NCAA Football News

Ohio State and Urban Meyer Score Big Recruiting Wins at Spring Game

Ohio State's spring game was an opportunity to once again celebrate the achievements of 2014 while getting an early look at what's in store for 2015. Along the way the Buckeyes made strides toward 2016 and beyond, landing two key commitments to future recruiting classes.

Offensive lineman Jack Wohlabaugh joined OSU's 2016 class prior to Saturday's scrimmage, while cornerback Marcus Williamson committed to the Buckeyes afterward.

Both players were on hand for Ohio State's spring game, which drew a national-record crowd of 99,391 to Ohio Stadium.

Wohlabaugh, a 3-star prospect from Stow, Ohio, committed only moments after being offered by OSU on Saturday morning, per Tim May of the Columbus Dispatch. He is the son of Dave Wohlabaugh, who spent nine seasons in the NFL as a center. The 6'3", 280-pound guard is rated by 247Sports as the No. 564 overall prospect in the 2016 class as well as the 30th-best player at his position and the No. 18 player in Ohio.

Williamson, from Westerville, Ohio, has a 4-star rating and ranks 87th in the 2017 class. He's the nation's fifth-best cornerback and ranked fourth in Ohio. The 5'10", 178-pound Williamson, who has been clocked at 4.45 seconds in the 40-yard dash, also had offers from Michigan and Michigan State.

Ohio State now has 11 commitments for the 2016 class, which 247Sports has ranked third overall. The Buckeyes' 2017 class now includes five commitments, all of whom are 4-star prospects or better, and is ranked No. 1.

 

Follow Brian J. Pedersen on Twitter at @realBJP.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Ohio State Football: Winners and Losers from Buckeyes' 2015 Spring

Urban Meyer and Ohio State officially finished up spring practice as Cardale Jones guided the Gray Team to a 17-14 victory over the Scarlet team in the Buckeyes' annual spring game on Saturday.

But as Ohio State continues to gear up for a title defense in 2015, Meyer feels that his team has a long way to go.

"As a team, we did not improve," Meyer said of spring camp on Saturday, according to Austin Ward of ESPN.com

Who improved and who failed to take a step forward this spring?

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LSU Football 2015: Winners and Losers from Tigers' Spring Practices, Game

The LSU Tigers finished off their 2015 edition of spring practice at the National L Club Spring Game.

Saturday's action provided a final chance to see some winners and losers from both the session as a whole and the intrasquad scrimmage. A few players displayed a terrific month-plus of work, while some individuals and collective units have plenty of improvements to make during the coming months.

Perhaps most importantly, though, the Tigers exited the spring without major injuries hovering over the roster.

Please note that this article takes a look at the entire spring, not just the game itself.

Who do you think showed out during the spring? Head to the comments section and add your thoughts.

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Auburn Football 2015: Winners and Losers from Tigers' Spring Practices, Game

Team Auburn defeated Team Tigers 24-14 in the program's 2015 A-Day. But as is always the case this time of year, the final score will pale in importance to a valuable spring that was only capped off by Saturday's scrimmage.

There are questions that remain regarding certain starting spots that may not be answered until the regular season, but a handful of players have helped their cause over the spring by standing out from the rest. It can be a discouraging time for others for the very same reason, as injuries and poor play can allow once-thought starters to lose playing time simply due to others stepping in front of them on the depth chart.

The fall is when it all comes together, but the foundation for great teams is laid in the spring. Auburn has plenty of foundation to lay on the heels of an 8-5 season and a complete re-tooling of the defense under Will Muschamp.

Now that spring football is in the books, let's take a look at the biggest winners and losers from the spring in The Plains.

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Jeremy Johnson Poised to Make Cam Newton-Like Impact for Auburn in 2015

Five years ago, an unheralded quarterback stepped into Gus Malzahn’s offense and propelled Auburn back into the national spotlight.

Cam Newton spent only one season on the Plains, but his impact will never be forgotten. The gregarious 6’5”, 240-pound quarterback won the Heisman Trophy and led Auburn to a national championship, throwing for 2,854 yards with 30 touchdowns against seven interceptions and rushing for 1,473 yards and 20 touchdowns on the ground.

Newton is a superstar who has validated the Carolina Panthers taking him as the top overall pick of the 2011 NFL draft, and any comparison to him is inherently unfair.

But in Jeremy Johnson, Auburn might have found the next best thing. If Saturday’s A-Day Game is any indication, Johnson has the potential to make a Newton-like impact for Malzahn and the Tigers in 2015.

The junior had a breakout day, completing 14 of 22 passes for 252 yards and two touchdowns.

Those are impressive numbers and even more so when you consider that Johnson didn’t take a single snap after halftime, compiling all of his numbers in the first half.

Johnson displayed clear separation from fellow quarterback competitor Sean White, who completed 15 of 19 passes for 109 yards. At 6’5”, 230 pounds, his frame is almost identical to Newton’s, and his game is impressive as well.

