Rock Weir Winners Show Potential

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Clint Sintim started 12 games last season, but has shown improvement this spring.

Improve in the dictionary carries a handful of definitions: to raise to a more desirable or more excellent quality, to increase the productivity or value of, to become better, or to make beneficial additions or changes. On the football field, improvement is a measurable quantity: better technique, greater understanding of concepts, additional moves, or increased production.

Every spring, the Cavaliers hand out their Rock Weir Award, given to the most improved players during spring practice. The offensive honoree was running back Mikell Simpson , while two defensive players – linebacker Clint Sintim and defensive end Jeffrey Fitzgerald – shared the recognition.

All three of those players promptly showed off why they were honored during the Spring Game on Saturday.

Offensively, Simpson probably benefited from Michael Johnson’s absence (Johnson sat out with an ankle injury); in the game, Simpson logged 7 carries for 19 yards and 1 catch for 5 yards. Simpson, Johnson, and Cedric Peerman are battling it out on the depth chart behind Jason Snelling at running back, a position where coach Al Groh would prefer a two-man rotation.

Groh said that Simpson has made a lot of progress this spring.

“Mikell has a ways to go, but he’s come a long ways from the first day of spring practice or for that matter, the first day of training camp last year,” Groh said.

Certainly, Simpson showed flashes of his potential. He hits the available holes in the offensive line quickly and has a knack for sliding off of tackles, a trait similar to that of former Hoo running back Thomas Jones. He also has a strong burst of speed that allows him to create separation from defenders. Of course, that separation isn’t as wide as it was in high school.