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April 15, 2013

Analysis: Final grades for spring

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Now that the Spring Game is over, it's time to grade each position based on their performance in the scrimmage, as well as the spring season as a whole.

Quarterbacks: C-

  • - Throughout spring practice, we saw Bobby Eveld start to distance himself from Matt Floyd and take the reigns as the No. 1 QB.

    Both were graded on a curve due to the new offense that has been implemented. Coach Willie Taggart has talked about how both have made progress, but they aren't consistent enough yet.

    At the actual Spring Game, Floyd looked like the better of the two quarterbacks, but you have to take that with a grain of salt considering how the teams were split up. Bobby Eveld had a tough day, completing 14 of his 24 passes for 143 yards and one interception.

    Eveld struggled with accuracy all game long, throwing passes too high and some behind his intended targets. Floyd finished the game 9-of-16 for 208 yards and two touchdowns.

    While Floyd's stats look pretty, they don't show that he fumbled four snaps in the game. That is a huge concern moving forward.

    Running backs: C-

  • - Willie Davis had a game high 39 yards for the green team, with Marcus Shaw following suit with 33 of his own.

    Taggart said after the game that he felt the running backs struggled with patience and finding the holes that the offensive line opened up for them.

    There were some flashes of good runs, but nothing special from the backs. They were about average, hence the C- grade.

    Offensive line: B+

  • - This group played surprisingly well in the Spring Game, especially since they were going up against such a good defensive line.

    Brynjar Gundmundsson went out after the first couple of plays with an apparent knee injury, but was able to return the game shortly after.

    The line received praise from Taggart and Floyd after the game. Both talked about how well they protected the quarterback and opened holes for the running backs.

    Tight Ends/Wide Receivers: B

  • -The grade would be higher, however the tight ends struggled during the spring game. Sean Price and Mike McFarland didn't have nearly the impact that was expected. Add that onto the fact that Price was called for two false starts in the game as well. Those guys will come around however, as will the rest of the offense.

    Andre Davis was an animal all spring long, and he continued that success in the spring game.

    On the first play from scrimmage for the White Team, Floyd connected with Andre Davis on an 85-yard touchdown pass to set the tone. Then later in the game, Andre Davis went up for a jump ball and ripped it out of the hands of Josh Brown in the end zone. Deonte Welch, Clinton Jones, and Derrick Hopkins all had solid performances as well. This offense is going to have some weapons at receiver, regardless of who is starting at quarterback come the fall.

    Defensive Line: A-

  • - We've been saying all spring how the defensive line is easily the deepest position on the team. That was further proven in the spring game.

    When you split them up, they are still equally effective. Julius Forte, Aaron Lynch, Luke Sager, and Tevin Mims - you know, the usual suspects - had a great performance in the spring game.

    A couple of plays stuck out for me from the D-line. In the first half, RB Michael Pierre took a hand off up the middle, and Sager took one arm, wrapped it around Pierre and took him to the ground.

    All that play did was prove just how much power Sager has in the trenches. Another play that stuck out was the sack of Tommy Eveld made by Aaron Lynch. Lynch blew right through Mak Djulbegovic and took down the younger Eveld. Lynch might lead the conference in sacks next season. He's just that good.

    Defensive Backs: C+

  • - This was a huge question mark coming into spring. I didn't really see anything special from the defensive backs in the Spring Game.

    I also didn't see anything that was so terrible either. Andre Davis out jumped Josh Brown in the end-zone, but Brown wont be the only DB that Andre Davis goes against who gets out jumped.

    There were plays here and there where receivers found soft spots in the secondary, but nothing that was too out of the ordinary. Due to that, I'm giving them a C+.

    Linebackers: B+

  • - The linebackers might have been the most consistent unit on the field on Saturday. Outside of the first play from scrimmage when Hans Louis got beat for an 85-yard touchdown, they were very good.

    DeDe Lattimore was a force in the run game tallying up five tackles which was tied with Reshard Cliett and Elkino Watson for the white team lead. Cliett also grabbed the only interception of the game.

    Louis, a walk on, earned a starting role this spring, and he showed us why in the game by garnering a game-high six tackles, including a fumble recovery and two tackles for loss.

    Star of the game: Offense

    The offensive star of the game was clearly Andre Davis. He had a game high 90 yards receiving on three receptions. Two of those receptions were touchdowns. Davis set the tone early by showing off his speed with an 85-yard touchdown pass on the first play from scrimmage.

    That was just only the first, however. He also added a score on a fade route that he caught over Josh Brown.

    Star of the game: Defense

    The defensive star of the game was Reshard Cliett. Cliett had five tackles, which was one short of the game high. One of those tackles went for a loss.

    In addition, while being matched up with Derrick Hopkins, he was able to intercept an under thrown Bobby Eveld pass for the games only interception.

    Josh Appel is the Senior Writer for RunningtheBulls.com. He is a student broadcaster at the University of South Florida. You can contact him at Josh@RunningtheBulls.com. Follow Josh on Twitter at @JoshAppel.



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