Top 10 Questions To Ponder During Spring Practice

April 04, 1999

1. How Is Florida State quarterback Chris Weinke doing?

The 26-year-old junior hasn't faced any live action since
suffering a herniated disk in his neck on Nov. 14. He is
throwing without a helmet and pads but won't see any contact
this spring.

2. Can new Colorado coach Gary Barnett get more out of the
Buffaloes' inconsistent offense?

Colorado averaged 31.0 points in its wins last season and 13.5
in its losses. Barnett's success may hinge on whether he can
keep injury-prone senior quarterback Mike Moschetti healthy--or
develop junior Adam Bledsoe into a capable backup.

3. Who will replace Tim Couch in Kentucky's offense?

Redshirt sophomore Dusty Bonner, who backed up Couch in 1997, is
the front-runner, but he'll be challenged by redshirt freshmen
Chase Harp and Mike Scipione. Whoever wins the spring battle
will still have to contend with incoming freshman Jared
Corenzen, who was Kentucky's Mr. Football last fall.

4. Can Kansas State sustain its recent success?

It's unlikely the Wildcats can match last year's 11-2 record.
Their offense, which averaged 478.4 yards and 48.0 points per
game, lost eight starters, including quarterback Michael Bishop
and the rest of the starting backfield.

5. Will there be a quarterback controversy at Michigan?

Quite possibly. Even though Tom Brady threw for 2,636 yards and
15 touchdowns while starting all 13 games as a junior, sophomore
Drew Hensen (left) is considered a better natural athlete.
Hensen saw mop-up duty in eight games last fall and attempted
only 47 passes, but he could win the job this spring, much as
Brian Griese did in 1997, when he beat out incumbent Scott
Dreisbach.

6. Will Nebraska rebound after suffering its worst season in 30
years?

Last season the Cornhuskers were hit by a spate of injuries and
lost three of their last five games to finish 9-4. Bobby
Newcombe, Nebraska's most athletic quarterback since Tommie
Frazier, tore ligaments in his left knee in September and played
only six games. He had surgery in December and will miss spring
drills. If he returns and if the rest of the Huskers stay
healthy, Nebraska will be back with a vengeance.

7. Can Wisconsin tailback Ron Dayne survive without mammoth
tackle Aaron Gibson?

Sure, many of Dayne's 1,525 yards last season came when he ran
behind the 6'6", 370-pound Gibson, who is heading to the NFL.
But with four returning starters on the offensive line,
including 6'7", 307-pound senior left tackle Chris McIntosh, who
has started 38 straight games, expect the Great Dayne to have a
Heisman-caliber season.

8. Which Miami team can we expect to see, the one that got
drilled 66-13 by Syracuse or the one that beat UCLA 49-45?

Probably the latter. Coach Butch Davis has a full allotment of
recruits for the first time in four years and a promising
quarterback in sophomore Kenny Kelly. The Hurricanes need to
improve on defense, where they were soft at times, but they'll
be a favorite in the Big East.

9. Can Notre Dame be a national championship contender?

The Irish will be hard-pressed to even match last year's 9-3
record, given a brutal schedule that includes visits to Michigan,
Purdue and Tennessee. Notre Dame lost most of its offensive line
as well as tailback Autry Denson, the school's alltime leading
rusher.

10. Can Tommy Bowden and Lou Holtz bring football back to life
in South Carolina?

Senior quarterback Brandon Streeter gives Bowden an offensive
weapon at Clemson, which should improve at least a little on its
3-8 record of last season. Holtz doesn't have much talent at
South Carolina. His most significant move might have been
switching his new team back to white helmets, which the
Gamecocks haven't donned since the '70s. Even if neither coach
gets his team above .500, they'll both garner a lot of attention
while trying.

--B.J. Schecter

COLOR PHOTO: DAMIAN STROHMEYER

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