Posted on: March 1, 2012 5:52 pm
Edited on: March 1, 2012 5:59 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
Spring football is in the air, and with our Spring Practice Primers the Eye On College Football Blog gets you up to speed on what to look for on campuses around the country this spring. Today we look at Cincinnati.
Spring Practice Started: Thursday, March 1
Spring Game: Saturday, April 14
Three Things To Look For:
1. Munchie Legaux's encore. Junior quarterback Munchie Legaux had a chance to get comfortable under center in 2011, appearing in seven games and starting in the final three. When Zach Collaros went down with an ankle injury that kept him out for the remainder of the regular season, Legaux stepped in to help the Bearcats claim a share of the Big East title. At times, Legaux was brilliant on the field. He used his athleticism and creativity to keep plays alive, throwing for 749 yards and adding 185 on the ground. But there were also four interceptions in the last four games, and a 47.4 completion percentage on the season. Spring practice will be Legaux's first chance since then to prove he is ready for permanent starting job. Head coach Butch Jones has named Legaux the first-stringer to start workouts, but has described the competition as "wide open."
2. Looking for defensive playmakers. Even after Zach Collaros' ankle injury, the Bearcats' defense helped keep them in games by holding the opposition from reaching the end zone. Cincinnati ranked third in the Big East and No. 20 nationally in scoring defense, allowing just 20.3 points per game. A big part in their defensive success came from fantastic individual playmaking from All-Big East talent like linebacker JK Schaffer and defensive tackle Derek Wolfe. The Bearcats actually allowed an average of 356.4 yards per game, but thanks to playmaking and a Top 10 turnover margin (0.92/game) they were able to step up when it counts. Schaffer and Wolfe are gone now, and the unit will need more playmakers in 2012 to avoid paying the penalty for 300+ yards allowed per game.
3. Butch Jones back under the microscope. Jones' first two seasons as the Bearcats' head coach encompassed the entire spectrum of success. His arrival was accompanied with a drop from back-to-back conference titles to 4-8. The Big East free-fall had Cincinnati fans panicking until Jones delivered a 10-win season and share of the 2011 Big East title. The need for reloading talent is strong now as it has been since Brian Kelly's tenure, and the onus begins to fall on Jones now that "his guys" are starting to hit the field.
Catch up on all the latest Spring Practice Primers and Spring Game dates at our Spring Practice Home
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Tags: Big East, Brendon Kay, Brian Kelly, Butch Jones, Chip Patterson, Cincinnati, Cincinnati Spring Practice Dates, Cincinnati Spring Practice Previews, Cincinnati Spring Practice Primer, Derek Wolfe, Isaiah Pead, JK Schaffer, Jordan Luallen, Munchie Legaux, Patrick Coyne, Spring Practice Primer, Spring Practice Primers, Zach Collaros