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Three Thoughts On The Opening Week Of Cincinnati Spring Football 2023

All Bearcats on FanNation logo All Bearcats on FanNation 3/13/2023 Russ Heltman
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A new era just dawned at Nippert Stadium.

CINCINNATI — The Cincinnati Bearcats football team started a new era last week as Spring Football got underway at Nippert Stadium. A new coaching staff is in the mix to guide a turned over roster.

So many unknowns await this program as we got to see players in action for the first time. Here are three thoughts on the opening week of practice.

Fresh Systems

Cincinnati is implementing a new offensive and defensive playbook this coming season. On defense, things look a lot more familiar personnel-wise than on offense.

The front seven will be this team's strength as Malik Vann, Dontay Corleone, and Jowon Briggs lead the three down linemen spots. Daniel Grzesiak had plenty of snaps as the roaming pass rusher on either side of the alignment. He impressed me throughout the three days and helped the defense win the first week (from my view).

Deshawn Pace is also in a new nickel role along that front. It's similar to the dollar/sniper role he manned over the past few years. He should be able to play even faster in Bryan Brown's attacking defense. 

Pace forced multiple turnovers in coverage across the three days.

Offensively, There wasn't much to take away from a very-early quarterback battle. I'm interested to see a fully healthy Ben Bryant toss his weight into this race after Spring Break.

The offensive line was a similar story, as Nic Cardwell flipped through multiple combinations throughout the week. Looking at the skill players, running backs will get downhill and have plenty of cutback lanes in this offense. Myles Montgomery stood out the most in that respect.

The first two days were shaky in terms of running back/offensive line timing. By day three, they started to piece together some nice designed runs.

Energy Flowing

It's hard to take any firm roster takeaways from three days of light-contact practicing. No one is hitting at full speed, but the hype and energy around each practice segment have been palpable.

Scott Satterfield runs a tight ship. College football practices can bleed long a lot of the time. That hasn't happened in the first three days. Two-hour practices...are taking two hours, with players and coaches hustling hard to each new drill, adding to the energy level.

The Athletic's Justin Williams noted Satterfield's belief in work-life balance and giving his staff set time with family in a feature last week. We saw that on full display with how the team conducted opening sessions. Get in the office, get to work, and waste no time.

A plan players, coaches, and media members can all get behind.

Players Who Popped

Here is my list of players who caught my eye with positive play in the opening week:

WR Donovan Ollie - Should be a top contender for the No. 1 or 2 role this season—flashed great hands.

LB Deshawn Pace - Looked very comfortable in his tweaked role as mentioned above. Seems to have an even bigger chip on his shoulder as he tries to spark a pro career with a great play this fall.

TE Chamon Metayer - Still working back from injury, but the body type and athleticism stood out at Nippert Stadium

LB Dorian Jones - Has a nice grasp of this system. I noticed him during a few team sessions.

CB Taj Ward - The 2022 starting nickel corner should be a strong option again this fall, one of the more consistent coverage players in Week One.

OL Trevor Radosevich - One of the more vocal offensive linemen during drills, seemingly wasted no time taking on a leadership role

WR Chris Scott - Rock. Solid. Scott practiced like the most veteran receiver on the roster. I'm interested to see how the redshirt junior progresses throughout the spring after committing very few mistakes last week.

WR Lesley Andoh - The sophomore stood out a few times over the three sessions. He looked athletic and made a few tough catches as Cincinnati searches for a surprise pop out of that room.

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