SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Thursday afternoon’s Maroon and White Spring football game gave us our first glimpse at how new Offensive Coordinator Justin Kramer would handle his new play calling duties.
Kramer, who was the Bears’ Tight Ends Coach last year, has taken over as OC after the departure of Mack Brown.
What we saw on the field, however, was almost a carbon copy as it appears Kramer will keep the offensive structure the same heading into next season.
“Kramer’s done a great job this Spring making sure we’re running things we’re comfortable with and the offense in general is comfortable with,” Backup Quarterback Dalton Hill said. “It’s hardly been a transition because it’s mostly the same stuff. Kramer has done a really good job this Spring making sure we’re comfortable with everything.”
That comfort showed for the offense in a 38-22 win over the defense.
Starting quarterback and rising senior Peyton Huslig went 8-15 passing for 88 yards.
Standout receiver Lorenzo Thomas saw limited action with just one catch for 20 yards after a minor lower body injury in the first quarter.
Redshirt freshman wide receiver Ja’Ron Burks was shining in his place with three catches for 62 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
As for the running back corps, Stec said freshman standout Jeremiah Wilson will miss most of the season after a preseason injury.
In his stead, the team is turning to one familiar name and two new additions to the team.
Donovan Daniels looks poised to start for the Bears in the backfield.
Daniels had more carries than anyone else Thursday with 13 while tallying 63 yards including a 21-yard touchdown in the 3rd quarter.
The bulk of the remaining carries went to transfer DJ Frost and redshirt freshman Lonell Boyd.
Frost was a wideout for Air Force, but the Wilson injury has forced him to switch roles.
The transfer posted 55 yards on eleven carries for the Bears.
Boyd, meanwhile, had 58 yards on the same number of carries including a 22-yard 4th down conversion run in the opening half.
All-in-all, Stec as positive about how Kramer’s offense has looked so far with Spring practice coming to a close.
“(Kramer) brings a different perspective than Mack just because Mack was a quarterback,” Stec said. “He sees the game differently than he does. There’s still an evaluation ongoing with his play calling, but I’m very happy with his play calling as we speak right now.”
As for the defense, a lot of the focus fell on 3rd down stops which was a major thorn in their side last year.
The defensive side stopped the offense on 11 of 17 third downs.
“We’re always going to emphasize key downs, which are our third down plays on both sides of the ball,” Stec said. “That’s why we put so much emphasis on that today. I thought both sdies made big plays. We have a ways to go, but we saw a lot of good things.”
The Bears will open the 2010 season on Aug. 29 in Flagstaff against Northern Arizona.
They won’t play at home until Sept. 21 against Kennesaw State.