There's one program left in the country that hasn't started spring football. GET ON WITH IT, KANSAS STATE. But seriously, things are really getting into full swing, and five programs got stuff started Tuesday, including a program with a new coach at Oregon. Here's a look at some tidbits from various teams getting their spring practices underway.
You're not supposed to tackle the quarterback in spring practice. Braxton Miller really wishes his teammates would figure that out already:
The Big Ten's player of the year in 2012 was hit on an option pitch by defensive end Noah Spence even though Miller was wearing a black (for no contact) jersey. Miller stayed down for several minutes. As backup Kenny Guiton replaced him, Miller confronted some defensive players on the sideline before being restrained by teammates.
The good news: Miller is apparently doing such a good job selling the option that defenders are hitting him and missing the ball. That means those plays would probably be greatly successful if he successfully pitched the ball, having taken the option defender totally out of the play. Good job, Braxton!
The bad news: GAHHHHH. Braxton Miller, is, like, uh, the best player on Ohio State! Stop trying to hurt him, Ohio State teammates! Of course, most of the danger on quarterback injuries comes from how defenseless they typically are when trying to throw the ball, while a guy making a pitch is more prepared for a hit, but you still don't want your maybe Heisman candidate picking up unnecessary dings in spring ball.
The Bruins kicked off spring ball under Jim Mora, and Bruins Nation was there:
As you would expect, practice was a lot different than last year, with a better pace and tempo. Mora even said that it was "fun". What's that?! The coaches are trying to get improvements every day and it seems much easier this time around as the players understand the expectations and are therefore more efficient and make fewer mistakes. The coaches have jumped into the full training regimen as there is now no reason to ease into it.
However, there's some worrisome news: the team apparently doesn't have a punter on the roster. This is either AWESOME in that they've finally decided to play the numbers and eschew punting except in extreme, fourth-and-34-on-your-own-2-yard-line circumstances, when they can have a kicker or somebody just try to boot the ball as long as they can, or more likely they're just going to have somebody who can handle multiple kicking roles or look for a walk-on.
It's a new era under Mark Helfrich! Wait, it's not a new era under Mark Helfrich:
Helfrich has said he does not plan to change Oregon's offense, except for "tweaking'' it here and there. And, at least for the spring, he'll keep practices closed to fans and the media, just as Kelly did. "There's some things we've changed a little bit - how we do some drills - but that happens every year at every school in America ... nothing drastic at all,'' Helfrich said.
That's obviously great news for Oregon fans, as it means Marcus Mariota and crew won't be doing anything majorly different after scoring 49.6 points per game in 2012.
Dri Archer showed he was electric enough to do pretty much everything in 2012, earning Consensus All-American honors as a kick returner, running back three kicks while adding 16 rushing touchdowns and four receiving scores. With Kent State spring ball starting Tuesday, add one more duty to the 5'8 Renaissance man's list:
Dri Archer is still expanding his repertoire and is now returning punts. Haynes says that Archer came to him in a meeting and said he wanted to do it, and of course Haynes agreed... Haynes wants the team's most explosive player around the ball as much as possible. Archer wants a fourth way (runner, receiver, kick-off returner) to get the ball. Teams are already doing enough to kick it away from him. They'll have to do that on kickoffs and punts.
Archer is pretty much the most #MACtion-y player possible, and now there's another way for him to score touchdowns, which is great. If anybody does opt to send the ball his way, there's no doubt he'll take the ball to the house at least once with his blazing speed and ability to change directions.