WACO, TX - NOVEMBER 19: Blake Bell #10 of the Oklahoma Sooners looks on during a game against the Baylor Bears at Floyd Casey Stadium on November 19, 2011 in Waco, Texas. The Baylor Bears defeated the Oklahoma Sooners 45-38. (Photo by Sarah Glenn/Getty Images)
Saturday marked college football's biggest day of live action until September, and now we've got ourselves a list of names to watch out for this year. Related: The EDSBS Spring Game Omnibus.
Spring football's busiest day provided some answers and some new questions, but mostly just an excuse to tailgate and cause for attendance braggin'. However, some up-and-coming stars did make their names known across the country.
Mysteries continue for Stanford at quarterback and offensive line, for USC and Michigan at backup quarterback, for Georgia at non-defense and for Miami at everything, but we do know a few things this week that we didn't know last week, and that's what life is all about.
Here we have, in no particular order, the 10-ish powerful forces who impressed on Saturday, other than the one that canceled Purdue's and Indiana's games, threatened Oklahoma's and postponed Nebraska's.
Kiehl Frazier, Auburn QB: If he wasn't already the favorite to become Auburn's sixth starting quarterback in six years, he is after Saturday. Frazier went 7-of-9 for 92 yards, while true freshman Zeke Pike got the backup snaps thanks to a Clint Moseley injury. While Auburn doesn't plan on naming a starter for the time being, Frazier is still saying he feels more comfortable in Scot Loeffler's offense than he did in Gus Malzahn's. And he's, you know, a year older, too.
"I think I've always been able to throw the ball, but I don't think I was really ready last season," Frazier said. "Zeke is probably a lot more comfortable at this time than I was last year. I wasn't adjusted to the speed of the game. I was tentative. I feel a lot more comfortable now."
Anyone with a notion of Loeffler discovering a poor man's Tim Tebow on Auburn's roster should keep looking to Frazier.
Tank Carradine, Florida State DE: The prime joy of FSU's spring game was watching Noles fans plead for Carradine to be taken out, as he'd proved everything he needed to prove against an overwhelmed line and was making it impossible for the offense to get anything done. He finished with seven tackles and two sacks, which would be outstanding for 60 minutes worth of work. And that's without Bjorn Werner tying up offensive line attention on the other end, as the big German was out Saturday.
Blake Bell, Oklahoma QB: Oklahoma's designated goal line thumper has an arm, or at least he does in scrimmage situations. After throwing four times for eight yards in 2011, the Belldozer went 14-of-19 for 179 yards and a touchdown through the air as Landry Jones took it easy. Fellow Sooners spring game star Trey Metoyer sees a connection between those legs and that arm:
"When he (Bell) does that (scrambles), nine of 10 times, you're going to get open,'' Metoyer said. "He does a good job of moving around. It's our job to get open and move around. You just have to know what's going on. I just try to follow him. I don't know if it's chemistry or whatever, but the receivers are doing a good job of coming off their routes and meeting the ball.''
Trey Metoyer, Oklahoma WR: Speaking of! Some things are worth the wait. Metoyer has been the story of Oklahoma's spring camp, and his six catches for 72 yards on Saturday further fed the buzz. Replacing Ryan Broyles will be a tall order, especially after the way OU fell apart without him last year, but Metoyer, Jaz Reynolds and company have Norman in good hands:
"I can't remember a competitive play where he didn't make the catch this spring," [offensive coordinator Josh] Heupel said. "He's a guy that can be a big-time impact on us offensively. He can be a competitive one-on-one playmaker out on the outside.
Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville QB: The Big East favorites are expecting a lot from their returning conference freshman of the year. With his only two incompletions in 21 attempts coming due to dropped balls, it would appear Bridgewater's on track to deliver. Especially with those wheels to match:
[Charlie] Strong singled out the play of defensive lineman Lorenzo Mauldin but the sophomore said he was no match for Bridgewater's elusiveness.
"Teddy Bridgewater is, as they say, Houdini,'' Mauldin said. "When I run after him I know I'm not going to catch him.''
Not only did he take the most snaps, he made the most out of them. He led two touchdown drives, including the game-winner capped by a scoring strike to Chris Potter on fourth down. He was decisive, accurate, and daring; in other words, he was nothing like I remembered. Hooray for my failing memory!
Ongoing special teams woes aside, if Boise State can get some immediate solidity at quarterback, they could again be dangerous despite losing approximately 58 starters this year.
Connor Shaw and Tanner McEvoy, South Carolina QBs: It wouldn't be a Steve Spurrier game if six different quarterbacks weren't being whirled in and out of the huddle, but at least it's clear which the top two are. McEvoy and Shaw split 260 yards and four touchdowns pretty much right down the middle, though Shaw did it with just one incompletion in seven attempts.
Spurrier seems to like his ball club this year, as evidenced as much by his airin' it out on Saturday as by his return to his classic verbal style over the past week.
"We obviously threw the ball and caught it better than any spring game," he said. "Probably more passing yards and completions. I thought coverage could've been better. We didn't have a pass rush. Jadeveon Clowney and Devin Taylor didn't play much. The quarterbacks had time and the receivers caught about everything. They had good routes. Who's to say if our coverage is suspect or not, but I know Coach [Lorenzo] Ward wasn't happy about some guys getting behind them. It made the offensive guys look pretty good throwing and catching. Whatever it means, I don't know."
The fun part about McEvoy playing so well is that we'll get to see the two trading places on the bench after every couple of drives in October.
Nuke Hopkins, Clemson WR: First of all, his given name is DeAndre Hopkins, but with a nickname like Nuke Hopkins, I don't believe we have any practical need for his given name. With 120 yards and a touchdown, Hopkins completed a spring that's seen him add 20 pounds and fight for a bigger role than just Sammy Watkins' sidekick:
"He was clearly the MVP of our team this spring," coach Dabo Swinney said. "It's the first offseason he's ever had - even last year he was playing basketball - where's been committed to one sport. What's happened now is all that great talent, athleticism, ability to run and ball skills, now he has added the physical strength to go with it. As he's gotten stronger his confidence has shot through the roof."
Hopkins posted perhaps the nation's quietest 900-yard receiving season last year, overshadowed by Watkins and star tight end Dwayne Allen. With a frame now fit for banging across the middle, he could help make Chad Morris' machine just about automatic.
T.J. Yeldon, Alabama RB: Instead of sitting behind Michael Dyer as a freshman at Auburn, could Yeldon end up challenging Eddie Lacy for carries at Alabama? Just months after his pre-Signing Day flip, Yeldon was the A-Day Game star, totaling 179 yards on 21 touches.
Nick Saban was impressed by Yeldon's outburst, and that's always saying something. Saban has been casting Yeldon's spring as a work for the sake of experience and not necessarily a push for major playing time, but Yeldon may have changed all that.
Stephen Morris, Miami QB: By not even playing, the potential Miami starter turned into a minor Messiah character, as everything fell completely apart without him.
The Miami offense- spread across two teams- scored a total of 13 points. The quarterbacks threw four interceptions; they did not throw a touchdown. There is a strong possibility that Miami's offense is not going to be very good in 2012, but the "offense" at the Spring Game today is also not Miami's offense. Stephen Morris, the undisputed best quarterback on the team, did not participate, nor did Allen Hurns, who will likely enter the season as the nominal No. 1 receiver.
Considering Morris himself has thrown 11 picks in his 190 career attempts, the battle between him and Memphis transfer Ryan Williams could get uglier before it gets prettier.
While we're here, let's watch some college football videos from SB Nation's new YouTube channel together: