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Ball State Cardinals 2015 Spring Football Game: Questions answered

The Cards were back on the field for the first time since to December to give fans a chance to see how the team might fare in 2015.

Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

Pete Lembo's squad gave Ball State fans a taste of what to expect come this fall, when the Cards took the field for the annual spring game on Saturday.

Quarterbacks Jack Milas and Ozzie Mann both threw for 196 yards on Saturday, but Milas seemed more comfortable at times, and finished off two of his drives with touchdown passes, compared to Mann throwing just one.

When asked about the heated quarterback race postgame, Milas admitted there's still a long way to go.

"I just have to keep focusing, keep competing, and so does he." Milas said. "We're still good friends, I mean its been this way for two years."

Another line of focus for Ball State followers has been the race for the team's starting halfback position after Horactio Banks was lost for at least most of the upcoming season.

Lembo stated that Darian Green is leading the three-way chase going into the fall.

"If we had to play tomorrow, Darian Green would be our starter." Lembo said. "Teddy Williamson and Todd Gilbert would certainly play a lot. Going back years and years and years we've had a lot of comfort and success when we've been able to rotate tailbacks through, and obviously with Jahwan Edwards the last few years he saw the lion's share of the work, but this year could be much more of a tailback by committee type situation."

The five-year head coach for the Cardinals, whose last job was wearing the headset at Elon, was quick to praise his offensive line, which retains all five starters from a season ago.

"A lot of these guys have played a lot of football for several seasons, led by Jake Richard, our center," Lembo said. "And Jake's really the key man in the pivot, he's the guy that makes it all go."

The Ball State offense was unstoppable in the early going, scoring 25 points in the first quarter, while the defense only got on the board twice to make the scoreline 25-2 after one.

It was no surpise to see who was leading the way at the wide out poition for Ball State, as Jordan Williams led the way with 98 yards, KeVonn Mabon added over 60, and sopomore Corey Lacanaria caught six passes for 50 yards on the afternoon.

Redshirt freshman David Morrison took six snaps for the Cards on the day. He finished 1-for-4 with three yards, and was the only quarterback out of three to not throw for a touchdown.

One of BSU's key returners was the previously mentioned Richard, who pointed out that being with the same faces as last season could help the offensive line become veteran leadership for a growing Cardinals squad.

"I see our unit as something that other guys can look to," Richard said. "The offensive line in general is a great unit to be a part of. (We're the) defenders of everybody, just protecting the team and that plays in the part and guys can look at us and see us doing the right things."

With the spring game in the bag, and the official countdown to September 3rd's opener versus VMI now on the radar, Lembo still believes some things need work.

"We need to get everyone back healthy on defense, and I'd like to see us come out and get a little bit of a stronger start defensively," Lembo said. "That's not so much a physical thing as much a mental thing, being ready to go and seizing the opportunity. Our motto, our theme is 'Earn It Today, you have to be ready to go for every little thing that you do, weather it's a scrimmage or a practice, or a period in practice, or going to class on Monday, or taking your finals a week later. That's what veterans do, that's what mature guys do, they bring their best everyday, and we need to keep figuring a way to get our very best out of each and every one of these guys."

Overall, Lembo says some questions were answered this spring and that's never a bad thing.

"We'll it's certainly nice to have some experience at the quarterback position," Lembo said. "It's amazing what six starts for each guy (can do). Even though that doesn't sound like a whole lot, just where that puts you when you begin spring practice and then how much progress you make through spring practice, every team's different. This is year 15 for me as a head coach and every team has its own uniqueness about it, its own strengths and weaknesses, its own personality and I think we're still learning about the personality of this team, but we've gotten some questions answered this spring, and does that mean my blood pressure's a little bit lower? Maybe, but I know we have a very challenging schedule that lies ahead this fall."

For anyone interested, offense prevailed 56-37, in an non-traditional scoring system where things like first downs and defensive stops got each each side points.