With 11 teams playing their annual scrimmages this weekend, spring game season is finally in full swing.
The Bulldogs went between the hedges Saturday for the annual G-Day Game, where Black defeated Red, 23-17. It was a good day for both Georgia quarterbacks, as returning starter Aaron Murray completed 12-of-18 pass attempts for 200 yards and two touchdowns for Red, while backup Huston Mason went 16-of-27 for 191 yards and a score. Walk-on tailback Kyle Karempelis led all running backs with 89 yards for Black.
"Overall, just a good game, and Georgia won," said Coach Mark Richt to scattered laughter from the press.
The Bulldogs set a spring game attendance record with 45,113 fans at Sanford Stadium.
Georgia's fierce cocktail party rivals, the Florida Gators, also played their Orange & Blue Debut Saturday. A number of injuries on the Florida offensive line prevented a true spring scrimmage, so the team ran a typical practice with approximately 40 scrimmage snaps. Freshman receiver Demarcus Robinson wowed fans with a spectacular touchdown grab, and classmate Kelvin Taylor also got the fans' attention with a score.
"He has the best cut-back probably in the backfield,'' Watkins said. "He can stop on a dime. He made a lot of good moves today. He is tough. When he gets hit, he gets right back up. He is just trying to learn, that's what I like about him."
The subplot of the day was head coach Will Muschamp's response to a Selena Roberts report that alleged he paid players while acting as Auburn's defensive coordinator. Muschamp was typical Muschamp: "I've already responded to that. Really, there is nothing to dignify any other response other than exactly what you read. Exactly what you read."
More than 60,000 Husker fans watched seven-year-old brain cancer patient Jack Hoffman run for a 69-yard touchdown as the Reds beat the Whites 32-25 in Nebraska's annual spring game.
Hoffman, who formed a close bond with graduating Nebraska halfback Rex Burkhead, was the team's leading rusher Saturday.
Each of Nebraska's three quarterbacks -- seniors Taylor Martinez and Ron Kellogg and redshirt freshman Tommy Armstrong -- led scoring drives against an overmatched Nebraska defense. Head coach Bo Pelini held back from criticizing the defense too specifically, but defensive line coach Rick Kaczenski did not mince words:
"It didn't look like guys were flying around," Kaczenski said. "That was what I was most upset with and disappointed in. I don't care if you can't get lined up. I want to see guys flying around. Didn't see that. Whether it's jitters, anxiety, whatever - that's excuses. We gotta get guys flying around."
Virginia faces the opposite problem: no offense. The Cavalier defense racked up 14 sacks and three safeties against the Virginia offense in Saturday's spring game, as the Orange defeated the Blue, 18-15. Any hope that a starting quarterback would emerge from the game was muffled by coach Mike London:
"All three of them have a high skill level and all three of them want to play. And the good thing is all three of them have to compete for every snap, every rep. Their actions off the field, everything is being scrutinized," London said. "I see promise in all three of them. . . . We'll continue to try and find that thing or those things that will separate them."
The 'Hoos have three potential starters to choose from: redshirt sophomore David Watford (5-of-10 for 55 yards Saturday), redshirt freshman Greyson Lambert (21-of-36, 248 yards), and redshirt junior Philip Sims (8-of-18, 89 yards).
The Cavalier defense, under new coordiantor Jon Tenuta, is buying into their new coordinator and his high-pressure scheme:
"Man, I love him," sophomore defensive end Eli Harold said. "He's aggressive. He fits my style of play perfectly, and a lot of our guys."
[Defensive tackle David] Dean said: "Honestly, everyone loves the new defense. It's very aggressive, and honestly we just all play as fast as possible and get upfield as a D-line and get after it."
Virginia does still have three more practices this spring to assess their current situation and, potentially, name a favorite for starting quarterback.
Quarterback Bryce Petty went 13-of-15 for 181 yards in Baylor's spring game Saturday, completing two touchdowns despite winds gusting in excess of 35 miles-per-hour. Head coach Art Briles praised his new starter under center:
"[Petty] has really come on and grabbed a hold of what we feel like he can do and should do; and has kind of embraced it," Briles said.
"Since before we started spring, I've said he's got to be the guy," Briles said. "It's his fourth spring here, he knows what we're doing, and now it's time to turn potential into reality and reality into production. And that's what he's doing."
Baylor's first-team defense dominated the backup offense, holding freshman quarterback Seth Russell to just 9-of-22 passing for 42 yards and picking off a pair of Russell passes.
TCU dedicated its new frog statue during an open practice, but there was no official spring game for the Horned Frogs.