0:20 left in game
The Black team has taken over after the Red couldn't convert on fourth down. Now I'm headed down to the locker room. I'll have updates from down there in a bit.
First impression: I don't think we learned too much today, although some things were reinforced, such as Kwame Geathers' strong spring. The defense won the day, but the offense had flashes.
2:53 left in the fourth quarter
Well, who knows how much to look into it, but freshmen Christian LeMay and Ken Malcome looked very good leading the Black team drive to a touchdown.
LeMay looked poised leading the four-minute offense down the field, accurate with his throws and running straight ahead on a few runs. And Malcome finished off the drive with a 12-yard run, after some other nice throws.
Aaron Murray passed to Taylor Bradberry for the two-point conversion to make it 18-11.
Now Parker Welch, not Hutson Mason, is on the field for the Red team to try to tie the game.
6:59 left in the fourth quarter
While the offense (and excitement) was sparse for much of this game, we might at least have some drama down the stretch. And we still have an unusual score.
Carlton Thomas barreled into the end zone to give the Red team an 11-10 lead. (They failed on a two-point try.) Hutson Mason was the quarterback on that drive; the No. 2 quarterback has had a mixed day, looking poised on some throws, but also tossing the game's lone interception and missing on some other passes.
The defense has been the star of this game - with even the best offensive player being Branden Smith, normally a defensive player.
9:06 left in third quarter
Branden Smith, for what it's worth, is so far my story of the spring game so far. Playing more on offense than expected, he just scored the game's first touchdown, taking a receiver screen from Aaron Murray and going down the sideline for a 28-yard touchdown.
That now gives Smith 38 receiving yards on two catches, to go with a four-yard run. He's behind only Aron White (two catches for 40 yards) on receiving yards so far, while Marlon Brown has a game-high three catches.
Halftime: Red leads, 5-3
Ah, what a score. We can only hope the second half features a bit more action. Or maybe not, if you're rooting for defense. Whatever you like.
A few good defensive plays to note near the end of the half: A sack by Jarvis Jones, and five-yard tackles for loss on runs by Alec Ogletree and Kwame Geathers.
Now it's time for the quarterback shootout, featuring Matt Stafford, D.J. Shockley, David Greene and Eric Zeier. At least we'll get some offense now.
5:56 left in second quarter
It's still kind of a snooze-fest here. Sorry, maybe I'll have more to report as the game goes along.
Parker Welch got a long series at quarterback ... That's what you need to know so far. (Apologies to Welch and any family members reading the blog.)
Caleb King did have a good run there, and is the tailback star so far just by virtue of not fumbling.
On the other hand, Marlon Brown completely whiffed on what would have been a long completion from Aaron Murray. Technically Brown is still the No. 2 receiver, but that status is tenuous and won't last for long if he doesn't show any dependability.
5:05 left in first quarter
If you like offense - and it seems most of the fans here do - then it got boring here pretty quick for you. It's been a defensive battle after the Red team's opening drive ended in that goal-line fumble - which only turned out to be the first fumble for poor Carlton Thomas.
He turned it over again on the third drive, setting up the Black team's field goal. They now lead 3-2.
Branden Smith has stood out so far, only because of how he's been used on offense: He got a pass on the second drive, then a carry out of the backfield. It looks like the coaches are experimenting a bit more with him on offense, which would be a good idea given the lack of playmakers to emerge so far.
9:35 left in first quarter
No, this isn't a baseball score: The Red team has a 2-0 lead after each team had two possessions. Although the Black team only had one play, which resulted in a safety as Aaron Murray couldn't escape the rush.
Carlton Thomas got the start on the Red team's opening drive, and had a few good runs - then fumbled at the goal-line. Caleb King is now in there for the second drive.
Hutson Mason looked good on that drive, with a 36-yard completion to Aron White on the first play. But you have to remember that he's going against a depleted secondary, as will be Murray.
12:45 p.m.: Injury report
By my count, there are 60 scholarship players on the spring roster, and 12 of them will be inactive today.
Brandon Boykin, a captain who helped draft the teams, headlines the list of players who are in shorts and won't play today. As expected, Washaun Ealey (hamstring) is out, and receiver Rantavious Wooten (unknown injury) is also not playing. The others we already knew about: Bacarri Rambo, Jakar Hamilton, Sanders Commings, Washaun Ealey, T.J. Stripling, Dexter Morant, Trinton Sturdivant and Jordan Love. There's also Jeremy Longo, who has retired because of a chronic knee injury.
SIDE NOTE: Boykin is pretty pumped up, slapping hands with teammates and such. You have to admire Boykin: He drafts his team, then has the good sense to get hurt so he can either say he picked such a good team that it didn't need him - or that it would've won if he had played.
Saturday, April 16, 2011
0:20 left in game