Record spring game attendance for Auburn
There were interceptions galore in the two spring games on Saturday, including several pick-sixes. Thankfully coaches Frank Beamer of Virginia Tech and Nick Saban of Alabama used a traditional scoring system in their respective spring games.
Other schools, like Tennessee, Notre Dame, Texas Tech, Penn State and Wisconsin, used odd scoring systems that awarded points for defensive plays such as sacks and turnovers and offensive first downs.
Considering that scores simply do not matter in these games, which are used primarily to evaluate players in a gameday-like atmosphere, an alternative scoring system is needlessly confusing.
Bill O’Brien’s first season at Penn State was an unenviable one. Coming off the sexual assault scandal of former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky and the unceremonious dismissal of Joe Paterno and his subsequent death, O’Brien got his team to rebound from two opening losses to win eight games. After what should have garnered him national coach of the year accolades, O’Brien has now had a full season to implement his vast playbook and it was on display in Saturday’s spring game.
Using the alternative scoring system, Penn State’s Blue team defeated the White team, 67-47, in front of a record spring crowd at Beaver Stadium.
Football is alive and well in the state of Alabama with an estimated 78,315 people in Tuscaloosa to watch the Crimson Tide’s spring game while a record crowd of 83,401 fans were inside Jordan-Hare Stadium for Auburn’s final scrimmage of the spring.
Gus Malzahn may have brought a little bit of Chip Kelly with him back to Auburn. The Tigers offense was very fast in its execution and junior quarterback Kiehl Frazier looked natural running the up-tempo system. He’s a dual threat quarterback, and has the potential to be the type of playmaker Auburn had when Malzahn was the offensive coordinator and Cam Newton ran the offense.
A new rule implemented by the NCAA this season was felt during the Auburn spring game with cornerback Jonathan Mincy ejected early in the second half for targeting above the shoulders. It was a vicious hit on Tigers receiver Dimitri Reese, but appeared to be shoulder-to-shoulder contact and not worthy of an ejection. This is a problem the NCAA will face this season while trying to legislate violence out of the game and Mincy was disqualified from the scrimmage for simply making a tough football play.
The defenses were definitely ahead of the offenses on Saturday. The Virginia Tech offenses had a combined minus-10 rushing yards at halftime while the passing game struggled. The Texas Tech offense struggled mightily to get anything going as the Red Raiders defense dominated in Lubbock.
Michigan State’s defense could be poised again for a top-10 season. The Spartans were fourth in total defense last year and sixth in 2011. The defense, led by Jamal Lyles, Max Bullough and Denzel Drone, racked up quite a few sacks in Saturday’s spring game.
One offensive player who did look really good was Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson, who led the Blue team to a 54-43 win over the Gold squad. While Golson completed less than half his attempts and threw an interception, he didn’t force anything and generally made good decisions while displaying the type of mobile athleticism many expect.
While coaches use the spring scrimmages to evaluate players and positional battles, one thing teams want to accomplish is to get out of the game healthy and no players suffered any significant injuries on Saturday.