Spring practices are ongoing across the country, which means there is football-type substance that we can talk about! Among other things, Wisconsin is trying to figure out which quarterback is going to be good enough to start for the team in 2013, and Steve Spurrier is doing his best to spice up the offseason with some shots at both ESPN and Southern Cal. Those and other notes from practices around the nation:
Despite the fact that South Carolina finished last season ranked and Southern Cal did not, ESPN chose to send cameras to Los Angeles for the Trojans' pro day rather than to Columbia. Gamecocks head coach Steve Spurrier could not help but talk a bit about this.
Never leave us, Steve.
Two seasons ago, transfer Russell Wilson provided Wisconsin with the talent and stability at the quarterback position to not only win a Big Ten title, but also put the team in the national championship discussion. Now Wisconsin is coming off a season in which it started three different players under center, which leaves plenty to be resolved for new head coach Gary Andersen.
"We're going to look at all the quarterbacks,'' Andersen said. "We're going to look real hard at the youth at the quarterback position because it's important. They need the opportunity to see how far they've come.''
Stefan McClure is calming fears about his ability to return from a major knee injury:
All eyes were on Stefan McClure's knee coming into spring, but by the end of the first practice, it was clear that there was nothing to worry about - he had recorded several passes broken up, an interception, and solid work all around. The Bears have a shutdown corner in #21 - for proof of that, we need to look no further than Kenny Lawler, a big star through most of camp who became nearly invisible once matched up against McClure.
McClure is one of the better comeback stories in college football this spring. He suffered what he called "the terrible triad" near the end of the 2011 season, tearing an ACL, MCL and meniscus. He later had to have microfracture surgery on the knee and was not able to play in 2012.
Jimbo Fisher opened up practice to the media on Wednesday, and SB Nation's Bud Elliott was there to make some observations. The 'Noles will have a new starting quarterback this year, and Elliott liked some of the leadership qualities he saw from freshman Jameis Winston during drills:
Another thing I noticed about Jameis Winston is how much love he shows his offensive line. Even when he's not taking snaps with them, he's always the first one out there to greet them and give them a pat on the back. I liked this. Without getting into hyperbole about leadership, Jameis does seem to relate to everyone.
Winston is battling with Clint Trickett to replace E.J. Manuel.
The Tigers have a new coaching staff and a new defensive system, which is already leading to some position changes.
Making those moves left a few numbers open at linebacker, where LaDarius Owens, who has played defensive end since arriving on campus, moved to the position, and Chris Landrum, who was moved to H-back last season, also made the switch back to linebacker for the 4-2-5.
Auburn finished last season ranked 79th nationally in total defense and 66th in scoring.