NCAA Football News

Notre Dame Football 2015: Winners and Losers from Spring Practices, Game

With the spring ball session now in the books for the Notre Dame football team, it seems like a good time to be reflective. 

This piece will take a look at the winners and losers from spring practice. Of course, the quarterback position is a hot-button issue in South Bend. One of those options has flashed, while another has some work to do. 

An expected leader of the defense has continued to improve, a senior offensive skill player is making a push at another position and an early enrollee freshman has immensely impressed. Lastly, a former member of the team seems unlikely to return. 

Here are the winners and losers from the spring practice period for Brian Kelly and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. 



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Auburn Spring Game 2015: Recap, Highlights and Twitter Reaction

Auburn football's drive to the 2015 regular season kicked off in exciting fashion Saturday as Team Auburn defeated Team Tigers 24-14 in the A-Day spring game at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Alabama.

Several players stood out, but junior quarterback Jeremy Johnson likely has Tigers fans talking more than anyone else does after making a strong case for the starting job.

As seen in this photo, courtesy of the Auburn Tigers' official Twitter account, there was no shortage of excitement and pageantry surrounding Saturday's exhibition contest:

The fun atmosphere seemed to play into Team Auburn's favor out of the gates, as sophomore running back Roc Thomas put the team ahead 7-0 on a 36-yard touchdown run early in the first quarter.

According to Justin Ferguson of Sporting News, Thomas flashed a wide array of skills to rack up the first points of the game:

The Team Auburn lead was soon pushed to 10-0 when sophomore kicker Daniel Carlson successfully booted a 50-yard field goal through the uprights.

Per Bryan Matthews of, Thomas was undoubtedly the standout player of the opening quarter, as he averaged better than 15 yards per carry:

While Thomas was the story of the first quarter, most Auburn fans entered Saturday's game hoping to see some progress from the quarterback position. With Nick Marshall making the move to the NFL, the Tigers will have a new starter under center in 2015.

Johnson pulled ahead in the race for that job, as the big signal-caller made some fantastic plays in the second quarter. After connecting with senior wide receiver Ricardo Louis on a 49-yard pass, Johnson threw his first touchdown of the day to senior wideout Duke Williams on a 36-yard strike.

His second scoring pass came six minutes later as he hit freshman receiver Myron Burton Jr. from 43 yards out to give Team Auburn a commanding 24-0 advantage.

In addition to Johnson's excellent play, he certainly looked the part, as pointed out by Michael Pelfrey of WEGL 91.1 FM:

The Auburn Athletics Twitter account provided a good example of Johnson's big-time arm with a video of his beautiful sideline pass to Chandler Cox:

After watching him throw for well over 200 yards and two touchdowns in the first half, Brian Stultz of 247Sports felt as though Johnson made a statement regarding his place on the depth chart:

It wasn't necessarily a runaway, though, as freshman Sean White acquitted himself well, too:

Team Tigers managed to get on the board prior to halftime to make it 24-7, and it was Thomas who found pay dirt once again as he shifted over to the other team.

Thomas finished the half with 69 yards and a pair of touchdowns as he and Johnson established themselves as potential linchpins in the Auburn offense for the 2015 campaign.

The second half of the spring game paled in comparison to the first half in terms of excitement, but a third quarterback emerged and showed off some impressive skills in addition to Johnson and White.

Freshman Tyler Queen threw a touchdown to fellow freshman Jimmie Stoudemire to pull Team Tigers to within 10 points of the lead.'s Cole Cubelic was complimentary of the young signal-caller:

While Auburn fans had to enjoy seeing Queen get some positive work in, the biggest takeaway from Saturday's game is the fact that Johnson looks capable of being a starting quarterback in the SEC.

He and Thomas offered a glimpse of what could potentially be a potent offense, which is necessary in such a difficult conference.

Carrying this level of play over from the spring to the regular season won't be easy for Auburn's offense, but the talent is clearly in place to do some special things on that side of the ball.


Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter.

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Ohio State Sets New Spring Game Attendance Record with 99,391

Spring football isn't just a southern tradition anymore, not as long as Ohio State keeps drawing big crowds.

