CINCINNATI Team Report



 
INSIDE SLANT

Not that there was much doubt, but it appears Zach Collaros has solidified his position as the Bearcats' starting quarterback for the upcoming season.

Collaros, a junior who started four games last season for the injured Tony Pike, was impressive in taking the majority of the snaps with the first-team offense in spring practice and distanced himself from his closest competitor, Chazz Anderson.

In the Bearcats' spring scrimmage at Nippert Stadium, Collaros completed his first 11 passes and finished 18 of 20 for 218 yards and two touchdowns. Although he was mostly facing the second-team defense, Collaros was sharp in leading the first-teamers to three TDs.

"We had a good rhythm going," said Collaros. "I felt really comfortable. I thought it was a great outing for our offense. I feel really good going into the summer. I'm just going to keep working to keep getting better."

First-year head coach Butch Jones said he wished spring practice was longer so he could continue to iron out some kinks, particularly on defense. But for Jones, who used the spring as an introductory period for the players and an almost entirely new coaching staff, his reports were positive.

"It's been a teaching opportunity," said Jones. "They learned about us as people in a very short amount of time. Now they're learning about us as coaches, our demands and expectations."

Jones was hired as Bearcats head coach after Brian Kelly departed for Notre Dame. He inherited a team that returns a wealth of talent from last year's squad which won a second consecutive Big East Conference championship and reached the Sugar Bowl.

NOTES, QUOTES

--The University of Cincinnati broke ground March 16 on its $15.5 million Jefferson Avenue Sports Complex, a state-of-the-art training facility that will serve as practice space for the football team and other varsity sports programs.

--Senior Demetrius Jones, who started at QB for Notre Dame in it's season-opener in 2007 before transferring to UC where he was moved to linebacker, chose to leave the Bearcats program in early April.

SPRING MOVERS:

--Senior WR Vidal Hazelton isn't a newcomer to UC's program, but this season will be his first action in a Bearcats uniform. Hazelton sat out last year after transferring from USC. He caught four passes for 88 yards in the spring scrimmage.

--Sophomore RB Darrin Williams, who was redshirted as a freshman by former head coach Brian Kelly, is glad he decided not to transfer. Williams, who has dynamic speed and good hands, has impressed first-year head coach Butch Jones. Williams could find time in the backfield or as a kick returner.

-- Senior WR Marcus Barnett will compete with junior D.J. Woods for the slot receiver position. Barnett briefly played cornerback last season, but is being moved back to offense full-time.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I thought the last week of spring practice he really clicked. He really got a great grasp of the offense and he looked a lot more comfortable. He looked a lot more comfortable in the pocket. His body position was much better than the first scrimmage. I thought that Zach continued to improve." -- Cincinnati head coach Butch Jones on Zach Collaros' progress in spring practice.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

2010 OUTLOOK: First-year head coach Butch Jones inherits a team loaded with talent. Zach Collaros, who passed for more than 1,400 yards in 12 games including three starts, likely will be the starter at quarterback. Collaros will have plenty of weapons in running back Isaiah Pead and wide receivers Armon Binns, D.J. Woods and newcomer Vidal Hazelton, who sat out last season after transferring from USC. Defensively, the Bearcats hope to be much improved with five starters and several regular contributors returning.

SCOUTING THE OFFENSE: Butch Jones inherits a lot of talent, particularly offensively. Zach Collaros, who passed for more than 1,400 yards in 12 games including three starts, likely will be the starter. There is depth at wide receiver with Armon Binns, D.J. Woods and newcomer Vidal Hazelton, who sat out last season after transferring from USC. Still, Jones will be quick to put his stamp on this team. He will feature the running game more so than Brian Kelly, particularly with the lead late in games. Returning leading rusher Isaiah Pead could have an expanded role.

SCOUTING THE DEFENSE: Butch Jones' defensive staff is also working to transition the Bearcats back to a 4-3 scheme after playing a base 3-4 set during the 2009 season. Jones also is looking for much improvement on this side of the ball, especially after the Bearcats' defense was obliterated by opponents in the latter stages of the season. Jones is concerned about depth particularly after the second team defense had a poor showing in the team's annual spring scrimmage. As a whole, the Bearcats defense needs to improve its tackling.

SCOUTING THE SPECIAL TEAMS: All-American kick returner Mardy Gilyard is gone, so the competition is wide open for primary punt and kick return duties. Among those getting an early look are D.J. Woods, Darrin Williams, Vidal Hazelton, Isaiah Pead, and John Goebel. The Bearcats are looking for more consistency from kicker Jake Rogers.

TOP NEWCOMERS:

WR Vidal Hazelton -- The senior isn't a newcomer to UC's program, but this season will be his first action in a Bearcats uniform. Hazelton sat out last year after transferring from USC. He's expected to be the frontrunner for one of the top receiver spots.

WR Dyjuan Lewis - The freshman is a four-star recruit eager to show his stuff. He's a 6-foot-2, 186-pound high-jumper who runs a 4.5 40-yard dash. Lewis is athletic and a smooth route-runner.

LB Solomon Tentman -- He was a local recruiting coup for the Bearcats. With some inexperience in the linebacking corps, Tentman is looking to make the most of his playing time.

ROSTER REPORT:

--Junior RB Isaiah Pead, who is expected to be the Bearcats' feature back next season, suffered a contusion in his knee in practice and was forced to miss the Bearcats' spring scrimmage. The injury is not as serious as originally thought, and Pead is expected to be fully recovered in time for fall practice.

--Senior WR Jamar Howard underwent successful arthroscopic surgery on his left knee on April 19 at the University of Cincinnati Hospital. Howard appeared in five games during the 2009 season, catching three passes for 50 yards. He is expected to be ready when UC opens fall camp in August.

--Senior OL CJ Cobb underwent successful surgery to repair a broken right ankle at University of Cincinnati Hospital on April 12. Cobb was injured during spring practice on Saturday, April 10, 2010. He is expected to be ready when UC opens fall camp in August.

--The University of Cincinnati broke ground March 16 on its $15.5 million Jefferson Avenue Sports Complex, a state-of-the-art training facility that will serve as practice space for the football team and other varsity sports programs.

Previous Report: 03/25/2010


 

 

 


 
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