“He’s got a lot of experience,” Malzahn told Maria Taylor of the SEC Network on the game telecast. “Even though he’s been the backup, he has as much experience as anyone with practice and game snaps. I thought he did a good job today and we have high expectations for him.”

Saturday, Johnson made all the throws. He showed the ability to check down in Malzahn’s offense when necessary, but he also displayed an impressive touch with the deep ball.

He tossed a 35-yard strike down the right sideline to a covered D’Haquille Wiliams for a touchdown and a 43-yard pass to Myron Burton for another touchdown.

“They’re going to be part of the game plan this season,” he told Taylor of the deep passes. “The ones that I missed, I promise I’ll complete when it comes to game time. I want to give good receivers a chance and let them make plays.”

While Malzahn’s offense will always be based around the run game, Johnson’s presence gives it more of an air-it-out feel. Auburn must replace NFL-bound Sammie Coates, but Williams will be an excellent deep threat, and Burton showed signs Saturday of being a dependable target as well.

That’s important while Auburn learns how to replace the SEC’s leading rusher, Cameron Artis-Payne. Junior-college transfer Jovon Robinson is an impressive presence, and tailback Roc Thomas had his moments Saturday as well. But both could experience an adjustment while carrying a bigger load in Auburn’s backfield.

Johnson has excellent speed and can lower the shoulder on defenders, but he is a very different running threat (and player) than the man he’ll replace, Nick Marshall. Last fall, Marshall threw for 2,532 yards with 20 touchdowns against seven interceptions and added 798 rushing yards and 11 scores.

But he was a converted defensive back whose NFL future, if there is one, is likely as a cornerback. Johnson is a different animal, with size and speed much like Newton’s.

Clearly, Saturday’s stats must be taken with a scoop of salt. New Auburn defensive coordinator Will Muschamp still has work to do with his new charges, particularly in the secondary. And the divided, no-contact nature of games like this can make it difficult to evaluate plenty of matters, including Johnson’s running skills.

But it’s clear that Johnson isn’t afraid of the spotlight. He started 2014’s season opener against Arkansas when Marshall was suspended following an offseason arrest for marijuana possession and looked plenty comfortable, completing 12 of 16 passes for 243 yards and two touchdowns in a 45-21 victory.

Suggesting he’ll duplicate Newton’s accomplishments in one season might be a stretch. Suggesting Auburn fans get a sense of déjà vu toward 2010? That isn’t so far-fetched, not at all.

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LSU Spring Game 2015: Recap, Highlights and Twitter Reaction

The LSU quarterback battle took center stage during Saturday's spring game at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, as the White Team defeated the Purple Team by a score of 45-6. 

Junior Anthony Jennings took the bulk of the snaps last season, but sophomore Brandon Harris showed some flashes of brilliance when given opportunities. They are engaged in an open competition, and they both did some very good things Saturday.

Here is a look at their stats, courtesy of LSU Football on Twitter:

Jennings was excellent from jump street as he completed a 33-yard pass to junior tight end Colin Jeter before throwing a 37-yard touchdown to sophomore wide receiver Malachi Dupre.

Lyons Yellin of WWL-TV was extremely impressed by the Marietta, Georgia, native's hot start:

With Jennings and Harris each getting reps at quarterback for Team White throughout the opening half, the latter wanted to prove that he could match the incumbent starter.

That is precisely what Harris did when he also threw a touchdown to Dupre late in the first quarter from 35 yards out to make it 14-0.

The sophomore added another touchdown strike early in the second frame as he hit junior Travin Dural for 41 yards. Cody Worsham of TigerRag.com provided a Vine of Harris' perfectly placed pass down the sideline:

After a five-yard touchdown run by sophomore Darrel Williams made it 28-0 in favor of Team White, Jennings re-entered the game and connected on a 70-yard bomb to Dural.

Although he had to settle for a field goal, it capped a great half for the signal-callers as both Jennings and Harris posted some fantastic numbers, according to LSU Football on Twitter:

The quarterback situation got even more interesting in the second half as freshman Justin McMillan entered the mix. On his very first play from scrimmage, he made it 38-0 in favor of Team White with a 50-yard touchdown pass to junior tight end DeSean Smith.

As Jeff Duncan of NOLA.com pointed out, McMillan's pass had some heat behind it:

The first notable miscue among the quarterbacks came courtesy of Harris at the end of the third quarter as freshman cornerback Kevin Toliver II picked him off.

It wasn't a great pass by Harris, but Toliver made the play happen by being physical with the receiver, as ESPN.com's David Ching suggested:

Jennings capitalized in the fourth quarter as he went on to throw his second touchdown of the day in the form of an eight-yard pass to Dural.

Team Purple was able to prevent the shutout when freshman fullback David Ducre rushed for a two-yard touchdown as time expired, but the spring game was all about Team White and the development of LSU's quarterbacks.