The defending national champion obliterated its own national record for spring game attendance on Saturday, drawing 99,391 fans to Ohio Stadium to watch the Buckeyes play a glorified scrimmage that featured only one of the team's three star quarterbacks (Cardale Jones) because of injuries.

Several other OSU players were held out or saw limited action, but that didn't stop fans from coming out in droves to get an early glimpse of the presumptive favorite to win the 2015-16 title.

Saturday's attendance topped the previous best of 95,722, which OSU set in 2009, according to Kevin Ryan of 247Sports. The Buckeyes, Nebraska and Penn State are the only schools outside of the South to register a spring game crowd of more than 75,000, per Ryan. Prior to Ohio State's record-shattering feat Saturday, Nebraska had the highest-attended spring game of the year, drawing 76,881 attendees on April 11.

Alabama has been the gold standard of late in the spring game attendance department, posting the top figure in three of the previous five seasons (with Auburn taking the title in 2013 and Ohio State doing so in 2012) and averaging a national-best 83,545 over the past eight years, per the school's website. Yet this year's game in Tuscaloosa, also held Saturday, wasn't nearly as well-attended based on pictures posted on Twitter:

Even more notable: Alabama did not charge admission to its A-Day game, while Ohio State fans paid $5 (though they also got admittance to the Buckeyes' men's lacrosse game beforehand).


Follow Brian J. Pedersen on Twitter at @realBJP.

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Notre Dame Spring Game 2015: Recap, Highlights and Twitter Reaction

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish went from looking like a national title contender to mediocre in the span of one month in 2014. After the team took the field for its spring game, it's still unclear what kind of team Brian Kelly will have in 2015. 

Per Pete Sampson of Irish Illustrated, the Gold won an entertaining back-and-forth affair by a score of 37-34:

Many programs would consider having an 8-5 season with a close loss on the road against Florida State a positive step, but the Irish collapsed in grand fashion with four straight losses in November in which they allowed an average of 44.5 points. 

Notre Dame did salvage the year with a bowl win over LSU, but even that game raised more questions because Malik Zaire played well as the main quarterback. Everett Golson's future with the Irish seemed uncertain after the season, but he is still with the program. 

In the days leading up to the spring game, Kelly said he had confidence in Notre Dame's ability to win in 2015 because of the quarterback depth, via (h/t Chip Patterson of CBS Sports).

"There are certain areas that I think at the quarterback position, maybe other than Ohio State, I would take our two quarterbacks," Kelly said. "I would take our two over Ohio State's, but in terms of depth I don't know that anybody has a better situation than we do with the two quarterbacks that we have."

There's no denying the raw talent Golson has, as he showed at various points in 2012 and 2014, and Zaire looked impressive in spurts against a strong LSU defense, but consistency will be key for whoever gets the majority of snaps in 2015. 

Based on the returns in the spring game, Golson picked up where he left off at the end of 2014. An interesting aspect of this game, per Stewart Mandel of Sports Illustrated, is how Kelly seemed to want his quarterbacks getting a feel for playing against a live defense:

That strategy allowed the coaching staff to see how Golson reacts under pressure, per Matt Fortuna of ESPN:

It was obvious, at least early, how the coaching staff wanted to use Golson. Sampson provided a breakdown of the play calls on Golson's first drive in which he attempted just one pass:

On the other side, Zaire looked comfortable throwing the ball and displayed nice touch with accuracy on this bomb to Will Fuller that went for 68 yards, per Notre Dame Football:

Because of how both players were used in this game, as well as the splits in the Music City Bowl, it appears Zaire may end up getting the bulk of the snaps as a passer while Golson comes in mostly to run and make an occasional pass to keep defenses honest. 

While quarterback was the focal point of this game, there were other players who seemed to make positive strides as the game went on.

Nick Watkins, who was a highly regarded 4-star recruit in 2014, according to 247 Sports, gave Irish fans something to smile about on that side of the ball with plays such as this, per Notre Dame Football:

Watkins was the one Fuller beat on that long touchdown pass, though Kelly said after the game he was pleased overall with how the young cornerback looked, per Chris Goff of The Journal Gazette:

Kelly highlighted two specific areas and two specific players whose progress he was pleased with, according to Jack Nolan of 

This program has been more consistent with Kelly than it was under Charlie Weis, but beside the 12-win season that culminated in an appearance in the national title game three years ago, the Irish have been winning eight or nine games since 2010. 

