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OSU Mascot Brutus Attempts to Block Field Goal at Student Appreciation Practice

During Ohio State's Student Appreciation practice, Brutus decided to sacrifice his body to make a play.

As you can see in the photo above, Brutus laid out trying to block a field goal in what looked like an incredibly fun day of practice.

[Twitter, h/t BTN.com]

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LSU Spring Game 2014: Live Game Grades and Analysis

The first half of the LSU spring game has featured plenty of scoring, some of which has come from the defense. The second half had a running clock, but that did not slow down the passing attack. The white team, which included mostly the first unit players, defeated the purple 42-14.

 

Second half analysis for the LSU Tigers

Pass Offense: Jennings and Harris were both were impressive. Jennings tossed a touchdown pass to Travin Dural for the white team and Harris walked into the end zone off a bootleg. Hayden Rettig looked sharp in his limited snaps. Dural made difficult catches throughout the half in tight spaces. Rob Bolden and John Diarse also caught a pass.

Run Offense: LSU was able to establish some success on the ground  in the fourth quarter, ending a Rettig-lead drive with a touchdown rush from Kenny Hilliard. The offensive line for both the purple and white squads showed much improvement in the second half. 

Pass Defense: LSU's pass defense was not as sharp as it was in the first half, yet still performed admirably. Jennings, Harris and Rettig fit the ball in tight windows. LSU fans should be pleased with the performance of the defensive backs even with a few sitting out due to injury. 

Run Defense: The purple squad defensive line wore down in the fourth quarter, which came to no surprise. They had been on the field for most of the game. The white squad, like it had all day, dominated the line of scrimmage defensively.  

Special Teams: LSU remained perfect on extra points. 

Coaching: Miles switched Jennings back to the white squad and Harris to the purple. They both performed well. Cameron called mostly passes in the third quarter and mainly kept it on the ground in the fourth. Chavis put an impressive Ronnie Fiest at linebacker with the white squad to start the second half. 

First half analysis for the LSU Tigers

Pass Offense: Quarterback Anthony Jennings played for the white team in the first quarter and the purple for the second. He threw a interception to linebacker Debo Jones, which was returned 67 yards for a touchdown. In the second quarter, Kwon Alexander jumped an out-route for an easy pick-six. Jennings struggled to get in a rhythm and completed only six passes.

LSU's Brandon Harris was first to take the field with the purple squad. He started off 1-for-7 for three yards, but when heated up when he switched over to the white. The freshman impressively finished 8-of-18 for 122 yards and three touchdowns, throwing the ball where only his receiver could catch it. His most impressive trait was was ability to step up in the pocket and let the play develop. 

Run Offense: The Tigers have struggled to get anything going on the ground. LSU has only produced 71 yards on 28 carries from running backs, with no rush of over 10 yards. The Tigers have only three scholarship players taking snaps at running back in Terrence Magee, Kenny Hilliard and Melvin Jones. The offensive line for both teams have been average. The best rush was a Harris scramble for 41 yards.

Pass Defense: The LSU pass defense was dominant in the first half. Jones and Alexander's interception returns were impressive, but the entire secondary for both units showed great physicality in man coverage. The LSU receivers struggled to get separation. Danielle Hunter was a menace on the pass rush, raking in two sacks. All of Harris' touchdown passes were on perfectly thrown passes. 

Run Defense: LSU's run defense has been stout. Defensive tackles Christian LaCouture and Quentin Thomas of the white team and Maquedius Bain and Greg Gilmore of the purple have done a superb job of holding the point of attack. 

Special Teams: LSU punted eight times in the first half due to the offensive struggles early. To avoid risking injury, plays were blown dead soon after the ball was caught by the returner. LSU had Ed Paris, Tre'Davious White, John Diarse and Dural all catch punts. Paris fumbled his only attempt, which eventually led to a Harris touchdown pass. The LSU kickers were perfect on extra points and no field goals were attempted.   

Coaching: Les Miles had the decision to switch to putting Harris with the white team, which ignited the offense. Offensive coordinator Cam Cameron called mostly pass plays, but was able to keep the defense honest with the run. Defensive coordinator John Chavis kept his playbook simple, rarely calling blitzes. 

