It's time for the other five things that should be on top of everyone's list to watch a few times this Saturday. If you missed the first part, here you go.
6) Pocket Poise - let's face it, the quarterback play will be the most talked about area come Saturday night and Sunday morning. Most will cite stats, playing time, whether passes where high or low, if the offense score points, etc in evaluating each quarterbacks' play. Here are a few other things to watch for that won't be reported on other sites but things that make a huge difference in evaluating their level of play:
First, I like to watch the feet and arms of the quarterback, sit a little bit higher and watch the feet. After they take their three or five step drops and remain in the pocket, is the quarterback calm and on his toes or is he shuffling forward, continuing to drop back or shaking the ball like a salt and pepper shaker? All ill-advised movements of the ball and feet kill a quarterback's balance and ability to accurately deliver the ball. The quarterback with the most poise in the pocket will always come out ahead.
Another thing to watch for is on the bootleg. Watch the wide receiver's routes and the timing of the pass. If the ball is delivered out of the break, right when the feet of the receiver breakdown, the quarterback is in tune with the wide receiver and he properly made the correct pre-snap read, showing he has a good idea where he wants to go with the ball. Being late on the delivery allows cornerbacks and linebackers to recover, leads to interceptions and also causes receivers to get lit up.
Make note of the smart plays. Does the quarterback have that mental clock where after 4 - 5 seconds the ball is out of his hands, five rows deep or safely in his player's hands? Basically, no bad sacks? When the quarterback has open options in the flats, does he take what the defense is giving him and follow through on his progressions or is he forcing the ball down field? Limit mistakes and work the offense.
Finally, watch if Hansen is being vocal and leading the offense when he is on the field.
7) Can We Give Darrell Scott a Hole To Run Through? - we all have nightmares of the spread shotgun offense that handed the ball off to a stagnant runningback who was immediately met two yards deep in the backfield. We even saw the same play calls in the first spring scrimmage that showed the same result as last year. Most Buffs fans welcomed the change back to a more pro-style offense, featuring the strengths at tight end and runningback. Tomorrow, it's time to see something positive happen the running game where we can get Darrell Scott and Speedy Stewart on the edge, in open space to let their natural ability go wild. The first scrimmage, the majority of the calls where passing plays. Tomorrow, I would like to see the offensive line show the aggressiveness we keep hearing about and allow Darrell Scott to get to the second level, something we have seen very little of since his arrival.
8) Special Teams - all eyes will be on special teams. Last year it was about as bad is it could possibly get. You name it, the Buffs had issues. Even in Josh Smith's run at all-purpose greatness, you always felt a little uneasy about what was going to happen back there. Matt DiLallo has punted pretty well from what I have seen this spring but Aric Goodman hasn't been "money" by any stretch of the imagination. Fans won't be too receptive to missed kicks tomorrow or this season.
9) Dynamic Runningbacks? - it's no secret, the Buffs are shorthanded at wide receiver. A questionable Josh Smith and an injured Scotty McKnight leaves Markques Simas, Ryan Maxwell and Jason Espinoza to get a bulk of the reps. Nothing against our wide receiving corp right now but that position is lacking in playmakers, instant offense type guys. Therefore, do we start seeing more combination featuring Rodney Stewart and Darrell Scott, Darrell Scotty and Brian Lockridge, Lockridge and Stewart? Basically, are the coaches going to make an effort to get more playmakers on the field at the same time to add explosiveness to the offense? We may not see this tomorrow but the thought will apply to the regular season as well.
10) Pass Rush - this one is easy. The Buffs probably won't show many blitz packages or coverage schemes but the reason we are highlighting these ten points is to focus on the fundamentals and nothing is more basic in the understanding of football than a consistent pass rush. Come Sunday morning, will we get any insight around the front four and who may be a player this season?