Game Day

Former coach Steve Addazio treated the Cherry and White Game as a glorified exhibition. After 14 tough days of practice, he just wanted the Owl players to have fun in the final showcase of the spring, feeling he had already made his evaluation. But new coach Matt Rhule will be paying a little closer attention to who stands out in Saturday's Cherry and White game.

Former coach Steve Addazio treated the Cherry and White Game as a glorified exhibition.

After 14 tough days of practice, he just wanted the Owl players to have fun in the final showcase of the spring, feeling he had already made his evaluation.

But new coach Matt Rhule will be paying a little closer attention to who stands out in Saturday's Cherry and White game Saturday at 1 p.m. at Edberg-Olson Hall.

Rhule said he would value the final scrimmage equally with the other two that came earlier in camp, though certainly the dividing of squads into Cherry and White and the large crowd give this particular scrimmage a different feel. It is expected that quarterbacks will be live.

"I think it's one of three scrimmages, I look at things based on the live competition," said Rhule. "It will be enough that I can tell who can compete, who can make plays with the game on the line, who is a winner and that's what I want to see.

"It won't just be ones and twos. I'll rotate some guys, so the quarterbacks have a chance to play with everybody. We'll divide it up and play. We're really thin, we have a lot of guys banged up. We have 5-10 potential starters banged up, nothing serious but enough they can't play, which is great for some other guys to show what they can do."

As it has been for many of the past few years, most fans will have their eyes on the quarterbacks, particularly No. 1 Connor Reilly, who has thrust himself to the front of the depth chart after not throwing a pass his first three seasons.

"I don't think we'll have a No. 1 (set) out of the spring game, but somebody's going to be up at the top," said Reilly. "In the fall, it will be an open competition again.

"This will give us a chance to see what games are going to be like, they're not going to patty-cake us when we're actually playing, so they'll give us the white jersey."

Reilly and incumbent Juice Granger will both be under the spotlight on Saturday.

Rhule has emphasized throwing the football this camp and it will be interesting to see how often the Owls put the ball in the air Saturday.

"Spring game, I'm sure everybody wants to play their best because everyone wants to be on the field when the season comes," said Granger. "It's another opportunity to showcase our talent."

Other interesting aspects of the game will be seeing how players switching positions perform. Quarterback Chris Coyer is now listed as the starting fullback, former fullback Wyatt Benson is atop the depth chart at middle linebacker and former tight end Cody Booth is the No. 1 left tackle.

Defensive coordinator Phil Snow will coach the Cherry squad, which includes Granger, linebacker Tyler Matakevich and cornerback Zamel Johnson. Offensive coordinator Marcus Satterfield will coach the White team, led by Reilly, Benson and Coyer.

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