I was disappointed and concerned when Coach Sark announced the Spring Game format would be different due to a lack of O Line depth. it's concerning because most players in the trenches need one or two good years to develop before they are truly ready to start. I'm excited about the #1 O Line class in the country of course, but I'm not ready to crown them ready to play on day 1.They will be young and, at the most simple level, need time for their bodies to develop.
Never the less, we got to see some glimpses of what next year will look like.
As for QB 1 I think it's all but Ewers to lose. Jefferson was visibly gimpy in warmups after his ankle injury and I think that will hamper his development and cohesiveness with the team. Plus, if Ewers does what I expect, 2 years and done, Maalik will be in a perfect position to kick ass and take names by that time.
As for Card, there were flashes like last season but 4 important observations stood out to me. First, I read somewhere that Ewers QB rating was better than Card's WITH Ewers interception. Second, the format was such that the 1's on O played the 1's on D for a majority of the game and same for the #1 D and #2 O. What this means is that Ewers was leading the #2 offense against the #1 defense and still had a better QB rating than Card who was leading the #1 O against the #2 D. While I understand this is a simple spring game and the playbook nor the physicality of a regular game is on display, it still says something to me. Third, when Card did play the #1 D, I saw flashbacks to last season. Card struggles to make quick decisions. It's almost as if he is so concerned about making the best decision, he hesitates and ends up with a sack or a pass out of bounds. Finally, let's face the facts. Ewers had a better QB rating than Card but Card has seen the playbook for a complete year now. Card has played in the system. And Ewers hasn't played much of anything since his Jr Year in high school. The QB rating for a spring game with that kind of discrepancy shouldn't be very close in my mind. Much less, the younger more inexperienced guy ending up with the better numbers. Put it all together and the job is Ewers to lose.
X and Whittington were as expected but watch out for Neyor deep. He's big, physical, fast and has really good hands. When we lost JWhit last year opposing defenses doubled down on X and limited our passing game. if JWhit can stay healthy, we add Neyor to the mix, and we can get any kind of improvement out of our tight ends, the ONLY concern with the receiving room is if the O Line will give our QB's enough time to find our receivers open. And we may have enough receiver talent for Sark to easily scheme around a porous O line. Time will tell.
All in all, as said above, Spring games don't tell us much. But I liked watching Neyor, Ewers and, throw Billingsly the Bama tight end transfer, in there too. These were the new guys who flashed and gives me hope for the future.
As a side note, whatever kook-aid we may drink this year needs to be based on what we think Sark can scheme out of our O Line. That's the key. My expectations for the O Line are leaning toward 7 wins right now.