Spring Football Capsules Print
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Thursday, 05 March 2009 17:25
NCAAF Headline News

 What to watch for during spring practice around the Big East:
Connecticut (8-5)
Practice Starts: March 17.
Spring Game: April 18.
All eyes on: UConn is revamping an offense that relied heavily on the nation's leading rusher, Donald Brown, in 2008. With Brown off to the NFL, the battle at tailback will likely come down to senior Andre Dixon, who ran for 828 yards two years ago, and sophomore Jordan Todman, who ran for 296 as a freshman. Junior Zach Frazier, a transfer from Notre Dame, and sophomore Cody Endres will compete to start at quarterback under new offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead, who has promised to open up an offense that threw for only 1,816 yards last season.

Cincinnati (11-3)
Practice starts: March 31.
Spring game: April 25.
eturns for his senior year, providing stability on offense.

Louisville (5-7)
Practice starts: March 8.
Spring game: April 17.
All eyes on: Coach Steve Kragthorpe. Louisville is 11-13 in the two years since Kragthorpe took over for Bobby Petrino. He received a major vote of confidence from athletic director Tom Jurich after the season, and Kragthorpe has revamped his staff for the second straight year. On the field the Cardinals have major holes to fill at quarterback and along the offensive and defensive lines. The quarterback job is wide open after the departure of Hunter Cantwell and the transfer of Matt Simms, with junior college transfer Adam Froman and junior Tyler Wolfe the leading candidates.

Rutgers (8-5)
Practice starts: March 10.
Spring game: April 18.
All eyes on: The Scarlet Knights have to replace QB Mike Teel. Domenic Natale, DC Jefferson and Steve Shimko will compete for the job in the spring, but the one to watch out for is freshman Tom Savage, who was considered one of the best quarterback recruits in the country.

Pittsburgh (9-4)
Practice starts: March 19.
Spring game: April 11.
eason stats eclipsed those of Tony Dorsett, and there's no heir apparent in place. Stull faltered down the stretch even as Pitt went 4-1 before its miserably played 3-0 loss to Oregon State in the Sun Bowl. It should be noted that Cal's offense slipped statistically during Cignetti's only season running the unit.

South Florida (8-5)
Practice starts: March 10.
Spring game: April 11.
All eyes on: Coach Jim Leavitt lost three assistants from last season, including offensive coordinator Greg Gregory and defensive coordinator Wally Burnham, who left for South Alabama and Iowa State. Receivers coach Mike Canales was promoted to offensive coordinator and former Cincinnati assistant Joe Tresey is the new defensive coordinator. How that impacts QB Matt Grothe, who figures to break Pat White's Big East's career total offense record in USF's season opener, and DE George Selvie, an All-American as a sophomore but slowed by injuries in 2008, remains to be seen.

Syracuse (3-9)
Practice starts: March 23.
Spring game: April 18.
All eyes on: First-year coach Doug Marrone. He inherits a program that has not had a winning season since 2001. The Orange went 10-47 in four seasons under Greg Robinson. Marrone, a former Syracuse player, signed one quarterback, Charley Loeb, and has five players vying to be the starter. Standout defensive tackle Arthur Jones sustained a torn left pectoral muscle while lifting weights in February and was scheduled to have surgery in early March.

West Virginia (9-4)
Practice starts: March 24.
Spring game: April 18.
All eyes on: The post-Pat White era begins. The quarterback job will be Jarrett Brown's to lose. White's younger brother, redshirt freshman Coley, will get work this spring as Brown's backup. Freshman WR Logan Heastie, who graduated from high school in Virginia in December, could get extensive practice time with leading receiver Jock Sanders suspended indefinitely after a drunken driving arrest and converted QB Bradley Starks recuperating from shoulder surgery.
 

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