College Football 2011: 10 Teams Whose Spring Practices Are Extremely Crucial
The college football season has sadly ended and a lot of teams are now in a rebuilding or, in some instances, a reloading mode. We will take a look at the schools whose spring practices are crucial when it comes to filling positional needs. These schools will need their kids to step up and prove that they will be able to be trusted when push comes to shove this season.
These teams better start praying that all those recruiting visits were not a waste of time...or they will be taking a step back this year.
To say that the Tigers are going to miss Blaine Gabbert is a huge understatement. This guy was extremely crucial to the success of the gimmick offense ran at Mizzou.
Gabbert had a passer rating of over 100 in all but two games last year. The Tigers will now be looking for a quarterback to take charge during the spring practices. This will not be an easy task for any of the quarterbacks on their roster, due to the complicated offense that the Tigers run.
Interestingly enough, they have Tyler Gabbert, the younger brother of Blaine, on the roster and he will be fighting with two other quarterbacks on the roster to become the next starter at Mizzou.
The Alabama Crimson Tide are one of those teams that typically reloads and they will have to do an excellent job of that this year. They will be losing a lot of starters to the NFL, including quarterback Greg McElroy, running back Mark Ingram and receiver Julio Jones.
The Tide already have a good core of running backs, but finding a replacement for McElroy and Jones might be a bit tougher. They will have three sophomores fighting for the quarterback position this spring. In regards to the receivers, they have over ten options, but finding another Julio Jones will be tough, even for the Tide.
I decided to add something a little extra to this article and I know a lot of you guys are wondering why I chose this school. Denard Robinson is the unquestioned starter at Michigan, but there is a new regime in Ann Arbor.
Brady Hoke has a lot of work to do and the spring practices will be crucial into evaluating what talent he has at any given position, Denard's job might be safe, but let's not forget that Denard was brought in to run the Rich Rodriguez offense. Brady Hoke's offense will be quite different. Denard might be in for a surprise if another quarterback runs the Hoke offense better than he does.
7. Boise State
This year will be a huge test for the Boise State Broncos. This is the year where we will see if the Broncos are a rebuilding or a reloading team. The Broncos are sending 16 players to the 2011 NFL Draft, but none more important than Titus Young and Jeron Johnson.
The Broncos will need to pay very close attention to the receiver replacements and the defensive back position, as their two best players at these positions will be playing on Sundays this year.
6. Ohio State
The Ohio State Buckeyes would have been one of the favorites to win it all this year, but due to to NCAA violations committed by very important players, that dream may go down the drain.
Stars Terrelle Pryor, DeVier Posey,and Dan Herron must sit out the first five games of the season, which include a trip to Miami of Florida and a Big Ten showdown with Michigan State.
Jim Tressel has his work cut out this spring in choosing the correct replacements, especially at the quarterback position. Will Ohio State play new sensation Braxton Miller or will they go with the old standby, Joe Bauserman?
Apart from the suspended players, they must also replace linebackers Ross Homan and Brian Rolle, defensive end Cameron Hayward and corner Chimdi Chekwa.
Jake Locker is gone, but this opens up a big opportunity for the son of a legend, Nick Montana. He must win the competition with four other candidates, but whoever wins this position has huge steps to fill, since Jake Locker was one of the best to come out of Washington.
Along with the quarterback position, they must also fill an additional two positions. They are losing strong safety Nate Williams and outside linebacker Mason Foster.
Steve Sarkisian and his staff have a very busy spring ahead of them.
Personally, I am not sold on Ryan Mallett making it at the next level, but I cannot doubt the contribution he made at Arkansas, as he led them to a Sugar Bowl berth. Finding a replacement will be they key for Arkansas this spring, but they also lost another key element in their offense.
Tight end D.J. Williams is another hole that Arkansas must fill. If Petrino doesn't find the right quarterback and tight end, Arkansas will struggle in the very competitive SEC.
TCU won the Rose Bowl, but what are the chances they can get back there? The Horned Frogs are going to lose 20 players to the NFL Draft, but none were more important than quarterback Andy Dalton.
Andy Dalton will be extremely difficult to replace because apart from replacing his abilities on the field, you must also replace his leadership abilities. I do not believe that Gary Patterson has a Dalton replacement and, therefore, expect TCU to take a step back this year.
The runner-ups have a lot of work to do. They are losing 18 players to the draft, but none bigger than Casey Matthews and defensive end Brandon Bair. The Ducks are still going to have the same explosive offense, but will they find adequate defensive replacements?
Auburn will not be able to replace Cam Newton or Nick Fairley. If the Auburn Tigers are going to repeat, they better start working on a completely different offense immediately.
Gene Chizik has a lot of work to do this spring. Enough said.