Well, it’s not a traditional Spring Game. Heck, it’s not really even spring. Or is it? The weather says it’s not. The forecast for Thursday night is around 30 degrees with an 80% chance of a rain/snow mix (hopefully that holds off till later). With the cold weather upon us, I don’t expect many fans to be in Cardinal Stadium for coach Satterfield first Spring showcase.
But, for the fans who brave the weather, I have a few things that might be of interest for you to pay attention to.
(Get all your Spring Showcase info and itinerary here)
The first thing I always watch, no matter if it’s a spring game, an open practice or just a media friendly practice, is the quarterbacks. In most years, it’s just a matter of trying to see how much better the starter has gotten from the end of last season. Usually, we (fans) are just looking for something, anything, that looks like an improvement. Mainly because we already know who the starter is and how great he is. This year is quite different. Most of us will be watching Jawon and Malik and trying to decide who looks better so we can argue on Twitter for the next 6 months about who the opening day starter should be. Personally, I feel pretty confident that Jawon will be the starter (he gives us the best chance to win) so I want to see if he has improved the speed of going through his progressions. I also want to see if his decision-making is more reactionary and instinctual that last year. I know that Malik has been practicing some RPO plays. I’m curious to see how much time they actually spend on that in this showcase. Could be telling on how much they plan on using Malik next season.
I’ll also be watching very closely at the players who have changed positions. We know that Robert Hicks has been moved to defensive end and that Rodjay Burns has been moved to outside linebacker, but I know there have been other changes as well. I want to see who has been moved where and how natural they look at the new position.
Try not to put too much stock into who you see taking reps with the first team. There are injuries that most fans are not aware of so several guys will be held out or limited in this practice. Take special notice who is wearing yellow jerseys or not dressed to practice. While injuries are never ideal, it gives other guys opportunities to get more reps and a chance to show their talents and potentially move into a starting role.
I’m also looking at the interactions between players and coaches. Since it’s a whole new staff, watching the communication between the two, could help us see how well and how quickly both parties are adjusting to each other. By all accounts, the players are extremely happy with the new staff. We have heard ad nauseam about how different and fun practices are. Not sure if I should be happy about that or not. I’ll be watching.
Most importantly, have fun and enjoy the night because this is your last chance to see the team for about 6 months.
As Always, GO CARDS!