Tonight at seven the football team are wrapping up spring ball with the Blue & White Spring Scrimmage. If the weather holds up the practice will be held at UB stadium and will be free to attend, if the conditions take a turn for the worse the event will be move into the Murch and will not be open to the public.
If you’re planning on going best to keep an eye on @UBFootball, they will update if things change.
It’s a chance to see what the offense will look like in the post Tyree Jackson era and what the defense will look like without Khalil Hodge.
Buffalo lost Jackson and their two best receivers after last season. This is to say nothing of James O’Hagan who anchored the Buffalo offensive line for years.
The battle you’re going to want to watch will be Kyle Vantrease vs Dominic Johnson.
While Vantrease is the more battle tested of the quarterbacks it’s likely that Dominic Johnson’s toolset would better slide into the starting role.
The backfield was hit by a few big transfers in the offseason.
Gone are Reed and Hawkins, both having fallen on the depth chart as then freshman Jarret Patterson and Kevin Marks took over in the UB backfield.
This doesn’t change much for UB except that it chips away at experienced depth. There you have Theo Anderson who has been steady in the role and Dylan McDuffie who used a redshirt last season.
It will be interesting to see which of the two gets more reps.
This is easily the hardest hit position. Anthony Johnson may be been the best receiver in school history and he graduated. To add to the pain Buffalo lost KJ Osborn, who was the likely #1 next season, when he grad transferred to Miami (the warm one).
The guys you’d expect to start are Charlie Jones and Antonio Nunn. Jones is young but looked solid last season and Nunn has been an effective tool for a couple of seasons.
After that it gets fuzzy.
Zac Lefebvre was a tight end last season but has been working with the receivers this season. He’s got the size to be a nice option in the middle of the field if he can make the transistion.
After that you have Tito Overton, LeMaro Smith, Jovany Ruiz, Jelani Foster.
As of now Buffalo only has one on the roster who has seen a snap, Julien Bourassa.
I’m interested in seeing what Cole Burniston will be able to do.
The Bulls lost James O’Hagan, and Jacob Gall could be the guy to step into the role.
Jeramiah Dadaboe is looking to transfer (not on the roster) and Brandon Williams graduated.
The Bulls are pretty green at safety but Joey Banks and Tyrone Hill do have some starting experience. Hopefully Notre Dame graduate transfer Ashton White can step in and augment the position for Buffalo.
The corner back spot is also an area of concern. Buffalo lost both of their starting Corner backs. Because I’ve been so wrapped up in hoops I have not been paying a lot of attention to spring ball.
So at this point I have no idea who will be with the #1 defense tonight. Aapri Washington is a good bet, when he was healthy last season he saw the field a lot, and started five games.
Devon Russell, like Washington, had his season shortened by Injury but he was a good depth player for the first third of the season.
Other names to watch are Roy Baker, Ali Abbas, and Wankeith Akin,
Khalil Hodge is a huge loss in the middle, he’s one of the best ever to play linebacker for UB. Matt Otwinowski will likely get the nod to start the season off.
Kadofi Wright will be on the outside as a new starter and Jarrett Patterson will return on the other side.
Patterson’s freshman season indicated that he may be the next great UB linebacker.
UB lost three of their four starters on defense.
This years line looks to be Eddie Wilson and Chibueze Onwukaat tackle with Malcolm Koonce and Taylor Riggins at the ends. Both Koonce and Riggens got a lot of work as depth players last season.
Ledarius Mack might also step into a more prominent role. He worked with the line last season after starting the year as a linebacker and found a nice niche on passing downs.
Mitcheson is gone. his replacement is going to be Alex McNulty and Evan Finegan will return as the teams punter.
Place kicking was a real sore point last year for the team so the kickers, and support players like Jeremiah Riordan need to pick things up this season if UB is to be competitive in the division.