First, Frank done went and put damn near every projected starter on the maroon team, lining this thing up as a first string vs second string affair on both sides of the ball. As Antone Exum tweeted, on paper it looks like this thing will get ugly quick. But in a wrinkle that I absolutely adore, the maroon team is spotting the white team 21 points right from the start. Kind of like Boise State in 2010. So yes, the maroon team is STACKED with talent on both sides of the ball, but they're three TDs in the hole before the ball is ever snapped. If the maroon team wants to win that means they have to come out firing on both sides of the ball. And if the white team wins, the second stringers get to brag about it all damn season. I like this model.
Second, we're gonna see the pistol and the hurry up tomorrow. Book it. Frank's already shown it off during the open scrimmages, so if it was going to get scouted it's been scouted already. Plus the offense needs some quasi-live game reps in the pistol to iron out some of the kinks. So while I don't necessarily think it's going to be pretty the whole time (it never is when installing a new offensive package in the spring) we should actually get a decent hint at what the offense will look like this fall.
The game is going to be broadcast on ESPN 3, so for those of you able to watch, here's a few things to keep an eye on.
- How many sacks does LT take? So far this spring the O linemen have been a sieve, giving up double digit sacks in most scrimmages. I'm actually not having kittens over this quite yet because there's so damn many inexperienced new starters on the line, our D linemen are the best in the ACC, and the definition of a sack in spring ball with the QB in a non-contact jersey is pretty weak. But this will be our starting O line against our backup defensive front seven, which means if there was ever a time for our offensive line to look good, this is it. If we still see eight or nine sacks on the day, it might be time to worry a little.
- Which tailback stands out? Michael Holmes is on the maroon team, which indicates Shane is leaning toward him as the starter. Martin Scales will suit up for the white, and JC Coleman will float between the two squads. Expect Holmes to have the best stats on the day, both because he's been the most consistent running back all spring and because he's going exclusively against the second string defense. Should Martin Scales manage to put up big numbers against our starting front seven it would be a huge argument for giving him the number one or two spot on the depth chart. And this might potentially be JC Coleman's argument against a redshirt.
- How is the chemistry between LT and his receivers? There have been quite a few drops so far this spring, though that's nothing new. But LT has lost his two favorite targets to graduation and has to find new go to receivers. DJ Coles will be benched, which in end might be a good thing as LT won't just be able to dump it off to the best hands receiver on the roster each down. If Corey Fuller continues to haul in TDs at the rate he has been, chances are he'll crack the two deep at split end.
- How do we do in short yardage situations and deep in the red zone? As is customary for the spring game, the majority of the time the defense will be limited to rushing a maximum of five defenders, but in three or less to go situations or inside of the eight yard line in the red zone the handcuffs come off and the defense can throw whatever it wants at LT. With the LT sneak last season pretty much anything and one to go was a gimme, but two or more to go was painful to watch. And our entire red zone offense was cringe worthy. Even with it being against the second string defense, if our O manages some success in short yardage or deep red zone situations with the defense able to use everything in the playbook then we might just be inching toward turning the corner.
This will be the last football fix until Labor Day. Enjoy it.