It's hard to be overly critical of a Spring Game in where a new offense was on display for the first time, especially after there were only a few weeks of practice to learn a new system.
But on Friday Night our offense clearly looked more like the Florida Gator version of Brent Pease's offense rather than the highly effective Boise State version.
I noticed some differences in some our some of our formations, particularly when looking at the splits of our offensive linemen.
Even on some running plays, there are some formations where they now split wider apart from each other compared to last year. Other times, we will have a normal spacing across the line with a single wide spacing gap placed on the strong side of the line.
In other situations, we have six O-Linemen out there, with an extra O-lineman lined up in the TE position. Of course Pease is down a tight end, but could end up being the norm come September.
It will be interesting to see what types of angles, spacing, and hopefully success, that results from these new formations.
The biggest disappointment of the night was our continued lack of a vertical passing game. Our biggest complaint over the past few years showed no improvement in the Spring Game, with practically no deep attempts.
Additionally, I thought as a group, that the WR's probably had the roughest game of the scrimmage. There were numerous drops, especially early, and there was little separation all night long.
Cole Freytag looks to have the most dependable hands at this point. In defense of the passing game, it should be pointed out that the winds were very strong and swirling (the forecast said that they would be around 40mph), which had to have had an affect and hopefully made things look worse than they really are.
I did think that Terry Juniel and Eddie Sinegal both showed solid signs of potential when they did catch the ball and Treyvonn Hughes and TK Powell appeared to be capable of handling our backfield duties.
In a continuing theme under Kugler, our O-line continues to just get bigger, and bigger. Jerrod Brooks (330 pounds) and Will Hernandez (340 pounds) really stand out when lining up.
The defense was much more sound than I thought that they would be. They were very solid upfront, there were almost no missed tackles, and they pursued very well to the ball resulting in consistently getting a lot of bodies to the ball carriers.
The secondary looked particularly solid and our safeties also appear to have more success when blitzing out of this defense. In most Spring Games, a good defensive performance might be a result of having a poor offense.
While some of that may still be the case here, I do honestly feel that the defense was a pleasant surprise and further along from where I thought that they would be.
I thought that new addition at corner Jaylen Harris was the biggest surprise of the night. The Freshman corner really caught my attention on a number of different plays.
It looks like Kalon Beverly and Nik Needham are about to both take a big step forward this year after getting a year of experience under their belt. Any good defense must have good corners and we have potential for that with these two.
It is not always easy to get productive corners, but we have corners that I feel comfortable with and they are all underclassmen.
I saw Mike Price and 2016 signee's Eric Foster, Christian Johnson, and Kolbi McGary at the game.
The UTEP Marketing Department also made some progress by getting a large number of youth football players out to the game to greet the players as they entered the field.
The best news is that we appeared to end Spring Ball without losing any additional bodies (with the exception of Mack Leftwich) and everyone who sat out is apparently on pace to be ready for the start of the season.
I am glad that we still have more than 4 months to get ready for NMSU (especially on offense), because at this point we are not ready. Aaron Jones has a way of always making an offense look better, so let's hope that he is back for that game.