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Blue and White wrap up

I am way too late getting to this, but with the draft and the UDFA watch going on this weekend I was lucky I found time to watch the game. Another reason I was not all over the Blue and White game is because there were only a few surprises.

First the Surprises:

Surprise number one: UB Nation is starting to love its spring ball

The crowd looked great for a scrimmage, it was nice to see on the back of last seasons disappointing 5-7 finish and the coaching change that UB still seems to be moving in the right direction in terms of fan support.

Surprise number two: Special teams looked special, in a good way!

I can not remember the last time I saw a UB kicker hit one from 50 plus yards. Not only did Rachuna look good Principie also hit one that would have been good from 51 and a half yards (hit the cross bar from 52). The punters also looked way better than last season, but without a game day rush it's a little hard to know if that poise and consistency will be there come September.

Last season every times special teams set foot onto the filed I got a knot in my stomach, but the unit seems to have better poise and fundamentals this year. kudos to coach Spieler and company for settling them down.

Surprise number three: Clap your hands if you like the quarterback choices..

I don't know what was with the pre-snap hand claps but putting that aside I liked what I saw from our two main signal callers, Coach Quinn has not been blowing hot air when he tells the media that the job is open for either.

Almost every time you hear a coach, any coach, talk about the future starting roster they will avoid mentioning specific names has 'having the job' but usually everyone knows who does. Last season when Coach Gill talked about not knowing everybody knew Maynard had it. This season I had thought Davis was in the heir apparent but after the game nobody can doubt that it's pretty wide open right now.

For my money Dennison played the better game. Putting aside the numbers (some of which had to do with the plays ran while he was driving the offense) he seemed to look a little more comfortable. The scramble at the end of the scrimmage may bias me a bit.


Surprise number four: what 3-4?

The three four defensive alignment made a couple of appearances but UB was basically playing out of a 4-3 set. Either many fans have been fooled this whole time or Coach Quinn decided to team is not not where it needs to be to run the 3-4.

Aside from those four things (Special teams, Fans, QB competition, Defensive formations) there were not a lot of surprises for fans. Anyone who followed the spring practice reports saw exactly what they thought they would see.

Running Backs: No clear front runner, Nduka land Gill looked pretty good. Thermilus looked stronger and faster than last season, but it did not translate into yards on the field. Still its nice to see that the Bulls have three solid options before Potts even sets foot in Buffalo.

Thermilus Gill Nduka
Att 12 13 3
Yards 25 43 27
YPC 2.1 3.3 9.0

Receivers: Because of the work they have done during spring ball it's not surprising that the receivers put in a pretty good Blue and White day. Going into spring ball the receivers were the big question but as a unit they have stood since early on, yesterdays performance was more an exclamation point than a statement.

Neutz Rivers Hood Jackson

Neutz and Lee (Can't find his numbers and I was not keeping track at home) looked solid and Rivers seems to have found his hands. Right now coach Taylor is succeeding in bringing up the next set of solid receivers. The corps might not be where Roosevelt and Hamlin were last season but they are far closer than most would have thought possible back in January.

Offensive Line: Solid on most plays but they had a few too many total meltdowns, a couple of the defenses speed rushes made the line look like they were playing in slow motion, this may not have been helped by the QB's always clapping just before the snap.

Defensive Line: I'm still not blown away by the defensive line but I think that I may have been expecting too much of a miracle from Coach Oliver. The unit did have a couple highlights moments and they are definitely improved over last season but the every down pressure still is not there. The biggest improvement is the pressure from the tackles, last season that was not there, Saturday they looked far better.

Linebackers: Because the main formation was a 4-3 there was not question as to how the LB's would play, beyond the natural depth UB the 4-3 run by the Bulls ran freed up the unit to play cleanup for the defensive line. It looks like Akobundu is beating out Willis for the starting job.

Defensive Backs: The backs are the unit most benefiting from the new defensive mindset. The aggressive play is helped by the fact that Coach Duval has really improved the units physical frame (Shannon is a beast). The defensive backs really seemed to flow well to the ball