I wasn't able to attend the spring game (damn you, living in Virginia), but that won't stop me from making crazy judgments and assumptions based on its results. Thankfully, the media goes a little nuts for these things, so I have plenty to go off of.
Also, Anthony was at the game and will have his thoughts for you soon. Let's go.
"We're a lot more under center," offensive tackle Taylor Lewan said. "We'll still have spread schemes here and there because Devin has wheels too - he can run, he's very elusive -- but I think we're doing what these coaches want to do, in the fact they want to run a pro-style offense. They want to do all those things.
"I feel like (offensive coordinator Al) Borges is much more comfortable running this kind of offense than he's been running for the last however many years."
The spring game was to be the first look at the real Al Borges offense, or at least as real as it would get until Borges truly had his quarterback installed. However, as the tail end of last year showed, Devin Gardner is a capable student and more the mold of what Borges wants, while still bringing the kind of athleticism and elusiveness that Robinson was known for. Gardner had himself a solid day, completing 11 of his 16 passes for 145 yards and a score (to freshman TE Jake Butt). The highlights were a 30-yarder down the sideline to Amara Darboh and a 35-yarder over the middle to Devin Funchess.
However, the line was not without its struggles. One concern was an early drill that saw the defensive line own the offensive line, but as Ace Anbender points out:
At this point in the year, defense is *always* ahead of the offense. Always. RT @mark__snyder Defensive line dominated— Ace Anbender (@AceAnbender) April 13, 2013
Those asterisks around "always" are because Gerg Robinson exists, folks.
Although the defense did come in for a bit of praise. Freshman Taco Charlton flashed the promise that many spring observers have been noting, James Ross seems like he is becoming the linebacker everyone has been expecting, the interior defensive line looked impressive, and the front seven itself looked like it could be really good this year according to Nick Baumgardner.
My spring game takeaways: Front 7 has a chance to be really, really good (even with Ryan on the mend); OL needs work; Gardner could explode— Nick Baumgardner (@nickbaumgardner) April 13, 2013
Even so, the defense might not have to go without Jake Ryan all that long. When asked about Ryan, coach Hoke said:
"You know, I'm not a doctor, but (Ryan could return) possibly middle of October,"
No word on whether Hoke had stayed at a Holiday Inn the night before. Easy joke is easy.
While having Ryan back for the last few games of the season would be a big win for the defense, expecting a kid to bounce back from an ACL tear in less than a year and make an impact is a bit of wishful thinking. I'm not counting Jake out, but I remain skeptical.
Also, I'm not a doctor.