Spring game Saturday is a tease of our favorite fall tradition. The intensity of the spring games (or controlled scrimmages) varies across the country, but fans still love coming out to spend an April Saturday getting a preview of what's to come in the fall. We take a look around the country to see what how things went -- spoiler: "Players competed, no update on the QB situation, we're just happy to get out of here healthy."
Michigan State: The Spartans won a Big Ten title and a Rose Bowl last season, but this year it looks like Sparty is looking to add a national rodeo title. At least, that's what we took away from Connor Cook celebrating one of his touchdown passes on Saturday.
Oh, and just to further prove that Michigan State is all about having fun today, this happened as well.
You can afford to have fun when you have one of these.
Kansas State: The Wildcats had a special moment during their spring game that was reminiscent of what Nebraska did last season with seven-year old Jack Hoffman.
Kaiden Schroeder is an eight-year old from Kansas City that was diagnosed with leukemia in 2009. Kansas State linebacker Ryan Mueller visited Kaiden in the hospital, developing a friendship with him, and during Saturday's spring game Kaiden had the chance to run for a 30-yard touchdown while sharing Mueller's No. 44.
There's been a lot of fun and interesting things happening at spring games this year, but it's going to be hard to top that.
Well, we didn't learn much about that on Saturday. Mark Leal looked better than freshman Brenden Motley, but Frank Beamer said nothing is decided yet, even if he would like to figure it out sooner rather than later.
Beamer said VT has to go in a direction quickly come fall at QB. "Whoever it's going to be needs to get a lot of reps in preseason practice"— Andy Bitter (@AndyBitterVT) April 26, 2014
Offensive coordinator Scott Loeffler was a bit more blunt about things.
“Our intensity was terrible,” Loeffler said. “I'm really disappointed in how we walked out on to the field and competed. That hasn't been our M.O. this spring, but it obviously was today, and I was very, very disappointed.”
Arkansas: Considering how the 2013 season went for Bret Bielema and the Razorbacks, it would be hard to blame Arkansas fans from staying away from today's spring game, and early indications were that they might.
Requisite shot from Fayetteville. Not a lot of Georgia Tech fans yet. pic.twitter.com/y7etUnxYZZ— Steven Godfrey (@38Godfrey) April 26, 2014
Not to worry, it turns out that Arkansas fans were just fashionably late, as the school estimated that by the time everybody showed up there were close to 30,000 fans in attendance. Which isn't bad at all coming off a three-win season.
And what they saw was a Bret Bielema offense playing like a Bret Bielema offense. The Razorbacks rushed for 252 yards and four touchdowns as a team, with Korliss Marshall (Arkansas players named Korliss tend to do well, no matter the spelling) leading the way. Marshall finished the game with 99 yards and two touchdowns.
Minnesota: The Gophers are wrapping up spring practice with a youth clinic, which means a lot of kids are in town having a blast. And of course the good times include tackling Minnesota tight end Maxx Williams.
Gearing up for hundreds of kids at Hope Day today. It's all fun and games till I stick my minions on you. pic.twitter.com/xz64R08rEi
— Drew Goodger (@goodgergopher83) April 26, 2014
Kentucky: Remember last year when more than 50,000 people showed up for Kentucky's first spring game under Mark Stoops? It was a school record, and one the Wildcats could not match today. No, this year Kentucky had to settle for the second-biggest spring game crowd in school history.
35,117 in attendance at Kentucky's spring game. Second-most in UK spring football history, trailing only last year. Stoops.— Paul Myerberg (@PaulMyerberg) April 26, 2014
The 35,117 people in attendance saw quarterback Patrick Towles and running back Jojo Kemp lead the Blue team to a 38-14 win over the White. Towles, who is competing for the starting job, completed nine of his 10 passes for 110 yards.
After a pregame meal at Putters, we've arrived to ring in the Dave Clawson era pic.twitter.com/fWSx5pXTe3— Chip Patterson (@Chip_Patterson) April 26, 2014
Wake Forest did not answer any questions when it comes to the quarterback situation, but Saturday's spring game did give fans an expectation of what to expect in year one under Dave Clawson. Tyler Cameron and Kevin Sousa, the only two scholarship quarterbacks in spring practice, were intercepted a combined four times, including two that were returned for touchdowns. Even though the Demon Deacons are installing new schemes on both sides of the ball, the defense -- making the transition from a 3-4 with All-ACC nose guard Nikita Whitlock to a new 4-2-5 scheme under defensive coordinator Mike Elko -- looked a second faster and more game-ready for most of the game.
Sophomore safety Thomas Brown pulled in two interceptions and cornerback Kevin Johnson recorded another, giving some support to the idea that the secondary will be the strongest unit for Wake in 2014. Even the intrasqauad scrimmage was not without some losses though; center Corey Helms, an expected starter, and backup running back James Ward each left the game with injuries. Clawson said after the game that Helms suffered an ankle sprain. There was not an update offered for Ward, who left the game on the cart with a leg injury.
True freshmen Travis Smith and John Wolford will arrive on campus in June and have been promised an opportunity to compete for the starting job. While Tyler Cameron and Kevin Sousa had an opportunity to gain an edge in the spring, the job still appears to be wide open heading into fall camp. -- Chip Patterson