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Random Thoughts From Around the Country: Wrapping Up Spring Football

130 Long Days Until Alabama Football Kicks Off against FSU.

NCAA Football: Senior Bowl-South Practice
Nick Saban is often the center of attention.
Glenn Andrews-USA TODAY Sports

The announced attendance at Alabama’s 2017 A-Day Game was 74,326. That is the ninth largest crowd in school history but one of the lower totals for the Saban era. Several other programs played their spring game this past weekend to mixed results.

ALABAMA HEALTH NEWS

  • In case you missed it, tight end Miller Forristall did return to the field after suffering a bruised hip after a collision with safety Ronnie Harrison.
  • Sophomore cornerback Aaron Robinson left the game and did not return. He was reportedly seen using crutches in the postgame locker room
  • Redshirt junior defensive end Johnny Dwight left the game as well.

GEORGIA

NCAA Football: Georgia Spring Game
Well whadda ya know. Black jerseys lost again.
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

By halftime of A-Day, some Bama fans may have thought there was a quarterback controversy in Tuscaloosa. However, Jalen Hurts quelled many of those thoughts. The same scenario bubbled up in Athens, but returning starter Jacob Eason did not do much in UGA’s second half to quiet those murmurs. Eason had an unremarkable day completing only 44% of his passes. His numbers: 16/36-311-2-1. True freshman Jake Fromm dazzled putting up 14/23-277-2-0, often escaping the rush. Cement-footed Eason was sacked five times for -39 yards. Eason was downed only once.

Dawgs fans will make your ears bleed screeching in denial that there is nothing wrong with the captain of this ship, but methinks they protest too much.

Some of these woes could be due to the fact that UGA’s offensive line is frickin awful. I hope oft-injured Nick Chubb and Sony Michel knew what they were getting themselves into when they came back for their senior years.

A pretty good crowd showed up for Kirby Day, reporting 66,133.

TENNESSEE

You’ve hear the saying ‘desperate times call for desperate measures’? It’s gotten pretty desperate in Knoxville. Butch Jones put on a little dog & pony show on Saturday. Frankly, it would not have surprised me if he actually had pulled out a pony for Smokey to ride around Neyland Stadium. Nonetheless, it was a pretty contrived little show he put on. The embattled head coach took to the mic trying to fire up the tepid fans with one-on-one drills, throwing-a-football-into-a-trash can contest, hitting the cross bar, and a throw that was supposed to simulate Josh Dobbs' 55-yard Hail Mary pass against UGA to a Jauan Jennings cut-out in the end zone.

I am sure real Vols fans were annoyed by this silliness instead of seeing game action.

The final score was 44-29 but it was one of those goofy points system games that included a drill called, no joke, "Circle of Life". On the field, junior Quinten Dormady completed 10 of 10 for 120 yards and two TDs for the only REAL scores of the weather-shortened game. They estimated 35,000 showed up. Uh, huh...

LSU

Oh my. Once Joe Alleva made the horrendous mistake in retaining Ed Orgeron as their head coach, you knew it was going to be a popcorn-munching joy for everyone else around the SEC. To say this offense stinks is an insult to skunks who live in the city dump.

With four minutes left in the first half, the game was moved indoors due to lightning near in Tiger Stadium with the Purple leading White, 7-3. Before the exile indoors, the two teams collectively gained a grand total of 72 yards on 5 of 14 passing and an INT. There were more punts (six) than receptions.

In some mysterious magical way, the game finished 26-7 after taking the show indoors for a limited audience.

The LSU faithful will say the inept offense was because their defense is so (seaux) amazing. The Tigers unit will be good again but poor Derrius Guice is going to get killed in 2017. And here is a newsflash: LSU still has no quarterback. Etling was dreadful (4/11, 53 yds, 0 TD, 1 INT) and there is no decent back-up. 4-star early enrollee Lowell Narcisse did not record any stats.

OTHERS

Notre Dame is searching for a new quarterback and believe they have found one in junior Brandon Wimbush. He completed 22 of 32 for 303 but also threw a pair of pick without finding the end zone.

Penn State - 5-star 2018 DE Micah Parsons was on hand for PSU's spring game Saturday and then promptly decommitted from the Nittany Lions on Sunday. He is still considering PSU along with Alabama, Ohio State, and UGA. Top cornerback John Reid suffered a knee injury and his 2017 season might be at risk.

Washington - Purple defeated Gold 10-0. Chris Peterson chose to let many of his younger players take the stage.

PATHETIC

If Terps fans are wondering why Terrell Hall, Trevon Diggs and Richie Petitbon signed with Alabama instead of dear ol’ Maryland, please see the Tweet below.

I believe that is the school band or at least part of the band in the photo above. I would say that is just plain sad but what it really is is inexcusable. You can blame the weather or whatever lame excuse you can come up with (a sale at the Dress Barn?), but this is pathetic for an FBS/Big Ten school with a 38,000+ enrollment and a major US city center 8 miles away. And they went to a bowl last season. smh

FAU!

At least Lane Kiffin knows how to throw a party, right?

Do you think right about now, the Owls new head coach is reflecting on his life choices? Probably not.

Speaking of FAU!, they recently agreed to a road game at Clemson in 2023. At first I wondered if the Tigers want a rematch against Kiffin from the 2015-16 NCG. But c’mon. Kiffin won’t still be there in six years...

ATTENDANCE

Thank goodness for GridironNow keeping track of this so I didn’t have to go Googling all over the interwebz to find these figures. Many programs were not brave enough to release an official count (among them Arizona, Baylor, Kentucky, Maryland, Miami, North Carolina, Northwestern, NC State, Oklahoma State, TCU, Texas, Utah, Vanderbilt, Washington). Here is a partial list of those who were:

1. Ohio State: 80,134 (April 15)
2. Nebraska: 78,312 (April 15)
3. Alabama: 74,326 (April 22)
4. Penn State: estimated 71,000 (April 22)
5. Georgia: 66,133 (April 22)
6. Clemson: over 60,000 “a school record” (April 8)
7. Michigan: 57,418 (April 15, open spring practice)
8. Florida: estimated 48,000 (April 7)
9. Auburn: 46,331 (April 8)
10. Oklahoma: 43,723 (April 8
11. LSU: estimated 35,000 (April 22)
11. Tennessee: estimated 35,000 (April 22)
13. Florida State: 26,649 (April 8)
14. Michigan State: estimated 25,000 (April 1)
15. Texas A&M: nearly 21,000 (April 8)
16. Notre Dame: 20,147 (April 22)
17. Mississippi State: 16,630 (April 8)
18. Iowa: 16,500 (April 21)
19. Missouri: 16,457 (April 15)
20. Virginia Tech: 16,025 (April 22)
21. Iowa State: estimated 15,000 (April 8)
22. Southern Cal: 14,781 (April 15)
26. South Carolina: estimated 12,345 (April 1)
30. Wisconsin: 8,095 (April 21)
31. Ole Miss: approximately 8,000 (April 8)
32. UAB: 7,822 (April 1)
35. West Virginia: 6,415 (April 15)
36. Colorado: estimated 6,250 (March 18)

WRAP IT UP

Only a handful of Spring Games remain to be played, three that you might have any passing interest in, one that you might actually be able to get on your current cable package:

Saturday, Apr. 29, 2017:

  • Arkansas noon CT SECN
  • Oregon 1pm CT Pac-12N
  • UCLA 3pm CT Pac-12N