Apr 29, 2012
Offense wins the Blue and White game
Things were made especially interesting with a new scoring system in place that made for a true offense vs. defense setup. Both teams were given points for scoring, while points were also awarded to the offense for big plays, first downs, etc. The defense got points for sacks, tackles for loss, turnovers, points, three-and-outs, etc.
The end result was a 58-57 win for the offense, which came on the basically the last place of the game. It was awesome, and without a doubt the best spring game setup I've ever seen. All in all, just a tremendously well-done event.
But let's talk about the game position-by-position.
Let me preface by saying that I have fully been on board with the "redshirt Keeton, play Kennedy the senior" philosophy. My feeling is that it basically would assure that Utah State has a star under center for the next four years with Kennedy as a senior, and Keeton's last three years of eligibility after that.
Based on today's game, as well as everything I've heard and read all spring, I'm not sure that can happen anymore. Kennedy didn't look great for a few stretches, which was very unlike the AFK we saw last year. While we all know AFK is a total gamer, and comes through when it matters, Keeton was so far ahead of him today. And based on my affinity for Kennedy, that's tough for me to say.
Keeton was just spot freaking on all day though. He seems to see the field a lot better than he did in games last year, extended plays with his feet with regularity, directed receivers to open spots and hitting seemingly every pass right on point. Kennedy still showed flashes of what earned him the AFK nickname, but Keeton was essentially perfect.
Kerwynn Williams was one of the guys who barely played, if at all. Joe Hill, Joey DeMartino, Robert Marshall and Tavarreon Dickerson took the bulk of the snaps Saturday. My thoughts go like this:
Joe Hill is FAST!!! He looks to be the new Michael Smith as the burner, but I honestly think Hill is faster. He has a long stride, so he might not be as agile in traffic, but give him a hole to run through and he'll accelerate through it with insane speed.
DeMartino was solid too. He'd make a solid No. 3 option and looked quicker than I remember him being.
Robert Marshall is still the bruiser that he's been. Those short-yardage, lower your head and go after it type runs should be his every time around.
Dickerson's potential is stellar. He's fast, shifty, and tough. With the depth on the team though, a redshirt would be great for him to bulk up and learn the ropes some more. He should be an impact player at running back for the bulk of his career.
Kellen Bartlett is still Kellen Bartlett, as was D.J. Tialavea. I honestly didn't notice Brad Theurer out there, and Keegan Andersen was solid for the most part.
This unit should be solid once again though, if not improved from a year ago.
Travis Reynolds, Jordan Jenkins and Chuck Jacobs all looked great. Reynolds and Jenkins just kept on getting open and catching almost everything thrown their way, while Jacobs was just a human highlight reel every time he touched the ball.
This unit will look a lot different come the fall with Travis Van Leeuwen coming back from injury, and JUCO transfers Dwayne Lorick and Alex Wheat coming into the picture.
Tyler Larsen was one of the guys who wasn't going to play much, but ended up having to after Jamie Markosian went down with an injury. Larsen, along with Oscar Molina-Sanchez and Eric Schultz are still the anchors of the offensive line. With Schultz moving to right guard, the protectors of Keeton's blindside will be the inexperienced ones this season.
Sophomore Bryce Walker saw a significant amount of snaps, while freshman Logan Malohifo'ou seemed to be out at left tackle for a good amount too. Both Walker and Malohifo'ou have tremendous potential, and it's tough to really get a good feel on a scrimmage with them.
The guys on the left side of the line could change plenty by the start of this season though, so this is a wait and see situation.
Rather than go all over with positions, I'll say this first and foremost: This defense is fast! They swarm to the ball and looked very sound overall. I was very impressed by them, and I think Andersen's defensive coaching background is really showing with these guys.
The defensive line was thrown under the bus by Andersen at the start of spring, but praised mightily by him later on. They looked good today, getting consistent pressure on the quarterbacks all game and basically stuffing the run-game up the middle.
Linebackers are an interesting spot. Bobby Wagner, Kyle Gallagher and Maurice Alexander are all gone. Tavaris McMillian and Jake Doughty bring the most experience back, but all in all, this unit has a lot be determined. Kyler Fackrell, Zach Vigil and Jefferson Court all played a ton of snaps, and all looked like they belonged. A lot of this position could be determined by where Bojay Filimoeatu ends up playing, or if he just splits time at both linebacker and D-end this season.
Defensive backs look talented and deep! This might have been the most impressive unit on the whole team. Nevin Lawson and Jumanne Robertson will likely return as starters at cornerback, but they'll each have a battle on their hands. McKade Brady should have one safety spot on lockdown, while young guns Brian Suite, Michael Okonkwo and Frankie Sutera battle it out for the other spot.
Overall, the defense was awesome and I'm excited.
Great day for Utah State. The new logo is cool, the new uniforms are amazing, Chuckie Keeton looks like a superstar ready to explode, the USU defense looks awesome, Robert Turbin and Michael Smith get drafted and whatever else you can think of that's cool. Saturday was just a damn good day. Go Aggies.