The spring game is little more than a glorified practice. However that does not mean that you should not pay attention to it. There are some insights to be gleaned from any competition, even if it is an inter squad scrimmage. Here are a couple of things to keep in mind when you watch or attend Bearcat Bowl IV, hopefully attend.
1: The Butch Jones Era Begins. This is the first chance to get a handle on what the Butch Jones era is going to be like. All indicators seem to be that Jones splits the difference between how Mark Dantonio and Brian Kelly worked with the players. The other thing is that this is going to be the first chance to see how Jones and Bajakian approach the game on offense. It is going to provide a measure of insight on which plays form the spine of the offense, and what sort of personnel groupings they will use. From a defensive perspective there isn’t a lot to be learned that we as fans haven’t been told already. The team is going back to a 4-3, but that was known months ago. So about the only thing you can watch for is which players comprise which defensive packages, Nickle, Dime ect.
2: Unwrapping Vidal Hazelton and Kenbrell Thompkins. These receivers are the two of the most intriguing new names to the two deep this year. If you read the paper or surf the internet you have heard something about these two guys. But hearing good things from coaches in a post practice interview or reading about some play one of them made in a practice report isn’t quite the same as watching them live. And there is really only so much you can get from watching youtube clips, and both of these guys have some outstanding vids posted there. I want to see both of these guys in person to get an idea of what sort of contribution to expect from them come Fall
3: It’s Football. I realize full well that this is bordering on sacrilege in this town. But I despise Baseball. So in Cincinnati my sporting year effectively ends in March when UC gets beat in the Big East tournament. Between the end of the UC Basketball season until the start of Football in August I am in my own sporting wilderness. To save myself from boredom I follow the NBA playoffs and the UEFA Champions League. But because this is Cincinnati finding people who watch the NBA is hard, and off UC’s Campus finding people who watch the Champions League is impossible. The only reprieve I get from my sporting wilderness is the spring game when I can enjoy some Football with 10,000 or so like minded people for a few hours before I have to go back into the desert.