Mark Stoops began the final full week of Spring Football by challenging his team to consistently improve each and every day. After a solid week of practice, Stoops Troops finished with an exclamation point.
After an individual warm-up and 7-on-7 period, the scrimmage started fast for the offense with two first downs in the first four plays. They started methodically, running the ball and passing short to mid-range routes effectively. Towles’ offense didn’t have a negative play until they hit the Red Zone. Towles’ fade to Badet in the end zone was broken up, and Joey Herrick douldn’t corral a pass up the middle on 3rd and long. Austin MacGinnis has hit some long field goals, but the defense’s stop was a success after a 45-yard miss, wide left.
The offense immediately responded when Towles found birthday boy, Blake Bone, streaking down the sideline for a spectacular 50-yard grab. Bone made a difficult adjustment while the ball was in the air, but still found the ball, pumping energy into the atmosphere.
Drew Barker took over the following series after the offense was forced to another field goal. Barker re-energized the Conner connection with a nice crossing pattern to Cameron Fogle. A few plays later, a defensive back bit on the play action, leaving Thaddeus Snodgrass open deep downfiled for a 40-yard touchdown (you can check it out in the highlights).
Once the offense for comfortable they were tough to slow down, even without running backs Jojo Kemp and Mikel Horton. Boom Williams strung together a couple of big runs in a row, but the defense made sure Boom was contained inside for most of the day.
The receiving core had also taken its lumps with various, but guys like Jeff Badet, C.J. Conrad and Garrett Johnson stepped up. Johnson was great after the catch making defenders miss, and Conrad’s one-handed grab might have been the play of the day. Even though they started the day with some dropped balls, they recovered by piecing together series after series with routine plays. Stoops applauded his group for not getting “behind the chains,” but when put in a difficult situation, Patrick Towles was composed. With his feet relaxed in the pocket, he rifled lasers 8-12 yards down the field to keep drives alive.
Even though the defense gave up some big scores, they had a few big plays of their own. They were able to get to Barker multiple times, causing enough pressure for Josh Forrest to intercept a pair of passes in the middle of the field. Later on, Cameron Fogle took one hit in the middle of the field before Darius West gave him a lick he couldn’t hold on to, with Dorian Hendrix recovering the fumble.
At the end of the back-and-forth scrimmage, the offense capped it off with some excitement for the fans. Towles went deep one more time to Thaddeus Snodgrass for a 30+ yard gain. The scrimmage ended after Towles found Rashad Cunningham in the end zone the following play.
This year’s Spring Game wasn’t what we were used to, but the quality of football has never been better. Fans in attendance got to feel what it’s like to be on the sidelines, and were given a treat with consistent football.
Once this team heals up, they proved today that the New Commonwealth Stadium will see some great football this Fall.
If you missed the Highlights
Cats Shine in the Nike Hoop Summit
Skal Labissiere was as good, if not better, than advertised during today’s Nike Hoops Summit. Coming off the bench, he left NBA scouts astonished with 21 points, 8 boards and 6 blocked shots, including one on Duke signee Luke Kennard to seal a victory for the World team. For a full breakdown of all the Cats on Cal’s radar, check out Andrew Cassady’s roundup.
The biggest surprise was Canada’s 2016 point guard Jamal Murray. People want him to reclassify after dropping 30 points, and enough for the BBN to show some love.
BBN hitting me up ðŸ’¯ðŸ‘ŒðŸ¾
– Jamal Murray (@JamalMurray7) April 11, 2015
Karl Towns Thanks the BBN
I didn’t feel like weeping on such a beautiful day, so I haven’t taken the time to read the 5-page letter, handwritten in cursive. Karl is the best, and if you thought you were going to miss him, after reading this you’re going to miss him even more.
Will Jordan Spieth Blow It?
I sure hope not, especially if the Brit, Paul Casey, is the one to take the young gun down. Spieth is sitting at -16 under, with Casey, Mickelson and Charley Hoffman not far behind. Right behind them is an entertaining group — Rory and Tiger. Regardless of the score, I will have a great Sunday afternoon nap.