemson dethrone the 'Noles and take back the ACC?

Florida State isn't the only thing standing between Clemson and the ACC title. Here are four reasons why getting back to the ACC Championship Game—and winning it—won't be easy for the Tigers.

Begin Slideshow

Austin Joyner to Washington State: Cougars Land 4-Star ATH Prospect

Athleticism and versatility translate at any position in college football. One player who shows that as well as anyone is Austin Joyner.

The 4-star athlete is projected as an all-purpose back with the ability to play running back and cornerback. According to Adam Gorney of Rivals.com, he ultimately made the decision to play on defense and committed to do so with Washington State:

Joyner's 5'11", 186-pound frame makes him perfect for either position, but the Cougars clearly have an idea in mind for the class of 2015 recruit.

Even after posting 2,038 rushing yards and 24 total touchdowns at Marysville Pilchuck in Marysville, Wash., Joyner clearly decided to stay close to home as a defensive back.

Braulio Perez of Fox Sports notes the importance of the commitment for the Cougars:

David Krueger of The Herald reports that Being in the Pac-12 was one of the main reasons for Joyner announcing his commitment to Washington State:

I already saw all my options and had all the information I needed. No point in waiting. I just feel like I have a chance to play early there. And it's in the PAC-12, which is kind of what drove me away from Boise State.

I wouldn't go there if it was for offense. They don't run the ball enough. ... It's a good location. I kind of wanted to stay home and participate in stuff around here. I'm an outdoors person. I don't like the big city. I like places where I can go fishing and hunting.

Two of his biggest strengths following his junior season are his feet and explosiveness.

What might need improvement during his final campaign in high school is his change of direction, a crucial component for any cornerback. The growth for Joyner will be much steeper in his senior year now that he knows he's playing defensive back with the Cougars.

Competing in the Pac-12 against the likes of Oregon and some of the fastest uptempo offenses in the country, Joyner will need to progress rapidly to earn the starting role when he comes to Washington State.

If he can grow into a great corner for the Cougars, his commitment could help the program continue to progress toward being competitive in the conference. With Mike Leach slowly returning Washington State to relevance, Joyner might be another crucial component to making that happen.

 

Recruit rating and information courtesy of 247Sports.com.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Austin Joyner to Washington State: Cougars Land 4-Star ATH Prospect

Athleticism and versatility translate at any position in college football. One player who shows that as well as anyone is Austin Joyner . The 4-star athlete is projected as an all-purpose back with the ability to play running back and cornerback...

Read the full article on Bleacher Report...

Power Ranking Every Big Ten College Football Stadium

The Big Ten will be expanding again in 2014, so it's a great time to take a fresh look at the stadiums that the conference's teams call home.  How will newcomers Rutgers and Maryland stack up against their more traditional Big Ten brethren?  Are the biggest stadiums also the best?

When the 2014 college football season kicks off, there will be 128 teams in the FBS, each touting some claim to a "home-field advantage."  The Big Ten, however, not only touts home-field advantage, the programs back it up with deafening noise, lopsided win percentages and pure stadium size, unmatched by any in the nation.

We've ranked each stadium in the Big Ten based on several factors.  Size isn't everything, but it's important.  After all, 115,000 fans will always out-scream 45,000—or at least you hope they can.  There's also the offered amenities, tailgating space, overall atmosphere and, of course, the intangible categories of the aura, traditions and history of the venue.

Now that we've laid out the ground rules, let's dive right in to our power ranking of the Big Ten college football stadiums for 2014.

Begin Slideshow

7 Reasons 5-Star RB Damien Harris Will Sign with Ohio State

Damien Harris is a 5-star running back from Kentucky who is one of the top offensive recruits in the country. At 5'11" and 205 pounds, Harris has great speed to pull away from defenders in the open field.

The former Michigan commit is wanted by many programs from around the nation, but he has Ohio State as one of his top schools, according to Josh Helmholdt of Rivals (subscription required).

The Buckeyes are an attractive option to Harris for several reasons. 

 

All recruiting ratings and rankings are from 247Sports. Player evaluations are based on review of tape at Scout.comRivals and 247Sports.

Begin Slideshow

How Butch Jones Can Solve Quarterback Issue Before the Start of the Season

Tennessee head coach Butch Jones wisely didn't name a starting quarterback—or even a scribbled-out pecking order—following a competitive spring practice between his four candidates.

The decision likely will lead to all participants believing they've got a fair shake to win the job, cutting down the chance of a transfer. It also promotes an offseason atmosphere where every rep, every film study and every weight room session will be vital.

That benefits the Volunteers and all the quarterbacks in what should be a competitive offseason.

But the bottom line for Jones' Vols is the soonest into fall drills the team can name a starting quarterback, the better for all involved. For a young unit that could feature as many as seven or eight newcomers in the regular rotation, it's even more important. 