While the Tigers are traditionally a run-first team, Leonard Fournette and the running backs took a backseat to the passing game.

Not only did that benefit the quarterbacks, but it also allowed the receivers to shine as both Dural and Dupre managed over 100 yards and two touchdowns apiece:

It should also be noted that LSU's traditionally great secondary had some issues Saturday. Some of that can be attributed to the fact that the receivers played well, but that will certainly bear watching as the regular season gets closer.

Head coach Les Miles always tends to have excellent defenses, though, which is why much of the focus will be on the quarterback situation moving forward.

There may be more questions than answers regarding the quarterback battle since both Jennings and Harris performed admirably, but having two potential starters is a good problem for the Tigers to have considering how much they struggled at the position last season.

 

Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter

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Ohio State Spring Game 2015: Recap, Highlights and Twitter Reaction

Head coach Urban Meyer's Ohio State Buckeyes began the march to their title defense at Saturday's spring game, where Team Gray defeated Team Scarlet, 17-14.

Cardale Jones was the star of the event, playing all four quarters and throwing a couple of deep touchdown passes to Corey Smith for Team Gray. 

For Jones, the event served as a way to take an early lead in the three-way quarterback battle yet to unfold, while Smith used the platform to make his case as the No. 1 wideout after offseason departures.

Brandon Castel of The-Ozone.net revealed Smith's final line and award afterward:

Saturday was a day of celebration and moving forward, as Bill Rabinowitz of The Columbus Dispatch illustrates:

As Sports Illustrated's Richard Deitsch notes in response to a tweet by Yahoo Sports' Pat Forde, fans flocked far and wide to see the defending champions begin their next campaign:

It started with the infamous Oklahoma drill at the 50-yard line, finalized with Jones taking on another quarterback to rile up the players before the actual game.

During the pregame interview, Meyer stressed the importance of finding a guy who could take the top off the defense with Devin Smith on his way to the NFL.

Corey Smith, who caught just 20 passes a season ago, reeled in a 46-yard bomb from Jones on the first drive in response. It seemed to lead to a touchdown reception by Jalin Marshall, but the referees later corrected the call and ruled him down to keep the game tied.

Joey Bosa and the defenses dominated after the non-touchdown until late in the second quarter, when Jones unleashed a 58-yard pass to Smith to put Team Gray up 10-0 going into the break.

Bleacher Report's Adam Kramer put it best:

Smith seemed to be Jones' favorite target on the day, although he did attempt to get the ball deep down the field to Curtis Samuel, Marshall and others in the first half.

The early reviews, such as one by Men of the Scarlet and Gray's Jeremiah, hinted that Smith has what it takes to step into the void and act as the No. 1:

There is competition, though.

For instance, Terry McLaurin brought in a clutch touchdown pass from Stephen Collier to end the half at 10-7, as captured by Ohio State on BTN:

Speaking of the half, Jones put on a show then, too, throwing a football 74 yards to best former Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith in the longest pass competition. 

Bleacher Report's Ben Axelrod offered thoughts on the matter:

Jones remained in the game for the second half with J.T. Barrett and Braxton Miller still nursing injuries.

Most of the other players on the field to run out the clock were younger, though. This was no surprise, as Meyer wants to keep his players both healthy and hungry. He spoke to Sports Illustrated's Pete Thamel about the latter before the game:

I think we’ll be fine offensively and defensively. Scheme-wise, I’m pushing them [to be] on the cutting edge. On offense, we have two new coaches who came from two great programs. On defense, I love our staff, we’re trying to do more stuff. I’m not worried about that. I’m worried about the development of the young guys, and will we still be that same hungry team that showed up in New Orleans and then Dallas?

Collier and other young players took control in the third frame, which happened quickly with no stoppages thanks to a rolling clock. Team Scarlet scored as the frame ended, giving it a 14-10 lead.

Jones and Smith took a late drive the distance, though, as the two converted a 37-yard deep connection to take back the lead, 17-14. Castel explained the degree of difficulty on the throw for Jones:

A last-ditch effort in response from Collier fell short as the Buckeyes' pass rush ramped up to secure the victory for Team Gray.

Ohio State on BTN captured Meyer's thoughts on the game afterward:

For the Buckeyes, the tire has hit pavement for their title defense. Meyer's defense looks as strong as ever, and Saturday proved that his offense will continue to click right along, no matter which of the three talented quarterbacks winds up winning the job.

The road is long throughout the summer for a Buckeyes roster with plenty of jobs still up for grabs. Saturday was a great start and a reaffirmation that Ohio State remains one of the deepest teams in the nation across the board.

 

Info courtesy of OhioStateBuckeyes.com unless otherwise specified. 

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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 Rivals.com, 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.

AL.com'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 WatchND.tv (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 UND.com: 

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: btn2go.com

 

Preview

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 ESPN.com'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.

 

Info courtesy of OhioStateBuckeyes.com unless otherwise specified.

 

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