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April 13, 2012

Brown and Gold game news and notes

Western Michigan's annual Brown and Gold game is Saturday at noon, with activities beginning at 8:30am in the Seelye Center next to Waldo Stadium. After a tailgate and alumni flag football game for fans' enjoyment, the main event will begin, as Bronco fans get their final opportunity to watch the WMU football team until fall practice begins.

Battles have shaken out throughout spring practice, but here are some of the observations from BroncoBlitz.com's attendance as well as the release of the spring game depth chart.

- We can expect to see many different offensive line combinations throughout the spring game, but the depth chart released Wednesday indicates who is on top at this point. Terry Davisson is slotted in at first team left tackle, beating out Willie Beavers, who did not look as polished or comfortable through the spring. The other position of note is left guard, where James Kristof gets the nod in place of injured Kasimili Uitalia. Kristof and Deon Cammock are battling at right guard, and seeing them both play side-by-side could give a good indication of who has the edge. Kevin Galeher at center and Dann O'Neill at right guard are mainstays.

- Tevin Drake continues to miss time with a leg injury, which means fans can expect to see a lot of Brian Fields and Dareyon Chance. This has been the norm all spring, as Fields has continued his solid play and Chance has been one of the most pleasant surprises thus far. Chance has combined for 196 yards on just 20 carries through the first two spring scrimmages. While the Broncos have not favored the run game so much in normal practice settings, it has been featured in scrimmages and this is likely to be the case on Saturday as well, partially because coach Bill Cubit has indicated he does not want to give away too much in the play calling.

- Flenard Whitfield is listed as the second tight end on the depth chart. Whitfield has not reached a comfort zone within the offense just yet, but this would seem to indicate that the coaching staff has designs on using him extensively in the fall.

- What jumps out about the WMU defense at this point is their emphasis on speed over size. The first team is full of great athletes, but the largest linebacker is Devon Brant at 223 pounds and Chris Prom is listed at defensive end at just 224 pounds. Freddie Bishop and Cory Sueing are both out with injuries and will bring better size to the defensive end position, but this will not be a large defense regardless. With the size WMU has on the offensive line, it will be important to watch how the defense holds up Saturday.

- Jon Henry and Justin Currie have had great springs at safety and have pulled themselves into dead heats with Demetrius Pettway and Rontavious Atkins, who were receiving most of the playing time at the end of last season. The combination of Henry, a redshirt sophomore out of Kentwood, Mich., and Pettway at strong safety is particularly intriguing, as both have sub-4.4 speed allowing them to make up ground in the secondary.

- The return game was another unresolved area heading into the spring. This did not receive a huge amount of attention from the coaching staff, and will be much more emphasized in the fall. Still, some work was done on it, and at this point Brian Fields and Darrin Duncan head the depth chart at both kick and punt returner.

- Here is the full list of players expected to miss the spring game with injury: WR Kendrick Roberts (groin), WR A.J. King (shoulder), RB Tevin Drake (leg), TE Clark Mussman, OL Kasimili Uitalia (foot), OL Jon Hoffing, WR Josh Schaffer (shoulder), TE Matt Cutler (facial laceration), DE Cory Sueing, DE Freddie Bishop (shoulder), and DE/LB Jarrell McKinney (shoulder).

Stay tuned to BroncoBlitz.com for full coverage of the Brown and Gold game as well as recruiting visits to the game and live updates via Twitter at @WMURivals.

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