Notre Dame continues to have well-regarded recruiting classes, including the 11th-ranked class in 2015, according to 247 Sports, but that hasn't been enough to push it back into the elite status among teams around the country. 

Kelly certainly isn't working with a bare cupboard, but there are areas lacking that need to be addressed in the offseason. He's happy with how things played out in the spring game, so that may be a good sign heading into the season in four months.

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8 College Football Head Coaches Facing Make It or Break It Seasons in 2015

The head coach is the undeniable face of a college football program. Though he's not the only person responsible for the success or failure of the program, he's the one who gets the most criticism, whether positive or negative.

When things go wrong, athletic directors and other administrators aren't going to fire themselves. Therefore, the head coach gets the axe, regardless of whether he's the primary reason for the program's woes. In any case, though, head coaches have a lot of control over the team's performance: he recruits, he installs strategies, and he hires the other coaches.

There are programs around the country that need changes, and soon enough, they'll show they've had enough of losing by firing their head coaches. Today, we're looking at eight head coaches that are still around, but shouldn't be with another poor season.

A major factor in determining which head coaches made this list was declining performance. How much worse has his team gotten since he started?

Another factor was how long these men have held their current positions. There are coaches who haven't shown much in their one or two seasons on the job, but they still have time to get the players that best fit their systems on the field, so newly-hired guys weren't considered. The program coached made a huge impact as well. All of these men coach in Power Five conferences.

With that, here are the coaches. If you're a fan of one of these schools, I hope your current leader can finally turn it around, or your administrators realize the incompetence and find someone else. 

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Auburn Spring Game 2015: A-Day Live Score and Top Performers

Team Auburn 10, Team Tigers 0: First Quarter

Forget the trees blossoming and birds chirping. Auburn's A-Day is the true signal of spring beginning, and the 2015 edition has finally arrived.

On the heels of a forgettable 8-5 season that ended with four losses in their last five, the Tigers have no shortage of storylines following them into the 2015 season. Whether it's replacing star players or starting from scratch on one side of the ball, Saturday's game should be telling.

Does new defensive coordinator Will Muschamp have the personnel yet to push Auburn closer to the forefront of SEC defenses? Can quarterback Jeremy Johnson do something to give fans an indication that he can pick up where Nick Marshall left off? Which running back—if any—will emerge as the program's next great rusher?

Of course, those are only the start of the questions, and many of them won't be answered until the fall. But Saturday's spring game should at least begin to shed light on most major storylines.

Kickoff is at 2 p.m. ET on SEC Network extended channels, but we'll keep you in the loop with updates below.

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Texas Spring Game 2015: Live Score, Top Performers and Analysis

Texas 7, Longhorns 7—1st Quarter

Jerrod Heard answers with a touchdown drive of his own, torching the first-team defense with his arm then sprinting for a 12-yard touchdown.

Catch the coverage of this afternoon's spring game on the Longhorn Network.

Stay tuned to this page throughout the action for live analysis and updates, and be sure to stick around after the game to check out winners and losers from the Horns' spring practice.

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LSU Spring Game 2015: Live Score, Top Performers and Analysis

The LSU Tigers are wrapping up the spring session with 2015 National L Club Spring Game in Death Valley.

SEC Network+ is streaming the scrimmage. Follow along on Bleacher Report for updates and reaction throughout the day.

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Ohio State Spring Game 2015: Live Score, Top Performers and Analysis

Scarlet Team 0, Gray Team 0 — Late 1st quarter

Ohio State’s spring game is officially underway. The Big Ten Network is televising the matchup live from Ohio Stadium.

We are watching the game, providing live analysis as the action unfolds:

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Alabama Spring Game 2015: A-Day Live Score and Top Performers

Spring practice will come to an end for the Alabama Crimson Tide on Saturday as they take part in the annual A-Day game at Bryant-Denny Stadium. The game will kick off at 2 p.m. EDT, and it will air on SEC Network Plus.

The one position fans will watch is quarterback, as the coaching staff is trying to find a replacement for Blake Sims. Jacob Coker is the leading candidate to replace Sims, but there are four other quarterbacks who could also start in offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin’s offense. 

Be sure to keep this blog open for the latest scoring updates and analysis.

