New eras are all the rage in college football, and several major teams showed off new visions of their programs during the second big slate of spring games on Saturday. Replacing a Heisman Trophy quarterback was on the docket at Alabama, while new coaches took the field at spring games at Nebraska and Wisconsin.
The biggest story of the day had to be at Colorado, where Deion Sanders debuted with the Buffaloes. After hosting fewer than 2,000 fans in 2022, the Buffalos fielded a packed house of 47,277 on hand to watch Coach Prime lead his team onto the field. The game was broadcast nationally on basic cable, joining Georgia as the only teams in the country to receive the benefit.
Colorado's spring game gave an early look at a completely revamped roster. The Buffalos offense, led by former Kent State coach Sean Lewis, took center stage. Quarterback Shedeur Sanders connected with former No. 1 overall recruit Travis Hunter to score the first touchdown of the Coach Prime era. Both names will be on full display as Colorado tries to climb its way back into national relevance.
What else happened Saturday?
- Alabama: The Crimson Tide are holding one of the most high-profile quarterback competitions in the nation. Sophomore Jalen Milroe and redshirt freshman Ty Simpson both looked inconsistent in their first efforts, combining for three interceptions on 63 combined pass attempts. Milroe threw for two touchdowns and ran for another, but Simpson also showed off his speed with a 45-yard run. With Bryce Young off to the NFL and new offensive coordinator Tommy Rees on the sideline, the Crimson Tide have work to do to return to national contention. Neither quarterback was able to separate themselves during the spring game, meaning the battle will continue into the fall.
Notre Dame: Quarterback Sam Hartman ranked as perhaps the biggest transfer of the offseason. It's just spring football, but his addition already seemed to have changed everything. Hartman completed 13 of 16 passes for 189 yards and two touchdowns in his first game as a member of the Fighting Irish. The other four passers in the game combined to go just 18-for-39 for 123 yards with zero touchdowns and two interceptions. Hartman is really that kind of playmaker, and it's encouraging to see him pop right away. Additionally, early-enrollee wide receiver Jaden Greathouse emerged as a top target early, catching 11 passes for 118 yards.
- Nebraska: The Cornhuskers' weekend was dedicated to setting the stage for the Matt Rhule era. While the on-field product was a little shaky -- especially with expected starting quarterback Casey Thompson sidelined -- the vibes are off the charts. Rhule welcomed former Nebraska coach Frank Solich back by calling fullback trap on the first play of the game, and delivering the game ball to the former 'Huskers fullback. Solich joked to fans that now that he's back, the curse is over at Nebraska. We'll see!
- LSU: Tigers quarterback Jayden Daniels showed massive improvement during his final spring game at LSU, completing 10-of-11 passes for 168 yards and two touchdowns to lead the offense. Daniels took multiple deep shots across the afternoon game, including a 70-yard pass to Kyren Lacy. If Daniels can continue to improve, it changes LSU's ceiling in Brian Kelly's second season.