Following the Orange and White Game on April 12, Jones said he had "no timetable" on when he'd name a starter.

"We have to take tremendous strides," Jones said. "We turned the football over from the quarterback position today. You can't do that and play winning football so I'm very encouraged by where that position is in our program.

"…I'm encouraged by what I've seen but we still have a long way to go."

Jones needs to begin fall practice throwing Justin Worley, Riley Ferguson, Joshua Dobbs and Nathan Peterman into game-simulation, live-action situations.

Whoever makes the fewest mistakes should start Game 1 against Utah State. Simple as that.

A team full of freshman contributors is going to make enough blunders without its signal-caller being careless.

Worley is currently the least likely to make the catastrophic, game-flipping turnovers. While the rising senior also may not be as dynamic as Ferguson or Dobbs (the other two participants with a realistic chance of starting), he takes care of the ball. 

Tennessee has enough game-breaking talent on offense that if somebody can just distribute the football to them, they can do the rest. That's why Worley's the popular guess to start if the season began today.

While Worley finished an abbreviated 2013 season with 10 touchdowns and eight interceptions, three of those picks came in a baffling performance against South Alabama. The rest of his time at the helm he was solid protecting possessions.

Worley's biggest problem came in his inability to consistently lead the offense. While part of that was an inexperienced receiving corps, he had his own accuracy and timing issues. He said having a more seasoned group of targets has really helped.

"I think it makes a huge difference, Year 1 to Year 2," Worley said. "Having these older guys that have been in the system allows for us to install more and work on the little things more. It comes with being in the system." 

As 2013 progressed, Worley improved his game management in a narrow loss to Georgia and a victory over South Carolina.

Throughout this spring, he showed his maturation process has continued. During the spring finale, he was very sharp on timing patterns while confidently leading the offense to three scoring drives on the first-team UT defense.

One glorified scrimmage does not make a quarterback, but it does boost everybody's confidence.

Despite the progression of all of his quarterbacks, Jones simply hasn't found the man he believes is a confident, alpha-dog leader—or as he stated to the Chattanooga Times Free Press' Patrick Brown, someone with a "genuine swagger"—so he hasn't named a starter.

Worley shouldn't just be handed the job, but Ferguson or Dobbs will have to take it from him.

Redshirt freshman Ferguson spent most of the spring ahead of Dobbs on the depth chart, just as he did before a leg injury in 2013 forced him to redshirt. However, in the spring-ending scrimmage, he threw a bad interception as well as lost a fumble when he was sacked from the blind side.

Conversely, Dobbs had a breakout day, collecting 258 yards of total offense and leading the Vols on four touchdown drives, all of which were accounted for by him. The asterisk is it all came against reserves.

While it's not conducive to UT to split reps for a long time once fall practice starts, it's essential Dobbs and Ferguson get ample time against the first-team defense while facing every blitz package and game scenario the coaches can think of.

If one of them emerges alongside Worley, he should have the opportunity to start. If not, Worley has to be the guy going into the season. 

Coaches can't spend any time with players on the practice field during the offseason. But thanks to a new NCAA rule—according to the Associated Press via ESPN.com—there will be more time than normal for college coaches to spend with their quarterbacks in the film room.

That's going to be important teaching and evaluation time. Once fall practice starts, the competition needs to be whittled down quickly, and the staff needs to pick a quarterback and be patient with him for as long as they can. 

Rotating quarterbacks hurt the Vols last year, and they can't have it happen again. The confidence in the signal-callers around the program has blossomed with their spring performance, and the returns were largely positive, as this tweet about Knoxville News-Sentinel columnist John Adams indicates.

The Vols just need to know who it is so they can build their offense around his strengths. And the sooner, the better.

All quotes obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Winners and Losers of College Football's April 19 Spring Games

Some of college football's biggest spring games of the year kicked off on Saturday, including Alabama, Auburn, USC and Texas. 

In Tuscaloosa, Nick Saban may have found his answer at cornerback. But he's no closer to declaring a winner in the quarterback battle. 

Neither is Charlie Strong at Texas, who coached his first live game as the Longhorns head coach. 

However at Auburn, Nick Marshall looked impressive in his return to action. 

With that, check out the winners and losers from the April 19 spring games. 

Begin Slideshow

Ohio State Football Recruiting: Breaking Down the Top Target at Each Position

Urban Meyer and Ohio State signed a top-five recruiting class for the third consecutive year last February, but with just two commitments in the fold for 2015, that streak is in serious jeopardy. 

In recruiting, though, it's not how you start, but how you finish. The Buckeyes have targeted a number of the country's top prospects, and with Meyer at the helm, they're looking to surge.

Ohio State has big needs at quarterback and tight end, but Meyer's wish list spans the entire depth chart.

Here's a look at the Buckeyes' top recruiting target at each position.

Begin Slideshow

Pages