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Notre Dame Spring Game 2015: Live Score, Top Performers for Blue-Gold Game

Blue 28, Gold 36 ; Fourth Quarter

Are you ready for some football? 

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish will hold their 86th-annual Blue-Gold game Saturday afternoon at LaBar Practice Field in South Bend. 

This contest provides an opportunity for the fans to see the improvements that were made by the squad during the offseason. It also offers the chance for younger players to make a name for themselves. Head Coach Brian Kelly and his squad hope to build upon the impressive victory it had over LSU to end the 2014 season. 

The game will begin at 12:30 p.m. ET. It can be seen on NBC Sports Network. 

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SEC Football: Ranking Every Team by 2015 Coaching Staff

With big money being thrown around at marquee coordinators since last season, SEC football coaching staffs have gotten stronger on paper following a flurry of wholesale changes.

So, which teams are coming out as the winners and losers in what has become a power conference arms race?

Alabama set the bar several years ago with the hiring of head coach Nick Saban, and the Crimson Tide haven't blushed at dropping big money on high-profile assistants in recent years, either. Auburn closed in on its instate rivals with big-name hires of its own over the past few months.

Texas A&M, LSU, Georgia, Mississippi State, Tennessee, Arkansas, Missouri and South Carolina all made pivotal hires this offseason as well. Most teams had to replace at least one coordinator.

As a matter of fact, Ole Miss is the only team to keep its entire set of coaches intact from last year in the same positions.

With all the staff shuffling, there will be some new wrinkles to many of the league members this year that will be visible on the field. Many will improve, and some of the hires will fall flat and take the head coaches with them.

With a look at past success, recruiting prowess, system fit, innovative minds and a nod toward needed change, let's rank the league's coaching staffs after the recent turnover.

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Ohio State Spring Game 2015: Date, Start Time, TV Schedule, Live Stream and More

Urban Meyer and the Ohio State Buckeyes begin the path to title defense Saturday at Ohio Stadium in the team's 2015 spring game. 

There, a three-way duel between Cardale Jones, Braxton Miller and J.T. Barrett will take center stage, even if all three don't suit up. So will the future, with big names such as Devin Smith, Michael Bennett and Doran Grant taking their talents to the NFL.

Saturday offers the Buckeyes faithful a first chance to see the new direction of the team as Meyer plans for next season.

Let's take a look at how to catch the action and a few things to focus on as it unfolds.


2015 Ohio State Spring Game

When: Saturday, April 18 at 1:30 p.m. ET

Where: Ohio Stadium

TV: Big Ten Network

Live Stream:



While it is an exciting time as Ohio State pieces together another potential College Football Playoff contender, it's important to note first Meyer's conservative strategy going into Saturday.

There, he plans to give some of the big names time on the field, but he also wants to give younger players a chance to experience live-game action in front of a massive crowd. James Grega, Jr. of The Lantern captured Meyer's thoughts on the matter:

We are going to let the 1-A’s of the 2,000 rep club — we are going to go the first two series of the game. It will not be to the ground tackle. It will be very structured and pass-type situations. I think the fans deserve to watch the Joey Bosas of the world go out and play. Then we will start taking those guys out of the game and continue on with the scrimmage.”

Still, there will be plenty to see in the way of competition.

Jones is the only major quarterback suiting up for the event. Miller is still too far out in his recovery, and Barrett has only put on limited work so far this preseason.

Meyer is happy about this, all things considered, as he noted Barrett is ahead of schedule and already has more work in than the staff predicted.

"We're exactly where we need to be at the end of spring practice," Meyer said, per's Austin Ward. "... We probably got [Barrett] more reps than I thought we'd get him. Our trainers did a good job, and we were going to be very cautious with him, but we practiced better this year than we have in the past."

In other words, Jones will need to look sharp Saturday. Folks know what Miller can do under center, and Barrett looked great last season before the late injury. There's a chance for Jones to craft serious chemistry with a new-look offense, but competition is on the way sooner rather than later. 

Speaking of the offense, the team will use Saturday in part to find a replacement for the aforementioned Smith.

Noah Brown is the first name who pops to mind a year removed from not playing much. A gap among the first-team wideouts has helped Brown to show off his skills, and he continues to be brought up as a player having a great spring.

Tim May of the Columbus Dispatch captures one such account:

Also mentioned is Curtis Samuel, who sounds ready to receive more than the 58 carries he tallied from a season ago, especially after he turned them into 383 yards and six scores on a 6.6 per-carry average. 

To be blunt, things are more boring concerning Joey Bosa's unit. One of the chief questions in need of an answer centers on who lines up across from the star defender a year after Steve Miller and Rashad Frazier held down the fort in the wake of Noah Spence's suspension. Of the names to watch is redshirt sophomore Tyquan Lewis.

Most interesting of all on the defensive side of things is the secondary. Eli Apple holds the top corner slot with Grant gone, but Gareon Conley seems fit for more playing time, even more so if he can put on a strong performance Saturday.

Like most spring games, Ohio State's spectacle Saturday won't showcase the starters a lot to keep them healthy. What the event will do, though, is help young players along and give the staff a better idea as to where it needs to focus moving forward. 

It's something worth observing, as the defending champions set out to improve.


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Auburn Spring Game 2015: Date, Start Time, TV Schedule, Live Stream and More

Change is in the air surrounding the Auburn Tigers with the return of Will Muschamp, who will help coach Gus Malzahn orchestrate Saturday's spring game, otherwise known as the A-Day Game.

There, new starting quarterback Jeremy Johnson will lead the offense. Muschamp, the defensive coordinator, will look to improve on a unit last seen ranking 63rd with an average of 26.7 points allowed per game.

A leaky defense is the main reason the Tigers collapsed down the stretch last season, losing four of their last five, including the Outback Bowl to Wisconsin in overtime.

"Change" is the buzzword to keep in mind, though, so let's take a look at how to catch Saturday's event.


2015 Auburn Spring Game 

When: Saturday, April 18 at 2 p.m. ET

Where: Jordan-Hare Stadium

TV: SEC Network

Live Stream: SEC Network



Start with Johnson, because it doesn't matter if Muschamp works miracles if the play under center isn't up to par. 

He set some lofty goals for himself this preseason, as captured by James Crepea of the Montgomery Advertiser:

Within, offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee told Crepea he thinks Johnson can produce at a Cam Newton level if he puts in the work.

"You don't want a guy saying man I throw form 1,000 yards and rush for 10. He's capable. Jeremy – and I believe this about a lot of our guys – they can reach a lot of high goals if they want to. There's a lot of work that's going to go into that."

Folks know what to expect from a Malzahn-led offense at this point, but it will still be interesting to see if the unit comes out favoring the pass or rush more Saturday with Johnson under center. 

Also interesting is the battle at running back, where transfer Jovon Robinson will make his debut in live-game action with the Tigers.

The praise has run rampant for Robinson so far this preseason, as Tom Green of the Opelika-Auburn News captures:

Most captivating of all, though, is the Muschamp-led defense.

Some of the questions already have answers. Folks wanting to know who will play the "buck" position like potential 2015 NFL draft top-10 pick Dante Fowler Jr. did last year at Florida need look no further than Carl Lawson.

Many will recall Lawson recorded four sacks as a freshman in 2013 before missing last season with an injury. He's back and now a centerpiece of Muschamp's defense.

For his part, Lawson sounds ready to move from the past and assume a leadership role, per Sports Illustrated's Zac Ellis:

Questions linger around Lawson, though.

Muschamp will use Saturday to help find complements to his top pass-rusher. Montravius Adams and others come to mind. The unit's ability to put constant pressure on opposing quarterbacks will make things much easier on a secondary in transition.

He'll also use the live action to test secondary members such as Josh Holsey, Tim Irvin and others one year after the unit allowed 230.1 passing yards per game. With top corner Jonathan Jones out of action due to a minor surgery, younger members of the secondary will receive a chance to step up in live-game action to gain experience.

Saturday is all about gaining experience, with many young pieces and returning players stepping into critical roles. Things have a new look near the top of the program, which will have a ripple effect on the field.

The first viewing occurs Saturday.


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Notre Dame Spring Game 2015: Date, Start Time, TV Schedule, Live Stream and More

Brian Kelly isn't pulling any punches for the 2015 Notre Dame spring game.

The 86th installment of the annual Blue-Gold Game is unlike many before it and those around it from other programs because the Fighting Irish don't feature much in the way of turnover this year.

Rather than filling voids left by departing starters, this Saturday focuses on as much competition as possible to produce the best possible starter, such as the battle under center between Everett Golson and Malik Zaire.

Let's take a look at how to catch the event.


2015 Notre Dame Spring Game 

When: Saturday, April 18 at 12:30 p.m. ET

Where: LaBar Practice Complex

TV: NBC Sports Network

Live Stream: NBCSports Live Extra



To further encourage competition at every spot, Kelly will allow both Golson and Zaire to take hits in Saturday's spring game.

Officials will blow plays dead quickly and coaches told defenders not to go for big hits, but the allowance of quarterback hits is an interesting gamble by Kelly to squeeze the most out of the sport's most important position.

“Both of those guys need to be who they are, and that’s who they are (taking contact),” Kelly said, per's JJ Stankevitz. “They’re guys that need to move in the pocket, they make plays with their feet and they both can run the football and we want to be able to run them both as well.”

Golson had his struggles last year with 12 fumbles, eight of them lost, but did throw for 29 touchdowns to 14 interceptions while completing 60 percent of his passes. Zaire is the better rusher, something he may put on display Saturday.

The rest of the offense isn't in question. Tarean Folston, last year's leading rusher with 889 yards and six scores, is back in the fold. Of the 11 different players who caught a pass last season, nine return.

William Fuller, who led the team with 76 grabs for 1,094 yards and 15 touchdowns leads the wideout corps. Corey Robinson and Chris Brown landed right behind him on the receiving list last year and will make a return, as will the versatile C.J. Prosise, who continues to line up in the backfield and split out wide.

The real focus point Saturday should come on the defensive side of things.

Last year the Fighting Irish's collapse down the stretch, in which they lost their final four games of the regular season, came in large part thanks to inexperience on defense.

Continuity isn't the issue this spring, it's applying experience to form a cohesive unit capable of holding up under the rigors of a full season.

One name to watch is senior Jarrett Grace, who figures to be in contention for a starting gig if he looks up to speed Saturday after taking a year and change off to recover from a leg injury. Kelly loves the dynamic he has at linebacker, as captured by Rachel Terlep of The Elkhart Truth:

Seniors Sheldon Day, Jarron Jones and Romeo Okwara lead a deep and talented defensive line, and one sure to fluster both quarterbacks Saturday.

Matthias Farley, last year's interceptions leader, remains in a dogfight for the No. 1 corner slot on the depth chart. Corner is perhaps the position with most turnover on defense this preseason after losing Cody Riggs.

Given the hodgepodge of names that saw the field last year, though, it shouldn't be a problem so long as someone steps up Saturday and beyond to fill the void.

Which is what Saturday is all about—competition to encourage the best to rise to the top as the Fighting Irish ease into another season. The event marks the beginning of a long march, but one from an advantageous position. 


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LSU Spring Game 2015: Date, Start Time, TV Schedule, Live Stream and More

Things get offensive in Death Valley Saturday at LSU's 2015 spring game. 

After an 8-5 effort and .500 mark in SEC play a season ago, there's a different feel to the National L Club Spring Football Game in Baton Rouge as coach Les Miles searches for the answer under center.

The duel between Anthony Jennings and Brandon Harris is just one facet of the spectacle Saturday, but the one under the most scrutiny. At the least, Saturday will provide some signs about the future.

Here's how to catch the action.


2015 LSU Miss Spring Game 

When: Saturday, April 18 at 2 p.m. ET

Where: Tiger Stadium

TV: SEC Network

Live Stream: (audio only)



LSU faithful are sure to remember last year's spring game. 

The Harris-Jennings duel took center stage, with the former by far winning the battle. Harris looked good with three touchdowns, whereas Jennings threw a pair of picks the defense took back for touchdowns.

Yet Jennings started 11 of the 12 games last season, completing 48.9 percent of his passes for 1,611 yards and 11 touchdowns to seven interceptions.

This year the result of the spring game may be more important, as Miles told the media what he wants to see from his signal-callers as they split Saturday's reps down the middle.

"Run the team, use the tools at hand. Run the offense for us. Let it work," Miles said, per's David Ching. "Take care of the ball and move it aggressively. Those kind of things."

