With spring practices underway, everyone wants to know the identity of the next big stars. Here are the questions we tackle in the video …
• How will the quarterback derby shake out at Michigan?
• Is it O.K. to fill the time between college football games with soccer, Formula One and NASCAR?
Read on for more questions and answers …
From @jkringer: Are there any transfers or juco signees eligible for spring practice who we should keep an eye on?
While most of the attention goes to the true freshmen, the guys who are a little bit older have better odds to make an instant impact on the field. So, who will be this year’s Duke Williams, the receiver who went from a junior college in Mississippi to leading Auburn in catches in 2014? There are quite a few candidates, and we’ll start in the Loveliest Village on the Plains.
Jovon Robinson, RB, Auburn
Robinson signed with Auburn out of high school in 2012, but an investigation by Memphis City Schools found that a guidance counselor had changed at least one of Robinson’s grades. That got him declared ineligible, and he spent the past two seasons at Georgia Military College. In ’14 the 6-foot, 235-pound Robinson was named the NJCAA national player of the year after rushing for a juco-record 2,387 yards and scoring a record 34 touchdowns. Robinson enrolled at Auburn in January and might replace Cameron Artis-Payne as the Tigers’ go-to back.
Isaac Whitney, WR, USC
Quarterback Cody Kessler will target JuJu Smith and Adoree’ Jackson plenty, but USC needs more options at receiver. The 6’4”, 205-pound Whitney has a chance to join that list. Whitney, from Oklahoma City, began his college career at Division II Central Oklahoma. He transferred to Riverside (Calif.) Community College for the 2014 campaign and caught 49 passes for 809 yards. Over the summer he’ll be joined by fellow 6’4” juco transfer De’Quan Hampton, but Whitney will have a chance to earn his way into the lineup this spring.
Tony Bridges, DB, Ole Miss
The 6’2”, 190-pound Bridges was one of the nation’s best juco cornerbacks, but could find himself playing some safety this spring. The Rebels lost two good ones in Senquez Golson and Cody Prewitt, and they’re comfortable at cornerback with Trae Elston and Tony Conner. Of course, given the number of spread offenses the Rebels will face, Bridges will likely get a chance to use his coverage skills no matter which position he plays.
Paris Palmer, OT, Penn State
Palmer could jump straight from Lackawanna College into the starting lineup in State College, as the Nittany Lions are looking for a new left tackle after Donovan Smith turned pro. The 6’8”, 288-pound Palmer could compete for that spot, or if redshirt sophomore Andrew Nelson wins it, Palmer could line up at right tackle.
From @cliffysmalls: What’s your favorite format for a spring game?
Ideally, I’d like to see good-on-good. Use the first-team offense and the second-team defense to make one team, and then have it play against the second-team offense and the first-team defense. That way, the best get to play against the best in a game situation. If players are competing for starting jobs, shuffle them between teams to get a look at everyone against the best competition.
Unfortunately, most programs are dealing with too many injuries—usually along the offensive or defensive lines—to stage a spring game in this format. In those cases, I prefer a spring game with the offense on one sideline, the defensive on another and a borderline incomprehensible scoring system. I want to see the Pewter team beat the Purple team 94-52 on the strength of four three-and-outs, four sacks, two forced fumbles and a blocked field goal. For example, here’s the scoring system for the Rice's 2007 spring game. Rice has one of the smartest student bodies in the country, so Owls fans likely followed better than the average sportswriter.
From @jabushlow: How does one clean a furnace?
First, one inspects the furnace. Then one gets into one’s car and drives to Florida. Once there, one secures a new domicile and never worries about a furnace again.