This is the end, folks. Spring Camp came and went quickly and now the football benchmarks will be few and far between until Fall Camp begins in August. Still, we learned a little bit this spring, culminating in Saturday's annual Blue and Orange game—here are the highlights.
It's hard to set the world ablaze in a offense v. defense scrimmage, but several youngsters and a few oldsters had the roughly 10k in attendance shouting "Encore!" into the gale force winds that gripped the Treasure Valley on Saturday.
Joe Southwick - The senior-to-be looked very much the incumbent in both word and deed on Saturday which should give fans confidence that we'll see more of the November/December '12 Southwick in August. Southwick was 12-of-20 on the day in very difficult passing conditions and also had a score.
Jay Ajayi - Ajayi was a "tough out" last year, rushing for over 6 yards a carry in a backup role to D.J. Harper. So far, this spring, he's looked a step faster and just as hard to tackle as before. He had just 11 carries in the scrimmage, but still rumbled for 69 yards and a score. The sophomore might be in for a monster year.
Burks and Boldewijn - WRs Aaron Burks and Geraldo Boldewijn have the height, the speed, and the ability, but thus far haven't taken over their respective positions. This spring, Burks has taken that next step, according to most accounts, and bulked up to boot. Boldewijn, the oft-suspended Dutchmen, also had a good spring showing that all hope translates into a big 2013,
Shane Williams-Rhodes - The shifty little scatback turned a lot of heads as a true freshman last year and this spring, it sounds like the coaching staff are trying to get him as many touches as possible. Hardly a spring practice report went by without SWR making a play somewhere and the thought of him returning punts has me a wee bit giddy. I'm not afraid to admit it.
Donte Deayon- Deayon housing an INT on Saturday was music to the ears of Bronco fans who are worried scared about injuries and graduation reducing the spring CB corps to a skeleton crew.
Demarcus Lawrence- Lawrence was back to his old tricks on Saturday (not the one-game suspension kind…the sacking kind) and will be a real force this year. I predict that he'll be another Bronco first-rounder if he stays through his senior year. Another year like last year though, and he might have a draftable enough grade to leave following the '13 season. Cross your fingers.
Deuce Mataele- More help on the depleted D-line will be arriving this summer, but we're sure glad to have a mid-year guy come in and make an impact. From all accounts, Mataele is ready to go and was extremely disruptive this spring both in practice and in Saturday's scrimmage (forced fumble, 6 total tackles).
For a litany of reasons, the spring scrimmage was minus quite a few playmakers, giving some guys unexpected reps and depriving us fans of seeing a few newbies suit up for the first time. If you were worried that the defense looked a bit ragged on Saturday, this could be a reason why. Saturday's DNP list, as far as we know:
DE Sam Ukwuachu (attending to a personal matter)
OLB Tyler Gray
SS Jeremy Ioane
CB Bryan Douglas
N Chris Santini
OL Charles Leno
TE Gabe Linehan
DE Kharyee Marshall
Nick Patti and Jack Fields barely got going before being sidelined in the scrimmage with non-serious (long-term) injuries.
Full disclosure: I was not at the game on Saturday. It was my wife's birthday…but maybe even more importantly the game was unnecessarily expensive and it was really cold. "Toughen up!" you'll shout…"I know you are, but what am I?" I'll retort.
Anyone really stand out to you on Saturday? Where are we still lacking? Are you grading on a curve because of all the non-participants and on account of it being spring?