It's hard to tell who will win the battle, but offensive coordinator Cam Cameron has been quick to sing Jennings' praises so far this preseason, as captured by Ross Dellenger of The Advocate:

Believe it or not, there will be plenty of other players on the field Saturday with jobs at stake.

The problems on offense don't just fall on quarterback, as the 76th-ranked attack (27.6 points per game) got little in the way of explosiveness on the outside last season.

Travin Dural turned 37 catches into 758 yards and seven scores, but others will need to step up this season to keep defenses honest. Former stud recruit Malachi Dupre is one of Saturday's biggest names to watch after he caught just 14 balls for 318 yards and five scores a season ago.

Also of note will be running back Leonard Fournette, whose 1,034 yards and 10 scores on a 5.5 per-carry average this season seem just the tip of the proverbial iceberg going into his sophomore campaign.

As usual, the defense isn't as much of a concern a year removed from ranking fifth in the nation at 17.5 points allowed per game.

The focal points on the defensive side of things are obvious, with new coordinator Kevin Steele at the helm and needing to improve on last year's 19 sacks and fill voids left by Danielle Hunter and Jermauria Rasco.

What will be interesting to see is just how much Steele is willing to reveal to the nation to get his players accustomed to what may be some new-look fronts. He's been quiet so far this preseason about how his unit will deploy.

"I've got no reason or advantage—as long as the players know—it's really an advantage to us that opponents for next year in their spring, summer and early fall camp work, they've got no evidence of what we are," Steele said, per Jim Kleinpeter of "Keep guessing."

Keep an eye on Steele's actions Saturday, as they may speak to a bigger plan in place for next season.

The goal for LSU is a rebound. With more experience under center this time around and new wrinkles on the defensive side of things, one might just be in order.

It begins Saturday.


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Alabama Spring Game 2015: Date, Start Time, TV Schedule, Live Stream and More

Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide look quite different as they head to their 2015 A-Day Game.

The last time the globe saw the Crimson Tide, Blake Sims was the starting quarterback and the team lost a slugfest against Ohio State in the title game.

This time, Alabama takes to Bryant-Denny Stadium with a new-look backfield, fresh faces on defense and a five-man battle for the starting gig under center with Sims gone.

Suffice it to say, Saturday is quite an important day on the calendar as Saban takes the Crimson Tide into a new chapter.


2015 Alabama Spring Game 

When: Saturday, April 18 at 3 p.m. ET

Where: Bryant-Denny Stadium

TV: SEC Network

Live Stream: SEC Network



The biggest storyline folks will gravitate to right out of the gates is quarterback. 

Saban himself said it all with a few words, per Bleacher Report's Marc Torrence:

It's true, as Jake Coker, Alec Morris, Cooper Bateman, David Cornwell and Blake Barnett continue to fight for the starting job.

Also, it's important to remember just one year ago, when Sims put in a horrific performance in the spring game and seemed to lose the battle before going on to lead the team to the national title game.

Still, Saturday is a way for Alabama to narrow down the field. Coker and Cornwell seem to lead the field, but any assumptions the former has a huge lead need to go out the window. All indications are Coker does not have a major lead, if any. A recent note by Cecil Hurt of Tuscaloosa News said this in a blunt manner:

No matter who steps up, they will have to work with a new-look offense.

Gone is running back T.J. Yeldon. Derrick Henry is still around and figures to be the lead back, but it will be interesting to see if the coaching staff trusts anyone to split the load with him as Yeldon did a season ago.

For his part, Henry is ready to assume the mantle of every-down starter and sounds eager to showcase his budding skills.

"I'm not where I want to be as a player and as a running back," Henry said per's Adam Rittenberg, "so every day I come here and approach the game as I would want to get better, be a complete back and be the player I want to be."

Also gone is Heisman Trophy finalist Amari Cooper, who caught 124 passes and 16 scores last year. The next closest, DeAndrew White, had 40 and four, respectively. White is also gone, as is Christion Jones, so offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin has his work cut out for him this weekend when it comes to sorting out the depth chart.

Robert Foster is one name to keep a close eye on, especially after Brad Everett of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette detailed how well the young wideout played in a recent scrimmage, garnering praise from Saban:

Personnel turnover isn't limited to the offensive side of the ball, though.