 

 

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Kevin Dillman to Nebraska: Cornhuskers Land 3-Star QB Prospect

The Nebraska Cornhuskers scored a major recruiting victory on Saturday by landing Swedish quarterback Kevin Dillman during his visit to Lincoln.

Dillman announced his commitment via Twitter:

Dillman told the media during his visit that his relationship with Nebraska offensive coordinator Tim Beck and the overall quality of his visit were strong factors in his decision, according to Mike Schaefer of 247 Sports:

"Me and my family are on a visit and it's been a great visit," Dillman said. "I've had a relationship with coach (Tim) Beck for a long time. They did a great job of recruiting me."

A 3-star composite quarterback out of Denton, Texas (Guyer High School), Dillman was a coveted prospect who received offers from schools such as Arizona, Arizona State, Arkansas and California. He totaled 13 offers and was the No. 238-ranked player in the country and No. 9 dual-threat quarterback. 

Standing at 6'4" and 220 pounds, Dillman's dual-threat skill set makes him an ideal fit in the Cornhuskers offense upon arrival. He was once a 5-star prospect at 247 Sports, but an Achilles injury his junior year seemingly impacted the rating as he missed time, according to Adam Boedker ofThe Dallas Morning News.

As ESPN's Max Olson illustrates, Dillman is quite the intriguing story:

Dillman came to America from Sweden as a foreign exchange student his freshman year, impressed coaches, went back and became a full United States citizen and is now the Cornhuskers' next big thing under center.

Speaking of Nebraska, the big signing is the seventh for the Cornhuskers in the 2015 class, which puts them at No. 2 in the Big Ten and No. 11 overall—up four spots in 247 Sports' rankings.

Dillman will have to battle the likes of Tommy Armstrong and others at the position once he arrives on campus, not to mention help to fill the shoes of names of past greats such as Taylor Martinez in one of the nation's top conferences.

 

Note: All info courtesy of 247 Sports.

 

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Oklahoma State Football: 5 Players Who Have Stepped Up This Spring

With the Orange Blitz spring practice blowout happening this weekend, now is the time to assess which players have shown the most improvement during this early portion of Oklahoma State football.

Now, obviously lots of players are going to improve, that's the point of practice; however, I've tried to narrow it down to five players who have either stepped into a new leadership role or shown a surprising spike in development.

Let's get on to the five players who have made a big impact this spring.

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

It's finally here...football season. 

Well, it's spring football season. 

But why fuss with the details? 

As of now, Michigan coach Brady Hoke is probably looking for signs of improvement, especially after 2013's 7-6 effort that was capped by a 31-14 Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl loss to Kansas State. 

But forget that—it's time to look ahead. 

Freddy Canteen, an early enrollee, has made a little noise within the past weeks. He's one to watch. 

Devin Funchess, a soon-to-be-junior, should also command attention. As a sophomore, he was one of the best TE/WR combos in all of college football. 

Shane Morris and Devin Gardner are battling for the No. 1 quarterback job. This afternoon's scrimmage should provide insight as to who's the real deal and who's bound for backup duties. 

Of course, the main goal for Team 135 is show to progress on both sides of the ball. 

Catch the televised practice/scrimmage at 2 p.m. ET on Big Ten Network. Keep tabs on this live blog for the latest everything on the 2014 Michigan Wolverines spring football game. 

Follow Bleacher Report's Michigan Wolverines football writer Adam Biggers on Twitter @AdamBiggers81

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

In the form of the 2014 LSU National L-Club Spring Game, football is officially returning to Tiger Stadium and Baton Rouge, La.

Following five weeks of practice, the LSU football team is ending the spring session with the annual intrasquad scrimmage.

The Tigers must replace Zach Mettenberger, Jeremy Hill, Jarvis Landry, Odell Beckham, Anthony Jennings and a handful of other key starters next season, so the spring game provides an initial look at how Les Miles and Co. are preparing for the 2014 campaign.

The spring game kicks off at 2 p.m. ET (1 p.m. local time), and GeauxZone (subscription needed) is carrying a radio feed of the scrimmage.

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LSU Spring Game 2014: Date, Start Time and More

Even though the LSU Tigers were 10-3 in 2013, the program didn't reach the standards most expect out of Baton Rouge each year. The three regular-season losses were the most the program has had since 2009.

As the spring game approaches, head coach Les Miles and his staff are putting the final touches on the preparation for the upcoming campaign. There's obviously still a lot of moving parts. The current recruiting class will be a factor in the spring game and the season.

Per David Ching of ESPN.com, Miles said:

I think we’re trying make a determination as we design the summer plans that, 'This is where this guy’s going to be, this is where this guy’s going to be’ and how to operate it. 

I think the skill players on offense are going to be musts and I think the skill players on defense, with the safeties stepping in there and being able to play -- I just think the recruiting class will hit us just where we need to be hit.

With uncertainty at quarterback, the team may have to lean on its running game and defense even more than normal. All of the positions will be of interest to fans, but undoubtedly, the quarterback hopefuls will be under a microscope at the spring practice.

What comes of this situation will likely dictate how far the Tigers can go in the rugged SEC.

Here's the date and time for the spring game:

DateLocationTime   Sat, Apr 5 Baton Rouge, La. (Tiger Stadium)   1 p.m.

 

Players to Watch

Anthony Jennings

With Zach Mettenberger moving on to the NFL, the QB torch is being passed in Baton Rouge. Who will carry it? That's exactly what Miles must figure out before the start of the 2014 season.

In relief of an injured Mettenberger, Jennings led a game-winning comeback against Arkansas. He also started the team's 21-14 win over Iowa in the Outback Bowl.

With that experience, he should be able to hold off early enrollee Brandon Harris. Miles would probably prefer to hand the ball over to a player who has had some major experience. In the spring game, Jennings needs to show his growth from last year and lock down the position.

 

Maquedius Bain

Bain redshirted last season, but he has the size, strength and quickness to be a major force in the middle of the defensive line.

Carter Bryant of Bleacher Report said this about the 6'3" 303-pound defensive tackle:

"Maquedius Bain has the talent to be the next great LSU defensive tackle." 

The Tigers have a long lineage of dominant defensive tackles. Bain has the physical tools to become another link in the glorious chain. We'll see if he can flash some of his abilities during the spring game.

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Ole Miss Spring Game 2014: Date, Start Time, TV Info and More

In 2013, the Ole Miss Rebels showed some improvement from the previous season. The 8-5 record was the program's best mark since 2009, and the year culminated with a second consecutive bowl appearance and victory.

Looking ahead to the 2014 campaign, the Rebels would love to turn the corner and become one of the upper echelon teams in the SEC. Head coach Hugh Freeze seems to have the long-term mission in mind with this tweet:

That said, every stakeholder would like to see things progress sooner rather than later.

The spring game will give fans their first opportunity to see this year's squad in action. Here's how you can watch:

DateTimeTV Network and Live Stream Sat., April 5 1 p.m. CSS/ESPN3

 

Players to Watch

Bo Wallace

The junior quarterback certainly had his moments in 2013. He nearly out-dueled Johnny Manziel in a 41-38 loss to Texas A&M on October 12. The following week, Wallace helped guide the team to its biggest win of the season.

He threw for 346 yards as the Rebels knocked off No. 6 LSU 27-24. In order for the Rebels to become part of the SEC elite, they need for Wallace to become a star. As an upperclassmen, he must take an even bigger role as a leader of the team.

Jon Cooper of Saturday Down South wrote this about the quarterback's maturation and upcoming campaign:

Wallace made strides and better decisions from 2012 to 2013; still, there’s much more he can improve upon. Wallace is one of the handful of proven veteran returning quarterback starters, and the amount of success the Rebels’ team achieves will be resting on Wallace’s shoulders.

All eyes will be on him during the spring practice as well as during the season.

 

Robert Nkemdiche

The Rebels' prized recruit from 2013 is heading into his sophomore season in Oxford. With Jadeveon Clowney moving on to the NFL, Nkemdiche could make strides toward becoming the SEC's top pass-rusher.

If Nkemdiche can become an elite force on the defensive line, the Rebels can take that next step. His play is to the defense what Wallace's performance is to the offense.

As a freshman, Nkemdiche had just two sacks. He'll need to be close to double digits in 2014 to satisfy critics and pundits.

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

Last season was a major disappointment for the Michigan Wolverines' football program. After starting the year ranked 17th in the AP Top 25, the Wolverines finished the season unranked with a 7-6 record.

They were handled in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl by Kansas State to put a capper on matters last year.

Injuries and inconsistent play were the primary culprits in the issues of 2013. But that was then and hope springs eternal before the annual Michigan Spring Game.

Head coach Brady Hoke will work to have his group better prepared to meet the expectations of the fan base, and the program.

Here's the information needed to catch the first publicized practice of the season for the Wolverines.

DateTime (ET)TV Network and Live Stream Sat., April 5 2 p.m. Big Ten Network/BTN2Go

 

Players to Watch

Devin Gardner

The Wolverines quarterback showed his grit and weaknesses last season. Though he did throw for 2,960 yards and 21 touchdowns, while running for 483 yards and 11 touchdowns, his decision-making was sometimes bewildering.

Some of those poor decisions led to his 11 interceptions and ill-advised scramble attempts. Nick Baumgardner of MLive.com said this about Gardner's struggles:

Gardner had moments of brilliance in 2013, but he also had plenty of struggles. He threw 11 interceptions, had nightmarish showings in losses to Michigan State and Iowa, struggled in wins over UConn and Northwestern (at least in regulation), and had three first-half turnovers in a loss at Penn State.

Perhaps because of some of the issues Gardner has had, Hoke has announced that there will be an open competition for the starting QB position.

That said, Gardner proved to anyone who was watching that he had the heart to lead this football team. Playing with an injured foot that would require offseason surgery, he threw for 451 yards and four touchdowns in the narrow 42-41 loss to Ohio State in the regular season finale.

With that as his last game of the season, he gave Wolverines fans something to look forward to. We'll see if we can see glimpses of his continued maturation in the spring game.

 

Jake Ryan

Moving Ryan to inside linebacker could help the Wolverines' entire defense.

Ryan is one of the team's best playmakers on defense, though he was slowed by the recovery from an ACL injury in 2013.

Placing him in the middle has him acting as one of the unit's leaders. It also puts him in more of a read-and-react situation. Per Brian Bennett of ESPN.com, Ryan seems to like his new role:

“It’s been different, because now I’m blitzing up the middle. And last year I was looking at the tight and now I’m reading the running back. But I like it a lot better because you’re in the mix of everything. It’s cool.” 

In 2012, Ryan had 16 tackles for a loss, 4.5 sacks and four forced fumbles. The Wolverines are hoping to see him return to that form for the upcoming season. The spring game might give fans their first clue.

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Arkansas Football: Position Battle Tracker for 2014 Season

The Arkansas Razorbacks are in the midst of spring practice. To say that there's a lot of competition going on would be an understatement.

After one of the worst seasons in school history, head coach Bret Bielema and his staff are searching for answers to the laundry list of problems. Because 2013 was such a bad year, there are open battles this offseason for every position in the hope that players will step up and make 2014 much better.

Here we take a look at the five main position battles this offseason. A lot of the players expected to be right in the middle of those battles are incoming freshmen who will not arrive until August, so our look covers the entire offseason leading up to the opener at Auburn on Aug. 30. 

With that said, it's time to go into the battle zone.

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Blake Bell Injury: Updates on Sooners TE's Knee and Return

Blake Bell's transition to tight end may take a little longer than first thought. The Oklahoma Sooners senior will miss spring practice after injuring his knee, per The Oklahoman's Jason Kersey.

Carey Murdock of SoonerScoop.com reported that Bell suffered a sprained knee and that he won't require surgery:

For the past three years, Bell has been listed as a quarterback for Oklahoma. He started eight games last season, throwing for 1,648 yards, 12 touchdowns and five interceptions. With the emergence of Trevor Knight, though, Bell was pushed to the periphery.

As a result, he will be playing tight end for his final collegiate season. The spring represented a great time for Bell to learn and get a grasp on his new position heading into the 2014 campaign.

Now without that time, it will be slightly harder for Bell to make the switch. He'll need to accelerate his progress come summer time before the season gets underway.

In the end, it shouldn't turn into a major problem, especially considering Bell doesn't need surgery to repair his knee.

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