Just like last year, this isn't a recap, they put the actually good writers on that job at Ralphie Report. Here, we have just what the title says: reactions. I'm going to look at each team in terms of the players, and see who I thought the best players were, who didn't quite live up to my expectations, and who surpassed their initial standing before the game. While there wasn't much of an actual game this year, I'm going to take into account what I saw of the drills (Oklahoma was fun to watch) and try to be as impartial (but c'mon, who doesn't love Spruce?). Here we go.
Most Outstanding Performers
Gold Team- Ahkello Witherspoon (#23)
Who else was it going to be? Of the three scoring plays made in the spring "game", Ahkello's was the most impressive to me. Though severely aided by Gehrke's complete telegraph of the route, Witherspoon completely read the curl route, jumped the pass, and made a play on the ball, something unheard of recently for CU corners. Ahkello has always shown to play aggressively in his short career here at CU, and today it paid off. He and his running mate didn't allow much out of Fields and Spruce, though admittedly Witherspoon got burned by Fields a few times (Gehrke was too inaccurate to capitalize on these chances). To put it simply, Witherspoon did exactly what a press corner should do: make plays on the ball when possible, even if it gets you burnt. If he can play well in this season, CU's corners could be very good.
Runner-up: Sefo Liufau (#13)
Black Team- Phillip Lindsay (#23)
Maybe Michael Jordan was in the house this Sunday, because both 23's balled out today. Lindsay took some big chunks almost every play and his first run of the day was a beautiful slash up the middle for 38 yards. Lindsay has always ran with power, but it took some extra power to bring him down today. Phillip is too fiery of a player to be brought down by one defender. His ferocity seems to infectious and his vision was on point today, he seemed to weight for the holes to open before running, something that didn't happen last year. Expect Lindsay to do work this fall.
Runner-up: Chidobe Awuzie (#4)
Most Disappointing Performers
Gold Team- Front Seven
The Black Team absolutely gashed the Gold Team up front for almost the whole game, and it's hard to know whether that was the O-line dominance (largely the starting line) or ineptitude from the Gold Team defensive line and linebackers. Granted, there were a lot of reserves, but I would have hoped moving to a 3-4, which should lead to a bigger front, generated more stopping power than it did today. Even during the Oklahoma drills, the black team seemed to win more often than not. Gold Team had multiple new players on their front line, including Jordan Carrell and Leo Jackson, and it showed, as they were washed out more often than not. De'Jon Wilson was a bright spot, with his game-deciding sack that Gehrke almost walked into. Take this proclamation with a grain of salt. The black team was loaded up front and the offensive line has now had three straight years with Gary Bernardi, which leads to cohesion and a head start into spring, while the D-line was dealing with a new scheme. Still, I wanted to see more from the front seven on the winning team.
Runner-up: Christian Powell (#46)
Black Team- Jordan Gehrke (#7)
I've already thrown a few shots across the bow at Gehrke in this post, but with such an easy target, it's hard not to. He was thrown into the fire against Oregon AT Oregon last year, so he gets a pass for that game, but Gehrke has shown a struggle with accuracy and consistency. That did not change during the Spring Game. During the 7v7 drills, 1v1 red zone drills and the actual scrimmage, he overthrew multiple receivers multiple times, most notably Shay Fields twice on fly patterns. He will go in if Sefo is injured, and as a redshirt junior I would have hoped he would be farther along in his development by now. Near the end of the game he had two really nice throws, including one touchdown throw across his body that was called back due to penalty, but he never looked comfortable in the pocket, and walked into both sacks that he took. Hopefully Gehrke uses this summer to work on the actual quarterbacking aspect of being a quarterback, as that could use some touching up. He has the wheels to do well in Sefo's stead, and his arm strength is still impressive, but in the PAC-12, accuracy is king, as Sefo also found out last year.
Runner-up: Yuri Wright (#5)
Most Surprising Performers
Gold Team- Devin Ross(#2)
We've all heard that Devin Ross has looked good this spring, but after hearing the same thing last year about him during all camps, he red-shirted. He showed his stuff on Sunday. During 1v1 drills with the cornerbacks and 7v7 drills, he beat his man a few times and he scored the longest touchdown of the day, a 70 yard bomb that Ross had to slow down to catch. If he can work on his hands, Ross has the speed to make an impact this season for the Buffs. He has been highly regarded by other players in Boulder for a while, and this year should be his chance to get on the field.
Runner-Up- Aaron Howard (walk-on DE, #99)
Black Team- Kyle Evans (walk-on RB, #21)
It seems like every short running back for CU gets compared to Rodney Stewart, and Kyle Evans is no exception. However, Sunday, Evans made the jump cuts and the moves up field reminiscent from Speedy himself. He busted a big run for touchdown by being shifty enough in the hole to just miss the full body tackles, ran through the arm ones, and waved goodbye to the secondary as he reached the end zone. As a walk-on, he may never get live game time, especially with the incoming depth in the summer for fall camp, but Evans looks to be a great guy to practice against who keeps the defense honest. Who knows, he might work his way up the ladder, like a certain other short, unheralded running back did for CU.
Runner-Up- Black Team Guards
I've put a poll at the bottom to see where you guys landed on this year's spring game. Go Buffs!