Previewing The Weekend’s Spring Games

Weather permitting, Georgia Tech will hold its spring game tonight, rather than Saturday afternoon.
Weather permitting, Georgia Tech will hold its spring game tonight, rather than Saturday afternoon.

Georgia Tech (Friday, 7:30 PM ET): Weather could be a factor for GT’s spring game, slated for this evening. Several pre-game festivities have been canceled, and rain and storms are projected in the forecast for Atlanta.

Assuming it is played, whether Friday night or later this weekend, there will be plenty of talk about Georgia Tech’s new 4-3 defense under Ted Roof.  It will be difficult to make too much of the unit’s performance in a spring game, when defenses are generally limited to basic schemes.  However, the number of big plays allowed or missed tackles in the scrimmage could provide a glance at how the defense will perform in the fall.

On offense, there’s plenty of competition in the backfield for the Yellow Jackets. Vad Lee is presumably the starting quarterback, but Justin Thomas will have the chance to push Lee with a strong performance.  Meanwhile, there are several running backs battling to join the starting backfield.  Orwin Smith’s departure has opened the A-back spot, where Dennis Andrews, B.J. Bostic, Synjyn Davis, and Deon Hill are among the players battling for playing time.

Syracuse (Saturday, noon ET): With Drew Allen’s transfer from Oklahoma to Syracuse and his ability to play this fall, the Syracuse spring game serves as a last chance for Charley Loeb, Terrel Hunt, and John Kinder to battle amongst themselves.  Allen is considered the new favorite to succeed Ryan Nassib.

There’s also opportunities for wide receivers to shine, regardless of who is passing the ball to them this fall.  Alec Lemon and Marcus Sales graduated along with Nassib, accounting for 1,952 yards and 15 touchdowns. Quinta Funderburk, a transfer from Arkansas who sat last season out, and rising junior Jeremiah Kobena could be the most likely beneficiaries.

Boston College (Saturday, 1 PM ET, ACC Digital Network): Boston College’s spring game will serve as the big unveil for new Eagles’ head coach Steve Addazio.  There are some concerns on how the existing pieces will fit into his system. Quarterback Chase Rettig is working under his fifth different offensive coordinator during his time at Boston College.

Addazio’s offenses traditionally rely on a power running game. Rolandan Finch has left the team, leaving senior Andre Williams to likely carry the load for the Eagles.  Williams has rushed for 500 yards each of the last two seasons and has ten career touchdowns, but how will he adjust to being the feature back of a run-heavy offense?

Wake Forest (Saturday, 1 PM ET, ACC Digital Network): Speaking of Wake Forest’s spring game is a bit misleading.  With only seven available offensive linemen following an injury to Cody Preble last week, there’s no way for the Demon Deacons to form two complete teams to face each other Saturday.  Perhaps the biggest concern for Wake Forest will be getting through the festivities without further injury limiting their numbers.

They will also be looking for contributions at wide receiver, in hopes of finding a complementary piece to Michael Campanero.  Orville Reynolds has shined during the spring, which makes him a leading candidate if he can put together a strong showing Saturday.

NC State (Saturday, 1:30 PM ET, ESPN3): Another spring game, another quarterback battle.  Colorado State transfer Pete Thomas and Manny Stocker will be on the field for the Wolfpack Saturday.  While new head coach Dave Doeren isn’t ready to choose a quarterback for the fall just yet, this will be a final chance for the signal-callers to make an impression this spring.

The secondary is also up for grabs in Raleigh, as safeties Earl Wolff and Brandon Bishop and cornerback David Amerson leave openings on the NC State defense.  Jarvis Byrd has been mentioned as a potential replacement as a safety.  Byrd was a cornerback as a true freshman when he suffered a torn ACL against North Carolina in 2009.  He missed the 2010 season due to that injury, then lost the 2011 season with another torn ACL during an informal workout.  It’s been a long journey, but now Byrd will have the chance to make it worthwhile.

Virginia Tech (Saturday, 3 PM ET, ESPN3): Logan Thomas struggled last season, completing just over 50 percent of his passes and throwing 16 interceptions.  Thomas has a new offensive coordinator this season in Scot Loeffler, so Virginia Tech’s spring game will serve as a first look at this new union.

Only seven starters are gone from last year’s Hokies, but two are on the offensive line and three were wide receivers who combined for more than 2,000 yards and 12 touchdowns.  Even with relative stability compared to the other teams in the ACC, there’s plenty of changes to monitor in Blacksburg.


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