Perhaps second only in importance behind quarterback is the state of the secondary. Landon Collins is off to the NFL and the unit's lone returning starter, Cyrus Jones, has missed all the spring with an injury.

Young former standout recruits such as Tony Brown and Marlon Humphrey are in contention for starting gigs, even more so after Eddie Jackson made the switch to safety to help shore up depth at the position.

In front of the secondary in the trenches is another focal point to consider. Even if A'Shawn Robinson doesn't suit up, it opens things up for a player like Da'Shawn Hand, who looked promising in spot duty last season and may be even better with a full year of experience.

Again, the spring game won't set a whole lot in stone when it comes to final decisions by Saban and his staff.

Saturday is still a critical step for the program, though, as it continues to put a wealth of quarterback contenders through their paces and figures out things at critical positions.

If all goes according to plan, Saban and Co. will have a better idea about their depth chart and fans will get a serious preview of the program's future fortunes. 


Info courtesy of unless otherwise specified.

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Ohio State Coaches Get Emotional While Presenting Championship Rings to Players

It's been about three months since the Ohio State Buckeyes defeated the Oregon Ducks for the College Football Playoff National Championship.

On Friday, the Buckeyes released a powerful video of Urban Meyer and his staff presenting championship rings to their players.

The coaches told stories and shared personal experiences with each player before handing him the ring.

[Ohio State Buckeyes]

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Steve Spurrier Works Out Shirtless with South Carolina News Reporter

Every year, South Carolina head coach/red-faced he-man Steve Spurrier allows a reporter from The State newspaper to join him in his dojo for a session of intense training and spiritual introspection.

Or, more simply put, the two men get really sweaty and take their shirts off on camera.

It's a time-honored tradition, and this year The State's Josh Kendall (h/t took up the torch as Spurrier's lifting buddy/pain canvas.

Kendall posted video of him going through the workout with the nearly 70-year-old coach. At 41 years of age, Kendall writes that he still found himself lagging behind Spurrier, who lifted in a V-neck sweater vest.

"I consider myself in average shape for a 41-year-old man but only because the competition is not stout in a country where 70 percent of adults over the age of 20 are overweight and 35 percent are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention," Kendall writes. “I kept pace with Spurrier for a while but eventually he outlasted me in a series of low-weight, high-repetition lifts."

So what does Spurri-cising exactly entail, Kendall?

He does two sets of shoulder presses with barbells. Fifty with 15-pounders and 40 with 10-pounders. He does 200 shoulder shrugs with 30-pound barbells, two long sets of curls, 50 tricep extensions with a 25-pound barbell (I think it was 25 pounds; oxygen depletion may have affected my memory.) There are 100 toe raises with the 30-pound barbells; 22 minutes on the treadmill; 11 minutes on the stationary bike at a not-insignificant incline. At some point, I'm thinking it's never going to end, although I'm trying to keep a brave face.

As mandated by tradition, the two posed shirtless for the cameras after their workout, practically glowing with testosterone and post-lift pump.

Everybody wants to be Steve Spurrier, but don't nobody want to lift these not-so-heavy weights.

Dan is on Twitter, asking the good Lord to forgive Spurrier for these gains of which he's about to receive.

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Darian Owens to UCLA: Bruins Land 4-Star WR Prospect

After pulling in a topnotch recruiting class for 2015, UCLA football's 2016 class received a major boost Friday as it secured a commitment from wideout Darian Owens.

According to Justin Hopkins of 247Sports, the 4-star wide receiver chose the UCLA Bruins over a number of Pac-12 rivals, including the USC Trojans.

Per 247Sports, the Fresno, California, native is the No. 30 wide receiver and No. 136 overall player in his class. The 6-footer is coming off a fine high school season that saw him make 42 grabs for 882 yards and seven touchdowns.

Greg Biggins of is among those who believe UCLA did well to nab the talented pass-catcher:

Keeping a player of Owens' caliber in state is undoubtedly a major accomplishment for the Bruins, as is the fact that they were able to outflank the Trojans.

UCLA has no shortage of competition on the West Coast in terms of recruiting, but Owens' commitment is the latest example of the school's increased clout and profile.


Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter.

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