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Spring Win

April 20, 2009

Football, anyone?

With April winding down I thought Iíd take a break from the hoops euphoria and recap the spring football game that took place a couple weeks back. After all, this has been the least anxious week for the basketball program in, what, six years? We may not have felt this stable since Luke Walton and Jason Gardner were on campus.

Iím sure youíve also noticed I havenít jumped into baseball talk yet. Last place will do that to you.

So football it is, specifically the spring variety. The scrimmage that ends spring practice is like one of those road signs that remind you to fill up on gas before you drive off into the desert. Itís your last taste of the football experience until the summer swallows you up. The drive through campus (including the roadblock that detoured everyone who came down Cherry), the tailgate, the walk into the StadiumÖand the football.

One of the best parts of the spring game is trying to pick out the stars of the upcoming season. It will come as a surprise to no one that the star of stars will be GRONK! It was more of the same from #48. He would catch the ball over the middle and start dragging people. Gang-tackling was the defenseís only hope but even then I think they had to bring in guys from the sideline to finish off a couple plays.

At the end of the day the D turned to the one man who just might be able to bring down GRONK! His brother. Thatís right, Chris Gronkowski took some snaps at linebacker. On one play R.GRONK! caught a pass near the sideline, C.GRONK! ran over to make the hit but didnít get there in time.

What if he had? Would the world have survived GRONK! on GRONK! violence? It would have been like Superman vs. Spiderman. Paul Bunyan vs. Babe the Blue Ox. Time vs. Space. Had such a collision occurred itís quite possible none of us would be here today. Please keep Chris GRONK! on offense. For the good of mankind.

One of the most entertaining plays was an incomplete pass. Wide receiver William ďBugĒ Wright took the handoff running from left to right. Suddenly he pulled up and threw a beautiful spiral deep down field, hitting his target in the hands, only to have the ball dropped. It was strange seeing a trick play in a public scrimmage, especially one involving a new player with unknown skills. But it gave the fans something to talk about and it gives us another reason to keep an eye on the Bug this fall.

Now for the question on every Wildcat fanís mind: What about the quarterbacks? Who is going to step in and lead us to new heights?

I have no idea. Both guys showed potential and both guys looked like rookies. Funny how that works. Matt Scott had more big plays with multiple deep completions, but he also put some passes up for grabs, including a red zone interception. Nick Foles didnít take as many chances down field, but when you have GRONK! on your side a five-yard pass can turn into a big play.

I may be more concerned about the left tackle controversy than the QB one. At the start of the scrimmage both squads tried to run our bread-and-butter quick throws to the wideouts only to have a bunch of passes batted down at the line of scrimmage. An inexperienced quarterback can be protected by a superior running game, but the weaknesses of an offensive line arenít going to be bailed out by anyone.

But I will say this: After last year Iíll never judge a team by the spring game again. The offense looked terrible last spring. Tuitama was all over the place, and when he made a good throw the receivers dropped it. We saw nothing that indicated we were watching a unit that would go out and average 37 points a game.

So if you want to spend the summer dreaming, go right ahead. Maybe the O-line will be strong enough to produce another 33 rushing touchdowns while giving up only a couple sacks a game. Maybe the new quarterback will be able to avoid the big mistakes and mix in some big plays. Weíve got four and a half months until we find out so we may as well enjoy all that could happen.

At the spring game anything is possible. Losers can become winners. Nobodies can hear their names called. And by nobodies I mean me.

Itís true, in the middle of the action I heard my name called from the heavens. It turns out it was the P.A. announcer. Considering I hadnít been in on the last tackle I was confused. Then I remembered I entered the drawing for the ďsuper suiteĒ tickets. Could it be?

It could.

Two tickets in the way-up-high luxury suites. Not just for a single game, but for the entire season.

Itís going to be quite the cultural experiment. Iím not just moving up, Iím moving up from the Red Zone where half the game Iím on the wrong side of field, and all the game Iím standing and yelling. How will I handle hanging out with people who could buy and sell me 50 times over?

Will I be able to watch my Cats in a dignified manner? Will I have to wear a coat and tie that match my red hat? Will I ensure a prize like this never gets awarded again?

Anything is possible.

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