What, no Tony-Bennett-to-insert-team-name-here stories?? One whole day and no new rumors. WOW. No news is good news. Well, ok, there is this from the TNT. Basically no new contract extension as being 100% official as of a statement from Sterk, but things are moving in a positive direction. As "Vanilla Ice" told me yesterday, he got some first-hand info to ignore the rumors, Tony is here to stay. Hooray Tony.
Anyway, several football-related stories floating around about the scrimmage yesterday, so we'll get right to it. Note - we HAD HOPED to have some eyes at the deal yesterday, but Hooty McBoob's actual life got in the way. Hopefully we can get some first-hand stuff for next Saturday's spring game.
- It at least sounds promising on the QB side of things. Gary Rogers had decent passing numbers, 11-of-17 for 129 and a TD with zero INT's. This in stark contrast to the first scrimmage where Rogers and the rest were really out of synch and dominated by the D. Vince wrote in a quick-hitter recap that Rogers looks better in terms of mechanics and accuracy, and showed off his mobility as well.
It also sounds as though Kevin Lopina is solidifying his spot as the #2 QB. Nick Eason wrote about it today as the feature to the scrimmage, but Lopina ran the 2's to the tune of 8-of-12 for for 107 and a TD, and also ran for a 7-YD TD. I have to say, Lopina is a really intriguing prospect. You probably know the back story, but he was highly touted out of Cali and went to K-State. The coaching staff went through a major change, so he transfered out to Pullman. He is touted for his feet as much as his arm, and he might fit like a glove in this new offense. At this point Rogers is the starter, and that will likely stay that way into the season. But keep your eye on Lopina! As for the other QB's, don't ask. Morgan and Marshall both only had one series and didn't really do anything worth noting. Marshall did have a 4-yard completion, but also fumbled a snap. Of course things can change in a hurry, but right now it's clearly Rogers and Lopina.
- Matt Eichelberger got some mention, notching a couple of sacks. Eichelberger was singled out earlier in the week by coach Wulff, and it sounds as though he's going to be a decent solution at defensive tackle. Perhaps he's responding well to this new coaching staff?
Mattingly had a sack as well at D-End. Mattingly has an offseason goal of gaining weight in the weight room and getting more martial arts training. I can't wait to see how he plays next fall after more reps on the d-line! We know the kid flat-out makes plays. He's already a thick 6-4, 245, but get him up around 260 and with his strength and quickness off the edge? We could be talking about a major force.
- Wade Penner kicked pretty well, drilling a pair of long ones, 47 and 50-yarders. We still don't know the identity of the secret JC kicker that coach Wulff has mentioned, and that likely won't change until fall camp opens. But Penner has the lead this spring.
- WR Daniel Blackledge continues to look good. He had 4 balls for 70 yards, including a 30-yard reception on 4th and long. Blackledge is an interesting young player who was all-everything out of Colorado, with decent size at 6-2, 180. But he could probably project out to the starter opposite Gibson at this point, and based on the pre-spring depth chart he was listed as starting flanker. Nice to see the improvement out of the young guy. This is what spring ball is all about, and I would bet he's going to emerge as one of the surprise players going into next year.
- Finally, non-scrimmage related but Jim Moore wrote a long piece on Andy Roof. We all know he had issues last year, but wow, 28 days in a rehab facility? We heard rumors like that, but it's admirable that he would come out and admit it. Now he's sober and ready to contribute at the already-thin d-tackle spot. Who knows if it will work out, and being away from football as well as changing positions might be too much to expect anything. I sure would love to see him mixing it up in the middle and occupying a couple of blockers, freeing up the absolute strength of the defense, the LB's, to flow to the ball and make plays!