By Kirk Haaland, CycloneFanatic.com Fan Blogger
I would love to be able to offer up some unique takes and storylines from my observations from the annual spring game this past Saturday. The problem is that I was unable to attend due to family reasons. So instead, I’m going to take the completely opposite angle and draw as many blind conclusions as possible based solely from the box score. I literally have avoided all opinionated coverage of this to make this process as useful as possible. Upon doing so I am gladly opening myself to criticism for many of you to give me the actual story. This is possibly a futile exercise but the spring game is clearly the top story of the week and this is the only potentially interesting way for me to cover it; blind.
Let’s go ahead and start off with the clear problem with evaluating spring games that we all are very aware of. If a great offensive play is made then that’s awesome, right? Well, maybe. What if it was just a bad defensive play or missed assignment? Now consider the guys throwing the ball are wearing red-shirts and essentially playing two-hand touch football. These are very treacherous waters to be swimming in if you’ve observed what you are critiquing, let alone going down the path that I am about to embark upon.
All of that said; let us go forth with the stats that jumped out at me:
• All of the quarterbacks combined to complete 62 percent of their passes. In an offense that emphasizes accuracy on short passing plays and relies on receivers making plays with the ball delivered in the exact spot necessary that is a good sign.
• There were only five total penalties for a total of 45 yards on the day. While much of the game isn’t the typical game day feel that causes penalties it is still football in April, which is typically quite conducive to sloppiness. Navy led the NCAA with the fewest penalties per game last season with 3.43.
• The offenses combined to convert third downs on 15-of-30 occasions. Only five teams in the NCAA were able to accomplish that throughout the 2009 season (obviously more difficult over a 12-14 game span).
• The offenses also combined to score 100 percent of the time that they entered the red zone (five out of five).
• In search of a number two running back, James White totaled 97 yards on 17 carries (for both the Gold and Cardinal teams). Jeff Woody also had a good statistical day with 71 yards on 14 carries. That is especially impressive because Woody isn’t the type of back to break off huge gainers to skew his average yards per carry as greatly.
• Darius Reynolds, Donnie Jennert, Sedrick Johnson, Collin Franklin, and Darius Darks all had four or more catches for 38 yards or more. Some of that data will be off just a tad due to players receiving more offensive snaps by playing for both teams, but it is still a good sign that the ball was spread around so evenly.
• Roosevelt Maggitt and Patrick Neal getting sacks from the defensive end spot that will be so crucial to generate pressure in 2010.
That’s what I’ve got for my blind analysis, now the question is: Is any of it useful and is any of it such a revelation that you didn’t notice while at the game on Saturday?
Another week, another departure Everyone had speculated about Chris Colvin leaving since the informal suspension following the Duke game in January. His reason for leaving due to style of play is probably right next to the homesick template in the AD’s press release folder. Either that or it is another canned excuse for a player to give a coach, but it’s pretty obvious it isn’t the actual reason. On a side note, the fact that Colvin has “advisors” probably isn’t all that crazy of a thought but it still sounded strange to me.
The one thing that has been obvious to many of us on CF is the relationship with Colvin to Daniyal Robinson, making Colvin’s impending transfer all the more likely when Robinson departed. Yet, no one in the media has talked about that angle that I have heard. The question I would have is if Colvin would have done the same thing had Robinson stuck around.
I think it’s safe to say that the spring recruiting period hasn’t quite turned out the way many had hoped. All along I had planned on the best case scenario being to sign Jordan Railey as planned and then ad John Wilkins (forward from SECC in Burlington) and Bo Barnes (prep shooting guard from Arizona where the main competition is Hawaii). At this point that seems like a long-shot. Barnes is still a legitimate possibility however Wilkins seems to be less and less likely with every passing day. Next year will be interesting to say the least.
Last week’s question: Who and when was the last defensive Cyclone football player to garner All-American honors?
Answer: Mike Stensrud, Defensive Tackle in 1978.
This week’s question: Can you name the three men’s Cyclone basketball players that are the highest on the career scoring charts that never scored 30 points in a single game?