I've noticed there isn't much correlation between what happens in the spring football game and what happens in a real football game. In fact, the last three years it seems like that whatever happened in the spring game, the opposite of that happened during the season.
The rules aren't the same. There was a running clock in the second half, something both GMs had in mind when they picked their teams, thinking they could be ahead and grind down the clock running the ball. The defense wasn't allowed to blitz. (I wasn't at the game, so I don't know if they were restricted in their ability to match up personnel with the offense, like they were in some years.) Willie Taggart told everyone after the game that the offense didn't do much shifting or motion like they would in a real game. There's no game plan, and very little cohesiveness because the teams barely got any practice time together. For all these reasons, I've always felt like the most important thing that can happen at a spring football game is that everyone gets out of it healthy. Which they all did, so mission accomplished.
There are some useful things to come out of the spring game, though. The biggest one is the developing black hole at quarterback, which could devour the whole season if no one steps forward and takes the job. Matt Floyd started off with an 85-yard touchdown pass to Andre Davis (who was being covered by a linebacker, a very bad idea). But the rest of the game was a very mixed bag. He had another long completion to Clinton Jones on a fourth-down conversion that he may not have had a chance to make in a real game. He added another touchdown pass to Davis on a 1-yard lob. But outside of those plays, Floyd did very little. And he appears to have the yips when it comes to taking the center snap. Taggart's offense does include some shotgun sets, but his quarterbacks are going to be under center a lot more than they were in Todd Fitch's offense. Floyd's going to sabotage his chances to start if he keeps fumbling center exchanges. Maybe we need to give him something to memorize and recite before the center snap so he doesn't think about taking the snap, a la Rube Baker.
On the other side, Bobby Eveld didn't really have many reliable targets to work with, but he wasn't all that impressive either. He may end up winning the starting job by default, just because he can receive the snap without dropping the ball. But neither of the potential starters is really appealing right now. For all we know, Mike White's going to have a chance to play in the fall, fresh out of high school. The struggles of USF to recruit quarterbacks the last few years are really coming home to roost.
The rushing totals are also incredibly low, but they're a bit misleading. When you back out all the quarterback yards, which includes negative yards from Floyd fumbling the ball and whatever Tommy Eveld did when he was in the game, the two teams combined for 86 yards on 36 attempts. Still pretty bad, especially for a team that has to run the ball successfully. Taggart said after the game that the holes looked like they were there, but the backs were too anxious to get going and didn't let the plays develop. And remember, both teams only had half an offensive line, and they put an emphasis on building their defensive lines when they drafted players. The front fours on both teams had 11 of the 16 total TFLs in the game. (Nice to see that, after last season where the line often went missing for long stretches of games.)
That's just what I can extrapolate from watching the highlights and reading the interviews. Any thoughts from those of you who made it to the stadium?
Here's the Taggart interview from GoUSFBulls.com that I referenced a couple of times: