The University at Buffalo’s spring football practices come to a close this afternoon with the annual Blue and White game and for the first time in recent memory, the team will be divided for a full scrimmage.
In the past, largely because of a lack of depth, the format was offense vs. defense with a complex scoring system. But the balance in the recruiting classes under fourth-year coach Jeff Quinn have afforded the Bulls an opportunity to split the team evenly.
“I know the kids are really excited about it because it’s more realistic in terms of game-like situations,” Quinn said on Friday. “This is the right way to do it. If I could have done in the previous years I would have, but our recruiting hadn’t caught up with the balance over the last couple of years.”
There won’t be live special teams play when the game begins at 2 p.m. at UB Stadium. The Bulls are a bit thin at the line on both sides of the ball, but that will allow some underclassmen to play more snaps.
“We have to play smart, we’re a football team that’s competed in 14 practices and done an outstanding job understanding the tempo and understand how to protect one another but still play full speed,” Quinn said.
The quarterbacks won’t be live and will be tagged off in the pocket and on the run to avoid injuries like the ACL tear suffered by Clemson backup quarterback Chad Kelly (St. Joe’s) last week.
Although sophomore Joe Licata (Williamsville South) took the majority of the snaps with the first team all spring, Quinn said the competition at quarterback remains open.
Senior Alex Zordich, sophomore Tony Daniel and redshirt freshman Collin Michael will all play today.
“We need them all and I’m a guy who believes in developing every single player in our program and I think that position was very competitive and continues to be very competitive because of the nature of those individuals at the position,” Quinn said. “They each have things that they need to work on but we’ll get a chance to see all four of them compete and that’s exciting.”
Some underclassmen have a chance to make an impression and move up on the depth chart including sophomore Okezie Alozie and redshirt freshman Brandon Berry, a pair of safeties. Others include junior college transfer Blake Bean at linebacker, sophomore wide receiver Marcus McGill, redshirt freshman tight end Mason Schreck and redshirt freshman tailback Jordon Johnson (Sweet Home).