The University at Buffalo’s 15-practice spring session comes to a close today with the annual Blue & White Game at UB Stadium at 2 p.m.
No spots will be ultimately won or lost in the spring game – that’s what training camp is for – but the final scrimmage could give players one more opportunity to leave their coaches with a good impression heading into the offseason.
The Blue team will be the No. 1 defense and No. 2 offense, and the No. 1 offense and No. 2 defense will dress in White.
“It will be 1s against 1s,” UB coach Jeff Quinn said. “We have some guys we’ve been looking at, and we’ll get them in there so they can get some opportunities to play with the first unit. There’s some 1a or 1b situations, and they’ll get an opportunity to do both.”
With that in mind, here are five story lines to follow for the spring game:
1. What’s going on with the running game?
Anthone Taylor will top the depth chart at tailback, followed by Devin Campbell and Sweet Home product Jordan Johnson. While each one is capable of bouncing out to the perimeter, running backs coach Matt Simon wants to see more tough, between the tackles running like Branden Oliver did the last four seasons. Because the Bulls will rely more on the passing game,the tailbacks will be asked to do more blocking than in the past.
2. How will the receiving corps go about replacing Alex Neutz and Fred Lee?
Though UB theoretically opened the spring with jobs up for grabs and many question marks, this could end up being the team’s deepest position. Seniors John Dunmore and Devin Hughes have been the most consistent and have shown good leadership, while Boise Ross, Marcus McGill, Malcolm Robinson, Ron Willoughby and Jamarl Eiland have taken turns flashing potential.
3. Who will step up at free safety?
Whitney Sherry has returned to the level of play that made him a starter in 2012. He was hindered by injuries the last two seasons and couldn’t unseat Derek Brim a year ago, but because of Sherry’s experience, Quinn views the position as one of the more stable on the defense. Still, William Rembert, Houston Glass and Andrew Dadeboe are still being evaluated.
4. Which quarterback has positioned himself as the backup to Joe Licata?
Without question it’s junior Tony Daniel. Licata’s offseason hip surgery forced Daniel into the starter’s role this spring and he’s been well-served with the additional reps. He struggled to make routine throws the first day of practice – perhaps feeling the pressure of being the first-team quarterback – but Daniel’s confidence seemed to improve daily. Daniel watched more film, and Quinn says the junior feels more confident in his ability to run the offense.
5. Who are some of the redshirt freshmen fighting for playing time?
On the defensive line there’s Demone Harris (Bishop Timon-St. Jude) and Chris Ford, linebackers Solomon Jackson and Greg Lis and Dadeboe in the secondary. Offensively, walk-on tailback Diamond Williams, wideouts Eiland and Jacob Martinez and offensive linemen Brandon Manosalvas and Tyler O’Henly are in the mix to start or be key backup.