Spring training has ended. Here’s what we’ve learned:
> The O did grow: For the first 14 practices, it appeared the quarterback often was on the move — rollouts, bootlegs, play-action, and so forth. That was emphasized with Ikaika Woolsey’s 60-yard scoring run in yesterday’s scrimmage. It came on a read-option, which has been in the playbook for two years but it appears to be more suitable for this personnel. With the formation spread and the threat of Joey Iosefa drawing defenders, the read-option is now a viable option.
> QB options: The plan all along was to hold off on naming a No. 1 quarterback until August, after Beau Reilly becomes eligible and, perhaps, an FBS quarterback transfers to UH. But there were two surprises this month: 1) Taylor Graham, who was recovering from offseason shoulder surgery, was able to practice, at least on a limited-contact basis; and 2) Jeremy Higgins had a heck of a spring. Woolsey had the presence of a No. 1 quarterback, but Higgins kept making plays. Higgins’ 6-of-6, 2-TD performance during Thursday’s 11-on-11 session ensures there’s depth at the position.
> Q is the answer: Quinton “Q” Pedroza, who transferred from Utah last year, emerged as the Warriors’ best receiver this spring. The thing is, he plays inside receiver, a position occupied by the team’s MVP, Scott Harding. The Warriors could rotate them, play them in tandem in a four-receiver formation, or move Pedroza to wideout. It’s a nice dilemma for the coaching staff.
> 3-4 combination: The Warriors were in nickel coverages a majority of the time in 2013, making it an easier transition — up front, at least — to switch to a 3-4 base this spring. Jeremy Castro, Jerrol Garcia-Williams and Tevita Lataimua played well in the scrimmage. Luke Shawley has provided a strong pass rush the past two weeks.
> Turning the corner: The Warriors entered the spring admittedly thin at corner. Then Anthony Pierce missed some practices because of a bruised kidney, and Dee Maggitt suffered a hamstring injury this past week. But in the scrimmage, Maggitt and Ne’Quan Phillips had breakout games. “I can count on those two,” Clune said. “They’re leaders. They take care of business.” Six defensive backs join the Warriors this summer.
> Surprising star: There are 86 players on the spring roster. It would take, maybe, 80 guesses to correctly predict Gaetano DeMattei as the scrimmage’s defensive MVP. But DeMattei, who joined the team following a walk-on tryout in February, had a scrimmage-high six tackles, broke up a pass and was nuisance to every receiver he covered. “He earned everybody’s respect,” Clune said of 5-8, 175-pound DeMattei. “I think everyone on this team will get fired up when they talk about Gaetano.”
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Wideout Don’yeh Patterson, who signed in February and joins in July, attended the Spring Fling:
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Appearing at the alumni game: