May 15, 2008

Spring ball offensive awards

Is there a bigger tease for a college football fan than spring football? For four and a half weeks players, coaches, and fans get all revved up for the return of football, and then it vanishes. The entire spring ramps up to the climax of the spring game, and there's no subtle fade into the summer. Each fan is left with an empty, disappointing feeling like you got excited for nothing. In a way it's similar to people who sat through the movie The Kingdom.

In an attempt to extend the spring football season a little further, I present to you my 1st Annual Spring Football Awards. Each position award was selected based on a combination of;

1.) Performances in the two scrimmages and Jay McGillis Memorial Spring Game.

2.) Expectations for each player going into the spring.

Quarterback -- Chris Crane

Crane took away the fun for BC fans to be able to speculate over the summer on who will be the starting quarterback come August 30th. The senior had a strong spring, as he performed head and shoulders above his competition. Crane was almost unstoppable completing 10-15 yard passing routes, and that was without starting wide receiver Brandon Robinson.

Honorable Mention - Dominique Davis

For as well as Crane played in comparison to his counterparts, Davis played equally as well compared to the third and fourth string quarterbacks. Although he wasn't as consistent as Crane, Davis showed flashes of big play ability on some scrambles and long passing plays.

Running Back - Josh Haden

Who better to talk about Josh Haden than our first award recipient, Chris Crane? When I sat down with the BC quarterback at the end of spring practice he had nothing but good things to say about his running back.

"He should probably be going to the high school prom in a couple weeks," Crane joked. "He's here, and he's working real hard. During practice we've done some live snaps and he's broken off a couple around the edge and ran up the sideline. He only needs a little crease and he's strong enough upper body and lower body wise to break through that hole and break arm tackles."

Haden didn't have any big runs in the scrimmages like Crane described happened in practice, but it didn't matter. Haden's pure speed was eye popping to spectators, and left many salivating to see more of him in the fall.

Honorable Mention -- Dan Mulrooney

Mulrooney wins by default because BC is so thin at running back, but he also showed some ability. He is tough between the tackles although he lacks great feet and needs to break more tackles. But if he's the backup come the season opener, BC could be in trouble.

Receivers - Ifeanyi Momah

Before any of the scrimmages, sources told me that Momah was going to raise my eyebrows when I saw him. To be honest, I didn't think much of it. After all, the 6-foot-6 receiver was on the roster for the entire 2007 season and only managed to haul in one pass. It didn't take me long to realize why so many were high on him, when minutes into the first scrimmage Momah pulled in a 40-yard bomb by out-leaping a cornerback for the ball. He followed that up with another 40-plus yard reception in the second scrimmage, to go along with a few other catches. Momah was shutdown in the spring game (although none were thrown his way), but by having the two longest plays from scrimmage in the spring, he gets the award from me.

Honorable Mention - Justin Jarvis

Jarvis was Crane's go-to-guy on many third down passing plays, and didn't disappoint. I'd be willing to be that Jarvis led all receivers in the spring for most first down receptions.

Offensive Line - Anthony Castonzo

With injuries to Thomas Claiborne, Nick Schepis and Pat Sheil, the offensive line found itself shorthanded for most of the spring. The one constant was Castonzo on the left side. The second year starter played double duty on the first and second string, because there weren't enough healthy linemen to full out a complete first and second team. In spite of having to play without breaks, Castonzo still managed to perform better than any other offensive lineman.

Honorable Mention -- Thomas Claiborne

Making the move from defensive line to the offensive line is tough but Claiborne did a good job when he was healthy. He fit right in at right guard and was excellent in practice according to some of his teammates and coaches. His performance and health will be key for next season.

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