UTSA wraps up spring drills
April 15, 2017 at 8:15 p.m.
SAN ANTONIO - Goliad graduate Dalton Sturm completed 11 of 22 passes for 120 yards and scored a touchdown as Texas-San Antonio wrapped up spring drills in the Football Fiesta Spring Game at Dub Farris Stadium on Saturday.
The Orange team defeated the White team 71-13, compiling 397 yards of offense, including 307 passing yards.
Red claims win in Houston's Red-White Game
HOUSTON - Houston's Red team defeated the White team 51-33 in the Red-White Game at TDECU Stadium on Saturday.
Patrick Carr rushed for 122 yards on 15 attempts and scored a touchdown. Junior quarterback Kyle Allen completed 12 of 18 passes for 62 yards.
Spring game shows Buckeyes' emphasis on throwing the ball
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Ohio State coach Urban Meyer made it clear this spring that he wants to throw the ball deep again.
Meyer needs quarterback J.T. Barrett to hook up with receivers for more momentum-changing plays downfield, the kind that bring 100,000 fans to their feet and rattle the rafters in old Ohio Stadium.
That was a problem last year.The Buckeyes struggled against their best opponent with pass protection, receivers getting open and Barrett's accuracy. It all manifested itself in the mess that was the College Football Playoff game, a 31-0 drubbing by Clemson. Without being able to establish down-field passing, the Buckeyes limped to 3.8 yards per passing attempt and 215 offensive yards. Barrett's longest completion was for 21 yards.
"I think it was bigger than just a unit coming up short," receivers coach Zach Smith said earlier this spring. "It was really the offense as a whole had a lot of things we needed get fixed this off season, so we spent a lot of time and effort doing that. That goes from looking introspectively at ourselves and our unit, and also the offense as a whole, and what we needed to do better to let everyone function better."
With new offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson and quarterbacks coach Ryan Day pulling the strings in spring practice, the Buckeyes have focused on throwing the long ball. In Saturday's spring game, the Buckeyes chucked it all over Ohio Stadium, though it was mostly backups Joe Burrow and Dwayne Haskins doing the passing.
Barrett is back for a fourth season, but his top three receivers from last year have departed. That means the pressure is on a stable of a half dozen unproven players who have an average of nine catches each in their Ohio State careers.
Parris Campbell, who will slide into the hybrid H-back spot that made Curtis Samuel an NFL-bound star last year, could be Ohio State's next breakout receiver. Meyer has raved about the progress of the junior from Akron, whose 13 catches for 121 yards last year were well below expectations. He had five catches for 46 yards in the spring game.
"He's had an exceptional spring," Meyer said.
Campbell said he is determined, especially after the embarrassment of the Clemson game.
"I just think something kind of clicked in me," he said. "This is going to be my fourth year here and third season actually playing. I just think something kind of clicked in me like, 'It's time to go. You've been here for a while and got to make an impact now.'"
Juniors K.J. Hill, Terry McLaurin and Johnnie Dixon - who has been hobbled by knee injuries - along with sophomores Binjimen Victor and Austin Mack are the prime candidates to step out as a sorely needed deep threat. A dark horse candidate is Eric Glover-Williams, a former cornerback who moved over to offense.
Barrett played briefly Saturday. Burrow, a third-year sophomore, and Haskins, a redshirt freshman, tossed 59 passes between them in the 40-minute Scarlet and Gray Game. Ohio State announced it sold 80,000 tickets to intra-squad scrimmage.
Dixon caught six passes for 108 yards and two touchdowns, including a 44-yard score. McLaurin had four catches for 80 yards and a pair of TDs, including a 30-yarder. Fifteen other players also logged receptions as the two squads together rolled up 654 passing yards. One of the highlights was Burrow hitting running back Demario McCall in stride on a 40-yard scoring play in the second quarter.
"Some receivers stepped up and really made some nice plays," Meyer said.
