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Spring newsbits, 4/15

"This is how many more times I'm going to tell you we haven't made any decision about our already-decided quarterback race."

So, we’re down to … one practice? Two practices? … before A-Day is upon us. And then the great wasteland of the summer. Maybe the day-in-day-out repetition of spring has grown a bit stale for you over the past couple of weeks, maybe it hasn’t … but it’s certainly miles and miles better than what we’re about to have to put up with.

So do be thankful for the work done by Andy Bitter, Jay Tate, Charles Goldberg, Evan Woodbery, Andrew Gribble, Bryan Matthews, and Luke Brietzke to bring us first-hand (or second-hand) information; we’ll miss it like crazy here shortly. My reactions to said information:

— Just when I thought I couldn’t get excited about anything anyone said about Cam Newton anymore, here comes Trooper Taylor to gush about two (allegedly) perfectly-thrown touchdown passes. As has been said several times previously: we know he’s got the arm. We know he’s got the legs. We know he’s got the size. The only thing we don’t know he has is accuracy. On these two throws, at the very least, he had it. And ugh, here comes the drool again. A-Day is going to be such a blast.

— That’s not to downplay the importance of Newton’s having (allegedly) worked himself into the good graces of his teammates. It’s a little weird to hear it from Craig Stevens rather than an offensive player who actually, you know, plays alongside him, but it would have been easy for a kid carrying as much hype as Newton is to accidentally ruffle some feathers. Doesn’t sound like that’s the case.

— Besides, who cares about feathers when there’s deep balls to be thrown, right Darvin Adams?

Adams said he likes watching Newton play because he brings the deep ball back into the fold. Asked if Newton was the only quarterback capable of throwing deep passes accurately, Adams quickly covered his tracks and said they’re all capable.

Teeheehee. As long as Darvin’s happy, I’m happy.

— So, A-Day’s going to feature two teams playing each other, with real touchdowns and field goals and everything. (And real play-calls according to Taylor, though I’ll believe that when I see it.) I have to wonder how much this decision has to do with the fact that the game is on (mostly) national television. No one’s ever accused Chizik and Co. of putting on less than a good show when the occasion’s suited them.

— Not sure what to make of Ted Roof’s curious difficulty in coming up with something nice to say about T’Sharvan Bell the day after one of his teammates nominated him for potential A-Day Defensive MVP. Given that it’s hard to see anyone else making a push for the nickel spot, though, whether Roof wants to write sonnets about him or not doesn’t much matter; Roof’s stuck with him.

That is, unless Anthony Gulley-Morgan has really adapted well to playing defense. Clearly, Roof’s positive comments yesterday are a good sign, but I don’t see the true sophomore who spent last year on offense outplaying the redshirt sophomore who spent last year watching the light come on in the secondary. Anything can happen, though, I guess*.

— Speaking of the secondary, it’s yet another interception for Ikeem Means. It’s just about time to write his name on the safety two-deep in ink. Damn good thing, too, since Roof’s admission that Daren Bates might have to move back into the secondary (even after spending the entire spring messing about with the linebackers) is another indication that–as conventional wisdom has had it the last two weeks–either one or both of McNeil’s and Savage’s returns from injury aren’t going quite as swimmingly as planned.

— It’s also another reason why I can’t get too excited about the defense rising up in the second half of this latest scrimmage. When a major part of your “victory” is forcing Davis Hooper to fumble twice, that’s not really the sort of thing that translates into “ready to shut down SEC running games,” no offense to Davis Hooper. Better than getting shredded again, though, I suppose.

— Yet more Roof: he claims that the only reason Jon Evans is getting first team reps is because they’re comparing “apples to apples” against The Toro’s first team reps. I’m inclined to believe him as much as I believe Malzahn when he says it doesn’t matter that Newton’s the guy who always just happens to be handing off to Mario Fannin and throwing to Darvin Adams.

YES: Taylor just dropped the first “impostors” reference of the new season on us. It feels like now we’re all ready to get down to business.

*Including one of the true freshmen arriving in the fall forcing their way onto the two-deep. But since most of the potential corners–all of them, actually, save for Jonathon Mincy–are converted high school QBs with some adjusting to do, I’m assuming Bell’s position at the nickel is safe unless Mincy winds up as this year’s Bates.

Photo by Van Emst.

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