Ivory Tower and I went to the football scrimmage on Saturday in Vaught-Hemmingway stadium. I'm going to do this recap quick-hit style. Here goes.
During the offense's first six possessions, they did not pick up a single first down. It was frightening. After that, there was a significantly better battle going on, even when the first team defense was on the field.
- Nathan Stanley is noticably better than Raymond Cotton. Physically, his spirals are tight, and his deep ball is placed well. But mentally is where he stood out the most to me. Three times, Stanley saw the blitz coming before the snap, audibled, and got out of a sticky situation. Also, he generally checked down to receivers who were open. Stanley finished 10-19 on the day with 3 TDs and 2 INTs. His first INT was picked off by Ryan Campbell. It was simply a poor throw. The look was good, but the ball was underthrown. The second was essentially a jump ball in the end zone that was again a little bit underthrown. Charles Sawyer came down with it over..... I think Lionel Breaux.
- Raymond Cotton played quite poorly in the scrimmage going something like 2-8. Let's hope it's that sore arm.
- When nothing was going right for the first team offense against hte first team defense, Nutt called for Devin Thomas. Thomas took the ball and broke a tackle at the line of scrimmage, then ran 40 yards to midfield. It was a huge play. Thomas, of course, got the ball three more times during the whole day. Notably, he took one of the other carries 40 yards again.
- Brandon Bolden played well, picking up several runs of 7-12 yards. He still isn't playing with the reckless abandon he showed as a freshman, but he didn't look to be afraid of contact either.
- Enrique Davis is going to get Eason-ish carries this season. He's an average back.
- Derrick Herman is a promising player on offense. He's certainly the most Dexter-like of all the backs. He's not spectacular, but he gives the added element of speed and shiftiness. He had several good runs against the first-team D.
- I didn't notice Rodney Scott getting many carries.
- We used fullbacks like it was going out of style, and it was common to see Ferbia Allen or Reggie Hicks go into motion at TE only to end up at FB. I'm not singling anyone out here, because I barely paid attention to this position, but none of them were yelled at for missing assignments.
- Ja-Mes Logan did nothing on Saturday. Well, I take that back. He dropped a perfectly thrown 25 yard pass from Nathan Stanley. I'm sure he has been doing things to separate himself in the past, but he didn't show any of them on Saturday.
- Markeith Summers was the most productive receiver on the day. He ran a fantastic deep post route for a long TD late in the scrimmage. He's going to have to show up this year.
- I didn't notice Jesse Grandy in the receiving game, though I know from the stats that he caught a few passes for 35 or so yards. I did notice however that we're using him significantly in the running game. He only had two or three carries on end arounds, but we put him in motion and fake the handoff to him a good bit. There was one absolutely sick play action where the entire defense was fooled.
- Lionel Breaux had two memorable plays. The first was an intermediate pass from Stanley into the right side of the end zone where Breaux had to tip toe and turn his body around in order to stay in. It was gorgeous. The other was a reverse which saw him tackled six to seven yards in the backfield by Julian Whitehead.
- Zaccheus Mason actually had a good grab across the middle while being covered quite well. He was hit hard from behind but held on. I would guess he's the #3 TE right now behind Ferbia Allen and Reggie Hicks.
- Allen dropped a pass from Stanley that hit him in the hands. However, I liked the way Allen performed early on last year while filling in for an injured Gerald Harris, and I'm not concerned about his hands.
- Reggie Hicks is average.
- I could be mistaken, but I don't believe that Bradley Sowell allowed a sack. He didn't even seem to allow a ton of pressure. I think we're actually going to be alright at left tackle. God, I hope so.
- Bobby Massie performed relatively well too. I remember a running play in which Massie whiffed on Dorsey, but those were uncommon. Our starting tackles appear to be the strength of our offensive line.
- Past the starters, it's scary.
- The interior of our line wasn't as devastated on passing plays as I expected. While the defense was able to get pressure by blitzing linebackers or safeties, I was concerned they would get tremendous pressure sending just four. That didn't appear to be the case though. Stanley was only sacked once that I remember, on a great strip by Jonathan Cornell.
- There was only one missed snap. In terms of actual blocking, the centers were relatively poor. More than a few times, they were shoved out of the way so that a blitzing linebacker could come in untouched.
- Gerald Rivers made two huge plays in a row when matched up against Logan Clair. On the first, he sacked Raymond Cotton for a big loss. The next play, he shot through untouched and brought down Rodney Scott as he was being given the ball. Logan Clair..... isn't good.
- Wayne Dorsey and Kentrell Lockett appear to be the exact same player. I think we'll be happy with their production as a pair.
- Jerrell Powe is a monster. He can move offensive linemen at will, even when double-teamed. It's going to be a good year for him.
- On one particular play, Ted Laurent shoved a guard back, allowing DT Shackelford to enter the backfield at full speed and lay the wood to an unexpecting halfback. It was a beautifully designed play that was executed to perfection.
- I'm sure they played well, but I wasn't watching them closely, and the number of successful outside runs was a little bit disheartening.
- Cornell and Shackelford both made great plays in the scrimmage. Neither one was ever caught noticably out of position. I think teams will struggle running up the middle against this team.
- Sorry for the poor reports about the front seven. I barely paid attention to them, since I know we'll be fine there. I did, however, pay a lot of attention to the secondary.
- Charles Sawyer is going to be quite good for us. The freshman has great height and brings significant athleticism to the position. All he needs now is experience.
- I'm not sure what to make yet of Ryan Campbell. He had a very athletic pick in the scrimmage and is only a freshman, but I'm hearing from people who can attend some weekday practices that he often looks lost.
- Jeremy McGee looks to be quite good. I personally thought he played relatively poorly last season, but it looks like he's ready to be the guy. A welcomed transition.
- Marcus Temple did not play on Saturday. It was either a class or a stomach bug. Nothing about which to worry.
- The rest of the corners aren't very good. If anyone reading this thinks that Demareo Marr or Julian Whitehead are going to make a difference in games, I totally disagree. The door is open for a freshman to play the dime spot, but I could also see us using one of our many safeties as a dime corner.
- Damien Jackson didn't make any big plays, but he's getting as many reps as Fon Ingram, a sign that he might be overtaking Ingram for the starting job. He does bring a more physical presence and hits hard. It's not as if he's Jamarca Sanford though. He hits pretty hard for a free safety, but as a strong safety, he would be only average. Word is that he doesn't struggle very much in coverage, which is in stark contrast to Sanford.
- Fon Ingram is a senior and carries himself as such. He's steady and knows what he's doing. Athletically, he's not superb, but he's adequate.
- Frank Crawford is the third free safety. He'll be alright in time, but he's certainly not there yet.
- Johnny Brown is absolutely nuts. He does well in run support and pass coverage. I think we're in for a good year from Brown.
- Jackson practiced a little bit at strong safety. It appears that we have three safeties with which the coaches are quite comfortable. Jackson is the one who can play both positions, so I would guess that if he doesn't win the starting FS job, he'll get tons of snaps at free and strong.
- The kickers struggled. None appeared better than the others.
- Tyler Campbell is miles ahead of everyone else.
- Grandy and Breaux got the most duty returning. I think they'll be fine.
That's all she wrote.