May 19, 2008

Spring ball defensive awards

Is there a bigger tease for a college football fan than spring football? For four and a half weeks players, coaches, and fans get all revved up for the return of football, and then it vanishes. The entire spring ramps up to the climax of the spring game, and there's no subtle fade into the summer. Each fan is left with an empty, disappointing feeling like you got excited for nothing. In a way it's similar to people who sat through the movie The Kingdom.

In an attempt to extend the spring football season a little further, I present to you my 1st Annual Spring Football Awards. Each position award was selected based on a combination of;

1.) Performances in the two scrimmages and Jay McGillis Memorial Spring Game.

2.) Expectations for each player going into the spring.

Defensive Line - Alex Albright

After Albright's first two years at BC, most know by now that the defensive end is a pretty solid ballplayer. The more I see of Albright, the more I think he might be more than a solid ballplayer, and maybe more of an all-conference type of performer. All spring long, the defensive end proved to be too much for the BC offensive line to handle, as he recorded a sack or tackle for a loss in each of BC's three scrimmages. On top of being in the backfield all day, Albright did a good job on run defense, particularly in the two scrimmages. This kid is starting to look more and more like he's the real deal.

Honorable Mention - Max Holloway

Albright narrowly edged out Holloway for this award, as the only difference between the two was that Albright was doing his damage against the first string, and Holloway the second string. That's not meant to put down Holloway by any means. In reality, a true freshman probably has no business dominating stretches of games in the spring, but Holloway did just that. In fact, there might not have been more of an impressive stretch all spring than Holloway's four play stretch in the spring game, where he was in Chris Johnson's face on each play.

Linebacker - Brian Toal

Toal told me earlier in the spring that, "My injury is 100% recovered, and it's in the back of my mind". Even after hearing those words, most BC fans probably wanted to see Toal in action before they got their hopes up that the linebacker had returned to form. For anyone who got to see any of the games, you know Toal spoke the truth. Toal was all over the field in the spring game, as he had been for the first two scrimmages. The part of his game that stuck out the most, was his ability to cover sideline to sideline with ease. He has re-shaped his body and looks faster than ever. Expect big things from Toal this fall.

Honorable Mention - Mark Herzlich

Herzlich is a player that many have pegged as a guy that is expected to take his game to a new level this year. During the spring, that looked like a good bet as Herzlich had a solid performance in all three games. The most impressive part of it all was that the linebacker was playing most of the spring with a back injury. Just imagine what he's going to do when he's healthy!

Secondary - Donnie Fletcher

Fletcher wasn't considered the most sought-after recruit on defense in BC's 2008 class. Hell, the three-star cornerback wasn't even the highest-ranked recruit in the secondary (Okechuckwu Okoroha was four stars). However, Fletcher did his best to make people forget about that, as he had a fantastic spring. The true freshman showed he had a keen instinct for the position, as he was rarely caught out of place. Additionally, Fletcher showed that he was an adequate tackler, even though he only weighs around 185 pounds. Look for Fletcher to be a serious candidate for the "nickelback" spot in the fall.

Honorable Mention - DeLeon Gause

If not for Fletcher, Gause would've walked away with this award pretty easily. During both scrimmages, I thought about how I hadn't seen Gause make a whole lot of plays. Then, I started watching just him specifically on a few snaps, and realized I hadn't seen him make plays because the quarterbacks weren't throwing at him. Gause was simply locking down the receiver that lined up against him on every play. There's no doubt in my mind that Gause is the most talented player in BC's secondary.

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