The thought of how his offense has improved over the course of the spring brought a smile to Houston Nutt’s face on Thursday, the last full-gear practice of spring. Today the Rebels will work in shorts and helmets, and Saturday is a day of celebration more than a day of getting things done.
The heavy lifting of spring football is finished.
I offer this disclaimer before moving forward: It’s spring football, practice, and you just never know till you see these guys in live action against another team.
But the offense did appear to improve, particularly the offensive line. Depth there is still paper thin, and the left guard spot with Alex Washington may still be in play pending his weight loss challenge for the summer.
This improvement means the line has been competitive, has won some battles, late in the spring. It hasn’t been dominant. There was good pressure put on QB Nathan Stanley from the defense yesterday. He had one interception, but he also completed some nice passes too, one of them a nifty slant that showed precision timing between Stanley and the receiver, Jared Mitchell.
There has been line improvement, and that has allowed for running game improvement, and the run game improvement is going to have to come from the line, because the backs have been OK, not special.
There is probably less confidence in the kicking game than the offense right now. Bryson Rose is still the leading candidate to replace Joshua Shene, but neither Rose nor David Hankins were impressive yesterday, both struggling from 37 yards out. And this is without a real rush.