College football spring practice 2013: Florida State, Oklahoma searching for starting quarterback

Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

Quarterback controversies are abundant, while Brian Kelly is looking to relinquish his play-calling duties. What else made headlines around college football on Sunday?

Position battles are always headline spring practices. Finding a new quarterback to lead the team into next season, though, can be a daunting task. Oklahoma and Florida State are both going through that process as we speak.

Only one spring game was on display Sunday, but the news kept flowing from all the action taking place Saturday. Let's look at some of the headlines.

Notre Dame

Head coach Brian Kelly was the primary play-caller for the Irish over his first three seasons. Now he's giving up some of those duties. Offensive coordinator Chuck Martin is seeing an expanded role this spring, and he will be the one calling the shots on offense in 2013. according to Keith Arnold of NBC Sports:

"He's called all the plays in the spring. My sense is that will continue," Kelly said after Saturday's practice. "I have full confidence in his ability to play call and my expectations are that that's the way it will go in the fall."

Martin and Kelly have known each other for a long time. They coached together back at Grand Valley State in the early 2000s. Martin took over as OC for Notre Dame last year.


Replacing Landry Jones is a primary concern for the Sooners. Blake Bell, Kendal Thompson and Trevor Knight are all vying for the chance to start under center. Bell might look like the front-runner to some after throwing for 213 yards and two touchdowns in Oklahoma's spring game, but Jordan Esco of Crimson & Cream Machine isn't ready to name him the starter:

I'm not here to tell you that he will or that he won't, but I'm not entirely sure what all these people were watching that made them so confident in Bell's chances. I'd grant them that Bell was certainly the most decisive with his decisions when asked to drop back and pass, but that shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone considering he's the only one of the three battling for the job who has any experience playing under the lights.

Bell, a redshirt junior, is a step ahead with his limited in-game experience.


Senior Beau Allen will be anchoring the center of Wisconsin's new 3-4 defense this season. Defensive coordinator Dave Aranda seems to be looking forward to Allen's presence in the middle, according to Phil Mitten of Bucky's 5th Quarter.

"He'll be able to tie up two blockers, all of the while knocking guys back," Aranda said. "That's what you look for in that spot. He's a big part of the defense going forward."

Allen is still recovering from his January ankle surgery. The team is being careful about his return to action. The Badgers take the field for their spring game April 20.

Florida State

Jameis Winston became better known in the eyes of Seminoles fans after Saturday's spring game. The redshirt freshman quarterback completed 12-of-15 passes for 205 yards and two touchdowns against Florida State's first-team defense. Replacing E.J. Manuel is an ongoing process, but Winston made a strong case with his performance. Tomahawk Nation took note of his display:

It's his demeanor that separates him from the pack. In a quarterback competition against a fourth year guy like Clint Trickett, you'd think the redshirt freshman would lack in the leadership department, but that couldn't be further from the truth. It's easy to see in the way he carries himself. Whether it's his determination, dedication, or willingness to put the burden on his shoulders, he seems to be that guy.

Trickett may have been an early favorite because of his fourth-year status. The starting role is up for grabs, though, in Tallahassee.


In the only action from Sunday, the Blue (defense) topped the White (offense) to win 56-46 in UTSA's Football Fiesta Spring Game at Dub Ferris Stadium. Head coach Larry Coker liked what he saw out of his secondary that came up with three interceptions:

"I'm really impressed with the way our secondary is coming along. I really like what I saw out there today. The wide receivers were really the strength of our team, but our defensive backs stepped up this spring and showed a lot of improvement."

Quarterback Eric Soza completed 13-of-25 passes for 128 yards and a touchdown. The junior quarterback threw 20 touchdowns and just three interceptions last season.

Western Michigan

New head coach P.J. Fleck is excited for the his first season with the Broncos. Like, really excited. The team held an open practice Friday night, inviting students to attend "Nekton Neon Night" at Waldo Stadium. Fleck adopted the motto "Row the Boat" as a motivational tool upon arriving at Western Michigan, and now he's literally demonstrating how to get it done. Watch and enjoy:

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Two words: JurasSEC Park

DAN ON FIRE: Stop drafting SEC players

Nebraska’s Jack Hoffman makes the play of 2013?


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