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April 19, 2008

Bearcats making progress this spring

For more coverage of spring practice,
check out
Spring Practice Central 2008.

When the Cincinnati Bearcats football team opened up its spring practices, a lot of questions needed to be answered. The role of starting quarterback was just one of many positions that were left to uncertainty. While these questions may not have their answers yet, spring practice has allowed players to showcase their talents and provide the coaching staff with a good first impression towards earning their role on this years' team.

The quarterback position was perhaps the most open position coming into this off season. With the possible departure of quarterback Ben Mauk, who is still awaiting an NCAA ruling to determine whether or not he will receive a sixth year of eligibility, the Bearcats began the search to find the next great signal caller who can help them compete for a Big East Championship in 2008.
Prior to the start of spring, many believed the quarterback position would be mainly a two man race, with Dustin Grutza and former Notre Dame QB Demetrius Jones battling it out for the starting position. However a few other names have arisen in spring practice.

Tony Pike has gained the coaches attention and put himself in a position to fight for the starting job, but the person who has garnered the most interest from coaches is redshirt freshman Chazz Anderson. Anderson has outplayed the rest of his competition and has put himself in very good position to compete for the starting role at the start of the 2008 campaign. Saturday was no different for Anderson. He appeared to have the strongest arm of all of the quarterbacks on the field, and impressed the coaching staff with his decision making ability.

Saturday's practice continued the trend of the spring. The players who have impressed throughout the spring practices continued on that path today. Players like Connor BarwinWhen the Cincinnati Bearcats football team opened up its spring practices, a lot of questions needed to be answered. The role of starting quarterback was just one of many positions that were left to uncertainty. While these questions may not have their answers yet, spring practice has allowed players to showcase their talents. and Chazz Anderson showed why they have gained so much publicity during the spring practices.

Defense Shines

The defense shined for most of the day, especially in the secondary where Mike Mickens and Aaron Webster both had interceptions in a scrimmage where the play calling resulted in about ninety percent pass, with just a few running plays scattered throughout.

Terrill Byrd continued his success on the field today. He is continuing to make the plays and show the effort necessary to earn his role as the number one defensive tackle back early on in the season. Conner Barwin also showed why his switch from Tight End to Defensive End could prove to be a smart one. He put his strength and speed on display during the practice and continued to catch the eye of his coaches.

Offense Works on Passing Game

On the offensive side of the ball, everything went according to plan. With a ninety percent passing offense, the quarterbacks were on showcase today. While Zach Collaros and Dustin Grutza had average outings, Chazz Anderson was able to put his skill set on display.

With the red quarterback jersey removed for today's practice, Anderson was not only able to showcase him arm, but was also able to show his elusiveness in and outside of the pocket.

While the running game suffered because of the heavy pass offense, the receiving core got its time to shine. The person who stood out the most was Dominick Goodman. The senior ran his routes well and was able to showcase some of the pass catching abilities that have made him into this teams' most consistent receiver. Redshirt freshman wide receiver Tahree McQueen made a nice catch down the sidelines during the scrimmage. He looked very comfortable on the field and could help the Bearcats some this season in the passing game.

The first team lines looked good on both sides of the ball. The offensive line has made tremendous strides this off season and the defensive line doesn't appear to have lost a step from last year's nationally ranked run defense. Depth could immerge as a problem for the Bearcats' lines during the season, as the second string lines struggled in today's scrimmage and appear to have a lot of work ahead of them.

Overall, the relatively short scrimmage was a success for the Bearcats on both sides of the ball. Both sides of the ball were able to showcase the improvements that have been made in an attempt to bring home a Big East Championship to the Queen City in 2008.

For more coverage of spring practice, check out Spring Practice Central 2008.


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