For those that missed the Jay McGillis Memorial Spring Game on Saturday, you were probably disappointed to see a final score of 6-2. The final score was the perfect softball lob for BC pundits to laugh at the squad that was one of the worst in the country last year. Truth be told though there were actually some positives from the spring game on Saturday, particularly from the passing game. Here are some observations I took away from the passing game after a second viewing of the game.
Patrick Towles and Darius Wade are light years ahead of any of the quarterbacks that BC rolled onto the field last year, including last year’s version of Wade. First let’s start with Towles, who was as advertised with a rocket arm matched with a little bit of inaccuracy at times. We didn’t get a huge sample size of Towles throwing the ball so there wasn’t much to take from that. The only thing that surprised me with Towles was that he looked a little faster than I thought he was. Was this because you never expect a white guy to be fast at quarterback or was it because anyone would look faster when going against a defense that isn’t a defense from the SEC? Either way, I think Towles gives new BC offensive coordinator Scott Loeffler some legitimate options to mix things up this year.
As for Wade, he might have been the surprise of the game for me going 13-for-19 with 181 yards passing. Things actually started off a little rocky for Wade when he got drilled on his 1st series of the game. A few plays later, Wade missed Tommy Sweeney on a rollout pass that should’ve went for 15+ yards and it made me wonder if the shot that Wade took rattled him a bit.
Wade bounced back nicely though and had two huge explosive plays to Drew Barksdale (52 yards) and Tommy Sweeney (31 yards). Wade was actually able to move the offense a little bit but his receivers didn’t make enough plays in the red zone to come away with a touchdown. On one red zone attempt, Wade tossed a great ball to Barksdale in the back corner of left end zone and but the receiver just missed pulling it in. It would’ve been a difficult catch but Wade put the pass on Barksdale’s back shoulder where only he could get it. On the second trip to the red zone Wade had similar throw to Mike Walker which was an even better pass than his once to Barksdale, but Wade didn’t get the help he needed. In all honesty, Walker’s pass wasn’t a high degree of difficulty and should’ve gone for a touchdown.
After knowing what I knew about Towles I thought that he’d win the quarterback job easily this year and he probably will win it. After Wade’s performance though it is at least a conversation going into summer camp.
We heard some reports in camp from The Heights that Jeff Smith was having trouble holding onto the ball during the media portion of practices. Smith didn’t have any problems catching the ball on Saturday though. The converted quarterback caught an easy screen pass early in the game and then later on had a nice explosive reception. Smith caught the ball on crossing pattern about 8 yards down the field after the defender slipped trying to keep up with him. Smith caught the ball with nobody around him and took it another 15 yards for a 22-yard gain.
think the jury is still out on how effective Smith will be for this season, but don’t get caught up too much in reports from the media portion of practices. Truth be told the reporters are put in a lousy position as they only get to watch the final 5-15 minute sliver of an entire practice, so sometimes you just catch a glimpse of players at the wrong time. I’m not saying Smith is the most sure handed receiver on the roster but he might at least be better than the guy dropping passes every practice.
The other converted quarterback Elijah Robinson had a nice game hauling in a game high 5 receptions. Both players have the explosive ability you need at wide receiver and it’s just a matter of them getting more and more comfortable catching the ball.
There was also a Nolan Borgersen sighting in the game. I only bring this up because he was one of the players I was asked about the most last year when the BC passing attack couldn’t get anything going, which led people to wonder why he wasn’t seeing the field. After an injury caused Borgersen to miss the beginning of the year the coaches felt it was unwise to bring him back so late and decided to redshirt him.
Borgersen didn’t end up on the stat sheet on Saturday but he had a really nice diving catch that was called incompete. On 3rd down, cornerback Kam Moore played some press coverage on the redshirt receiver. Borgersen broke free from Moore and cutback on a nice hook route right at the sticks for what should’ve been a pretty easy first down. Towles threw the pass a little too far to the sidelines but Borgersen made a great sliding catch and just missed staying in bounds. It showed some great hands from Borgersen and hopefully there are good things to come.
If you read BCI last week, Tommy Sweeney was mentioned as a player to watch in the spring game. The tight end didn’t disappoint with a 4 reception for 57 yard performance. Sweeney’s best play came on his longest reception of the day for 31 yards, where he came back to catch a ball that was thrown behind him by Wade. Sweeney made a quick move up the field after the reception to pickup an additional 10+ yards. Sweeney’s blocking has left a little to be desired but it remains a mystery as to how the offensive staff couldn’t find a way to get him on the field last year.
Eric Hoffses is a contributor for BCI. Follow him on Twitter at @EAHoffses
Eric can also be reached at EricHoffses@Gmail.com