Tate Martell, the highly touted freshman quarterback from Las Vegas, played briefly in the last quarter and ran in for a 5-yard touchdown the first time he touched the ball.
Kansas QBs Bender, Stanley compete for starting job
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) - The quarterback position has been the definition of unstable for Kansas in recent years. Carter Stanley and Peyton Bender are trying to change that.
In coach David Beaty's two seasons leading the Jayhawks, five quarterbacks have lined up under center in what can best be described as a 24-game revolving door of signal-callers. Of the five, only two remain with the program: Keaton Perry and Stanley.
The other three - Ryan Willis, Deondre Ford and Montell Cozart - have all transferred away.
All three were starters at one point, but none were able to permanently pin down the job. Cozart was the first, Ford briefly followed and then Willis entered the picture.
That was all in Beaty's first five games. From that point on, for the most part, Cozart and Willis flip-flopped between the No. 1 and No. 2 spots on the depth chart. At the tail end of last season, Stanley stepped forward and seized the job from Cozart, finishing the year as the starter.
While Stanley improved in those final games, setting a new career high in yards with every start, Beaty hasn't announced he's retaining the starting job. He and junior college transfer Bender have found themselves in a tight competition for the starting gig.
In the spring game Saturday, Bender's Team Jayhawks came out victorious, 14-7, thanks largely to his superior play over his counterpart.
Bender completed 11 of 15 passes for 143 yards and two touchdowns. With just under two minutes left in the game, he completed a 5-yard touchdown pass to Daylon Charlot.
It was Charlot's third catch of the day.
"I think he (did) a great job, because we (were) kind of on the same page when he gave me the last signal, you know to run the slant route or whatever," Charlot said.
It was Bender's first game-setting appearance for the Jayhawks, and he was pleased with his showing.
"I thought I did fine, thought I did what I was supposed to do," Bender said. "We kept the play calling fairly simple, so we weren't trying to get, you know, anything too complicated called in there. But I thought I made the most of every play call, and thought I did fine."
He found wide receiver Kerr Johnson Jr. in the end zone early in the game, but the play was called back for a holding penalty.
While he knows his performance could have been better, Stanley is content with how he played.
"I think it was all right," Stanley said. "I'll have to watch the film, just to see all the stuff, but I know I missed some throws, maybe missed some reads. But there were some positives about it."
The team still has multiple practices left before the end of the spring campaign and Beaty has a decision to make. But as the battle between Bender and Stanley continues, Beaty sees the fire in his two quarterbacks and admires their competitiveness.
"Those guys have been looking forward to competing," Beaty said. "They both want to win that job, and you can tell."
Peters-led Maize beats Blue in Michigan spring game
ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) - Michigan did not provide a roster for its spring game Saturday and a list of their players with numbers for the 2017 season isn't on their website. And coach Jim Harbaugh did not speak to reporters after the game.
Harbaugh, though, couldn't hide Brandon Peters from the 57,418 who showed up at the Big House for the intra-squad scrimmage. The quarterback that created a buzz behind the scenes this spring showed he's capable of competing for playing time.
Peters threw a 40-yard pass to Nate Schoenle to set up Kyle Seychel's 31-yard field goal as time expired, lifting the Maize over the Blue 31-29.
After redshirting last season as a freshman, the 6-foot-5 Peters did his best to show he has the potential to push returning starter Wilton Speight in the fall.
"Coach Harbaugh is always making it a competition, so there's always that chance," Peters said. "I just go out and compete. Wilton is a really good competitor and he's really good, too."
Peters was 9 of 17 for 160 yards with a 55-yard touchdown pass to tight end Zach Gentry and an interception that was returned for a score by Brandon Watson.
Speight, meanwhile, struggled behind a sieve-like offensive line that couldn't block players such as Devin Bush and Khaleke Hudson. Speight was 9 of 26 for 78 yards with two interceptions, one of which was returned 100 yards by Jordan Glasgow.
"I'd like to have those two throws back because I was trying to force it into a small window and trying to make a play when there probably wasn't a play to be made," Speight said. "But yeah, there were times I had to improvise."
Here are some other things of note from a warm, windy and sunny day for spring football:
Michigan may have as many as 19 players drafted by NFL teams later this month, including 10 starters from last season's defense led by projected, first-round picks Taco Charlton and Jabrill Peppers.
"I don't think we're trying to have another Taco or another Jabrill," Bush said. "We're going to have another Rashan Gary and another Khaleke Hudson."
Linebacker Mike McCray, the only returning starter on defense, insisted this year's unit can be better in Don Brown's second season as defensive coordinator.
"We're in the same system again," he said "In the past, we've had different systems every year. Everybody is more comfortable and they're not thinking as much."
BACKFIELD OPTIONS: The Wolverines appear to have a few, solid options to carry the ball without De'Veon Smith, who had a team-high 846 yards rushing and ran for 10 TDs last season.
Ty Isaac ran for 47 yards on five carries, including a 28-yard score in the spring game for the Maize. Karan Higdon had 12 carries for 81 yards rushing and his second TD put the Blue up 29-28 with 1:38 left. Chris Evans had just three carries for 10 yards, but showed what he could do last season as a freshman with 7 yards per carry and a total of 614 yards rushing.
Huskers' QB competition still alive after spring game
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Anyone trying to forecast Nebraska's quarterback competition between Tanner Lee and Patrick O'Brien didn't glean much from the spring game Saturday.
O'Brien played the first series with the No. 1 offense, but that was only because he won a coin flip in the locker room.
Lee threw the best ball of the day when he fit a 30-yard pass to JD Spielman between cornerback Decaprio Bootle and the back corner of the end zone.
Each quarterback went against a very basic defense, neither committed a turnover, and they ended up with similar numbers.
Coach Mike Riley has said he expects to name a starter before the summer.
"This week will be summary time for us and a planning time, and we'll have discussions about our team," Riley said. "I'm sure that will be one of the talking points."
Lee and O'Brien each played four series against backup defenders. Lee went 13-for-19 for 190 yards and three touchdowns. O'Brien was 11 of 17 for 134 yards and a TD.
"I think I did pretty good," Lee said. "There were some throws I shouldn't have made, but I think I did all right. We were scoring points. I was happy with that."
O'Brien said he was pleased with the work he put in this spring.
"All the coaches have said I've done a good job," he said, "so I've got to keep it rolling and bring it into fall camp... If that means I'm the starting quarterback, (that's good). If it doesn't, obviously I'll be really disappointed, but I've got to control what I can control."
Regardless of who wins the QB battle, the Huskers are moving more into the pro-style system that Riley envisioned when he came to Nebraska from Oregon State in December 2014.
Six tight ends accounted for 15 catches, starting when No. 3 QB Tristan Gebbia hit walk-on Branden Hohenstein for his first completion, and eight running backs combined for 18 receptions.
"The tight end, for what we do, can both be a guy who can be productive and be a threat," Riley said.
Fans hoping to get a look at new defensive coordinator Bob Diaco's 3-4 base alignment went home disappointed. The Huskers mostly used a four-man front.
"This game now, being on TV, it just becomes another scouting tool for all our opponents next year," Riley said. "So there was no way we wanted to do anything that was out of the box at all. We didn't want them to see what blitzes, all the different fronts, we've practiced this spring. I'm kind of sorry to have to say that, but that's the way it is."
Attendance of 78,312 was second-highest for a spring game at Nebraska.
Other observations from the spring game:
KEEP EYE ON GEBBIA: Gebbia, a freshman who enrolled in January, got the most work of any QB and showed flashes of why he was a four-star recruit coming out of Calabasas, California.
He led the lower-unit offense on its only touchdown drive, a 12-play, 75-yarder against the No. 1 defense.