10 Things I Learned … Spring 2009

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It was good to see the return of Jameel Sewell , Darnell Carter , and Chris Cook this spring.

The Spring Game is in the rearview mirror … and yet the start of the football season is not that far away, even less so when you think about the players still working out on a daily basis, the summer get-togethers starting right around the corner, and camp being just a matter of months away. But before we go forward, let’s look back and see what – if anything – we learned this spring.

1. Was Anything Learned? As I sit down to write this column, one thing strikes me as a major problem with which I am going to have to deal: the title of the column. “10 Things I Learned …” fits for the postgame columns that I write, and it fits for a lot of other columns that I do from time to time. But does it fit for a post-spring breakdown? Some years, yes. This year, I am not so sure.

The problem with talking about what I “learned” this spring is that frankly speaking, there was only so much to learn. When you stop to think about it, that is not surprising: you have a staff that has been completely overhauled, with both coordinators having been replaced, brand new coaches arriving and previously departed coaches returning, current coaches jumping from one unit to another, a new strength and conditioning coach joining the program, and so on and so on and so on. You have the new offensive coordinator introducing an entirely new offense – and I don’t care what the head coach says, this is “entirely new” as long as Brandon gets to be Brandon – and a defense that still has Coach Groh in charge but has to deal with significant personnel changes (particularly with regard to the linebackers). Key players used up their eligibility, key players returned from time away from the program, a key player unexpectedly made himself eligible for the NFL Draft, key players missed spring practices due to injuries