As a perfect balance of squads is not practical most years, and least of all here in 2013 with only one veteran quarterback available, Coach Dan Mullen did not worry about making all things equal. Besides, the fifth-year Bulldog boss said, Saturday is a spring party for all involved.
“While the spring game is a great opportunity for our fans to come back to campus as part of Super Bulldog Weekend, its also a chance for our team to have fun,” Mullen said. “Celebrate the end of spring practice and continue to compete.”
The Maroon team is dominated by defense, such as starters S Nickoe Whitley, MLB Benardrick McKinney, DE Denico Autry, and DT Kaleb Eulls, as well as spring first-teamers CB Jamerson Love, DE Preston Smith, and redshirt LB Beniquez Brown who has worked #1-defense since the injury to veteran Deontae Skinner. Skinner is also on the Maroon team but won’t be playing, while starter OLB Matthew Wells will. The second tackle rotation wears Maroon too with Quay Evans and Nick James.
This offense isn’t as experienced though. TE/WR Malcolm Johnson headlines this side as far as ‘skill’ personnel in Maroon. They have backup RB Derrick Milton, and get to use WR-turned-RB Brandon Holloway as well along with WR Michael Carr and TE Rufus Warren. Transfer WR Jeremey Chappelle should help the Maroon offense as well. This unit will have Sam Cowart at quarterback. A positive is they also have PK Devon Bell.
Contrariwise, offense is the strength of the White team. Though it will be interesting to see how many snaps record-setting QB Tyler Russell gets in his final spring game. He has the tested group of receivers to throw at in Jameon Lewis, Robert Johnson, and Joe Morrow, while RB Josh Robinson will wear White also. The real strength though is up front with the full first-team offensive line on this unit.
The White defense does have #1 tackle P.J. Jones and DE Ryan Brown, as well as redshirt linemen Nelson Adams and Jordan Washington. And they also get two of the top cornerbacks in Cedric Jiles and Will Redmond. But Ferlando Bohanna and Chris Hughes have to carry the linebacker load. Fortunately P Baker Swedenburg will dig this defense out of most trouble.
If a ‘line’ was being set for this affair, the White side would have to be favored if only for the restrictions placed on play. Mullen is limiting the defenses in the first place with no contact on quarterbacks (though historically he’s been lenient if defenders take down a walk-on passer), as well as the sorts of sets and schemes they can apply. Other modifications, whether in coverages or clock management, make it less than a true game.
Which doesn’t mean the respective squads aren’t interested in the final score. “As we’ve done in the past, the losing program will be up here Sunday morning cleaning the stadium,” Mullen said. “So there’s an added sense of emphasis to be on the winning team.”
The team rosters follow. Injured or limited players are marked by *.
MAROON TEAM: S Nickoe Whitley, TE Malcolm Johnson, QB Sam Cowart, WR Ricco Sanders*, QB Dak Prescott*, S Deonte Evans, CB Justin Cox, ATH Josh Creekmore, LB Matt Wells, CB Jamerson Love, WR Michael Carr, RB Derrick Milton, DB Tyrell Miller, CB Kivon Coman, WR Michael Hodges, LB Richie Brown, P Mike Mordecai, PK Devon Bell, CB Rishunn McCaleb, LB Beniquez Brown, LB Ivan Muniz*, TE/FB Christian Holmes, S Kendrick Market, DE Torrey Dale, MLB Benardrick McKinney, OLB Deontae Skinner*, K Brian Egan, C Dylan Holley, OT Justin Senior, OG Archie Muniz, OG Ben Beckwith, SN Winston Chapman, OL Patrick Sparkman, OT Damien Robinson, WR/RB Brandon Holloway, TE Rufus Warren, WR Jeremey Chappelle, TE Artimas Samuel, WR Fred Brown, TE Hunter Bradley, DT Nick James, DE Denico Autry, DE Preston Smith, DT Kaleb Eulls, DT Curtis Virges, DE John Harris.
Coaches Geoff Collins, Billy Gonzales, Les Koenning, Scott Sallach, Deshea Townsend, Tobias Smith
WHITE TEAM: CB Will Redmond, WR Jameon Lewis, RB Nick Griffin*, LB Chris Hughes, CB Cedric Jiles, QB Josh Hand, WR Joe Morrow, QB Tyler Russell, TE Brandon Hill, WR Vincent Watkins, RB Kasey Akins, S/LB James Baldwin, RB LaDarius Perkins*, S DeAndrea Ward, S Quadry Antoine, S Jay Hughes, DB Brandon Davis, DB Brandyn Bartlett, RB Josh Robinson, ATH Johnathan Long, CB Taveze Calhoun*, S Dee Arrington, P Baker Swedenburg, PK Evan Sobiesk, K Will Goodwin, K Taylor Earhart, LB Zachary Jackson*, DE A.J. Jefferson, DE Ryan Brown, LB Ferlando Bohanna, DT Quay Evans, DE Corvell Harrison-Gay, OG Gabe Jackson, OG Devon Desper, C Dillon Day, DL Rodney Lacy, OG Justin Malone, OT Cole Carter, OG Paul Thompson, LB Daniel McCray, OT Blaine Clausell, OT Charles Siddoway, OL Hunter Cunningham, WR Robert Johnson, SN Bailey West, WR Javous Nicks, TE Gus Walley, DT P.J. Jones, DT Nelson Adams, DE Jordan Washington.
Coaches John Hevesy, Tony Hughes, Greg Knox, David Turner