The Blue Devils showed signs of the progress on defense deemed necessary for the 2012 season.
"It was the best I've seen all spring," quarterback Sean Renfree said of the defense.
The defense tends to receive much of the scrutiny because even when the Blue Devils have gotten it together on offense, it's often the defense that lags behind.
"This program isn't going to turn the corner until the defense stands up," defensive coordinator Jim Knowles said.
If there was a downside for the defense, it came with injuries suffered by cornerback Lee Butler and safety Brandon Braxton, who has converted from receiver. Neither injury is expected to impact their summer workouts, however.
Coach David Cutcliffe believes the spring was a success.
"We've got players who can make plays on both sides of the ball," he said. "That's a key, and we want to grow that number."
The top players from spring game were quarterback Brandon Connette and cornerback Ross Cockrell, who were dubbed Offensive and Defensive Most Valuable Players, respectively.
Connette, considered a run-first quarterback, is back after taking a redshirt season following a shoulder separation early in the 2011 season.
"The whole spring has been a chance to see I was back," Connette said. "The coaches have seen that all along. This was just a chance for (everybody else)."
Running back Josh Snead missed the 2011 season with a foot injury, but he showed energy during the spring.
"He's back," Cutcliffe. "He's strong and he's fast."
The whole concept on offense for the spring was to go to a faster-paced approach. That meant getting to the line of scrimmage for snaps and bolstering the tempo.
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