There were serious questions about the Eastern Kentucky University offense coming into spring practice.
And with good reason.
The offense staff had undergone almost a complete overhaul in recent months - including the coordinator - the Colonels graduated several of their top playmakers and had a very crowded quarterback competition with no clear front-runner.
Early on in spring practice, the offense struggled to competing against a solid, veteran defensive unit.
"Offensively, I thought we progressed. We had a rough beginning," EKU coach Mark Elder said. "We got better and better every practice. There was a lot of development."
That progress was obvious on Saturday during the team's annual spring game at Roy Kidd Stadium.
The White Team (offense) scored touchdowns on three of its first four possessions and went on to pick up a 48-26 win. B.K. Smith had two touchdown receptions, Jaelin Carter had a TD catch and the Colonels also added three rushing touchdowns.
"The offense looked really, really sharp. They had a great day," Elder said. "We saw some advancement. We've got some really got football players on offense. I think the offensive staff has done a great job utilizing our personnel and getting those guys to believe in what we are doing."
The defense came into the game short-handed.
Several starters did not play because of lingering, but not long-term injuries - including standout defensive lineman Aaron Patrick.
The offense took advantage early, putting together three-straight scoring drives to open the scrimmage.
Parker McKinney capped the first series with a 19-yard TD pass to Smith. Jason Lewis followed with a 22-yard touchdown run and Smith hauled in a 16-yard TD pass from Austin Scott to give the White Team a 21-0 lead.
"We are more of a spread offense, with the run-pass option (RPO)," Smith said of EKU's new-look offense under coordinator Adam Austin. "We are stretching the defense out more and passing the ball more. I'm really looking forward to that kind of offense."
Connor Blount gave the offense a a 28-3 lead with a 6-yard touchdown pass to Carter in the second quarter.
The Colonels opened spring practice with five quarterbacks competing for playing time. Four of those QBs played on Saturday - Blount, Scott, McKinney and Dakota Allen. Alphonso Howard was injured and did not play.
EKU's quarterbacks combined to complete 17-of-28 passes for three touchdowns with just one interception.
Each QB contributed in the victory.
Blount, a transfer from Oregon State, was 6-for-6 for 45 yards.
McKinney was 5-of-9 for 73 and a touchdown.
Scott was 4-for-7 for 71 yard with an interception, one touchdown.
Allen was 2-for-6 for 1 yard, but also had a 20-yard touchdown run.
"We will name a quarterback and some point in time," Elder said. "But, it won't be today. There's going to continue to be a competition."
Alonzo Booth had a 2-yard touchdown run on the final play of the scrimmage, while Landon White and Sam Hayworth had second-half field goals.
Daryl McCleskey had a team-best 52 yards rushing for EKU on five carries. Lewis had four yards rushing on five attempts and Booth had 31 yards on seven carries.
The defense wasn't at full strength, but still fought back after the offense took control early.
Trey Mullins came up with an interception on the first series of the second half and the Maroon Team also forced two fumbles - one by Josh Hayes, the other by Taquan Evans.
After a defensive stop on the first drive of the fourth quarter, the Maroon Team had gotten back with two points (28-26).
"We've had a lot of injuries. We just had to play with what we had," Hayes said. "They got the jump on us early and got the momentum. There's going to be adversity, we just have to keep fighting. They knew we were going to come back on them."
Landon Heinberg had a team-best seven tackles for EKU and also had a sack.
Shane Burks had a forced fumble and two tackles-for-loss, while Andrew Dziuk also forced a fumble.
The Colonels are set to open the 2019 season on Aug. 29 at Roy Kidd Stadium against Valpo.