The first of our Soon to be Vanquished Foes play their spring games Saturday as Miami and Duke conclude spring practice. Neither will have its starting quarterback because both Jacory Harris and Sean Renfree sat out spring practice due to injury.
With both out, I'm interested to see how the running games for both schools perform against their defenses. Miami's Graig Cooper is also out for the spring and is being pushed by Damien Berry, Mike James, Lamar Miller and Storm Johnson. Duke, on the other had, could have it two-game winning streak against Virginia Tech if it had any semblance of a running game.
More on the Canes, Devils, the rest of our STBVF and a spring game schedule after the jump.
Miami blog Canespace doesn't want us to take too much away from Saturday's spring game due to the attrition the Canes suffered before camp. It makes you wonder why Randy Shannon chose to have spring practice so early instead of wait for some injured players to heal:
Last year RB Damien Berry was the MVP of the Spring Game. He rode the bench and played sparingly. Mike James, in spite of his obvious talent, could not unseat starters Javaris James or Graig Cooper and eventually was moved to fullback after an injury at that position.
So please try to keep your pants on and bite your tounge even when one of the newest kids on the block "breaks out" in the Spring. It often takes a while for the next great thing to actually develop.
Duke Blue Devils
In Durham, Blue Devil Nation reports David Cutcliffe is pleased with his team's progress this spring. The running game needs to improve, starting with the offensive line. The Blue Devils had only six rushing touchdowns in 2009:
There's nowhere to go but up for Duke's running game and this has been a significant point of emphasis this spring. With the likely starting QB Sean Renfree sidelined as he recovers from ACL surgery, the ground game has received plenty of reps, led by returning lettermen Desmond Scott, Jay Hollingsworth, Patrick Kurunuwe, and newcomer Josh Snead. With some uncertainty at the quarterback position and four starters returning along the offensive line, the running game needs to become a serious threat for the 2010 Blue Devils.
Several other Virginia Tech opponents, including Boise State and a plethora of Atlantic Division teams are currently going through spring practice. Reading through the reports, it's clear to see that spring practice has become a lot like baseball's spring training. Everyone has the same record and everyone is optimistic.
Boise State Broncos
Boise held its first spring scrimmage Wednesday and OBNUG was impressed with the defense, although several first-team offensive players might as well have been on the sidelines:
The Bronco offensive stars - Kellen Moore, Austin Pettis, Titus Young, Jeremy Avery, and Doug Martin - did as close to nothing as is possible without actually being in street clothes. Martin and Avery combined for zero two carries. Young and Pettis combined for zero three catches. Kellen Moore resembled Michael Coughlin in wash-up duty last year.
Wake Forest Demon Deacons
Blogger So Dear will be focused on the quarterback race in Winston-Salem as spring practice wears on. So far it looks like there's no real leader in the clubhouse early on:
The quarterbacks tore up the defense during the skeleton drills and the receivers were making pretty good catches as well. It looks like our defense has a ways to go in the secondary. This makes sense because of the uncertainties of the past couple of weeks, but they are going to have to get better.
It was a good day all around for the offense, with Cross getting most of the throws with the starting receivers. I am pretty impressed with the offensive line and the decision making of the quarterbacks with the option offense.
Around the ACC
The three ACC teams we won't face in the regular season (Clemson, Maryland and Florida State) are all in the middle of spring practice or about to start. Maryland faces a problem that is familiar for Virginia Tech fans: Figuring out how to distribute carries among the running backs. Florida State is looking for a kick returner. At Clemson, Shakin the Southland reports the defense is ahead of the offense:
OL - Not impressive. Its harder to judge when they go against the best DL in the ACC but I was particularly unenthused by Walker. Smith looked fine at LG and McClain looks only marginally improved. Smith did come in with the 2's at LT some as well. Wilson Norris was 2-LG. Mason Cloy was moving around and is improving, he'll be gone this summer for a month for ROTC training.
The teams that have yet to start spring ball, including Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech, start spring practice next week and will have their spring games in late April. Here's a full schedule of spring games for team on our schedule and in our league. If you're a fan of these teams and you notice the date is incorrect, please let me know. I gathered these from various published reports that might not be correct:
|North Carolina||April 10|
|Florida State||April 10|
|Boise State||April 17|
|East Carolina||April 17|
|NC State||April 17|
|Central Michigan||April 17|
|Wake Forest||April 17|
|Boston College||April 24|
|Georgia Tech||April 24|