Offense Improves in Wednesday's Scrimmage

The passing game sputtered at times with dropped balls, the running game looked formidable, and the defense came up with big plays. Those were three of the most noticeable trends in Wednesday's scrimmage at Kajikawa Practice Field. It was a night where the offense showed more promise than the previous two fall camp scrimmages.

In its first series, the first team was a mixed bag of goods. The running game met a tough run-stop resistance, and Rudy Carpenter (2-10 for 50 yards and an INT) generally couldn't complete any passes to his receivers downfield. The one big completion he had to Kyle Williams was negated because of a "sack" by Josh Barrett. Nonetheless, the series ended on a strong note when Ryan Torain dashed 56 yards in the middle of the line of scrimmage and down the field for the lone offensive touchdown of the game. A collision in the red zone with cornerback Travis Smith knocked his mouthpiece but ultimately didn't slow him down.

In its second series the first teamers had a rough outing. After an incomplete pass by Carpenter, the junior's second pass bounced off the hands of WR Chris McGaha and CB Justin Tryon who were fighting for the ball, which dropped into the hands of Barrett who ran the pigskin untouched 40 yards for the only defensive score of the night. Chris Baloney could have registered a pick himself a couple of plays later if he didn't drop the ball; a dropped ball by WR Mike Jones prevented a completion by Carpenter. ASU's starting signal caller did find Kyle Williams for a 41-yard catch.

Danny Sullivan started the second team series with a 15-yard pass to Simpson, but generally good coverage by the secondary had him throw three incompletions, followed by a pass to Jarrell Woods that went for a two yards loss. Woods did run the ball three times for 31 yards in this series, before he limped off with an injury. Drops by Kimbrough and Taylor didn't help Sullivan's numbers or the offense march down the field.

Taylor redeemed himself on the second series of the second team, catching three passes for 28 yards. Herring had had two rushes for 14 yards. Nonetheless, this unit wasn't able to punch it in.

On the first series of the third team, Shaun DeWitty put on quite the show catching a 24-yard pass, and rushing twice for 14 yards. Jeff Gray had a 12-yard catch from a Samson Szakacsy, who also almost had a pick if it wasn't for a dropped ball by Grant Crunkleton. Even a nice 4-yard scramble by him wasn't enough for this unit to further advance the ball and score.

Szakacsy looked much sharper during the third team's second session as he found Gray for 24 yards, and again for 13. Preston Jones rushed for 12 yards on three carries. This session was marred for the offense when Brett Nenaber intercepted a Szakacsy pass.

In the kicking game, Thomas Weber once again had the upper leg going 3-3 on attempts from 47, 40, and 22. Zach Richards made his attempts from 47 and and 28, while missing from 30. Weber also showed a strong leg, sailing one of his kickoffs into the end zone for a touchback. Walk-ons Kevin Ballard and Dustin Driscoll served as the kick returners on that kick, while Tryon and McGaha were lining up s returners on another attempt. Kyle Williams had a nice punt return, while Tryon and Taylor muffed their returns.

In terms of injuries, Rudy Burgess, Brandon Smith, and Dimitri Nance didn't participate on offense. Thomas Altieri came back to man the second team center position, but an MCL injury suffered during the scrimmage cut his session short as he possibly now may miss the season opener against San Jose State. On defense Ryan McFoy was wearing a boot and not dressed.

In terms of the ever fluid depth chart, Shaun Lauvao replaced Paul Fanaika again as the first team offensive guard. Jeremy Payton came back to assume first team nickel, as well as second team safety replacing Fobbs-Valentino. Jonathan English saw some reps on the second team, and Omar Bolden was mainly on the third team, much in due to a tailbone injury suffered last week.

"I'm all right," said Bolden as he self-assessed his play. "I need to work on my technique a lot. I have to spend some extra time here and perfect my technique." He added that he didn't care that he was listed currently on the third team. He knows he's not going to redshirt and knows that he'll have to put in even more hard work to advance himself.

Having pressure as a freshman Pac-10 cornerback can be borderline unbearable and Bolden's solution is just to: "Block it out," he stated. "I'll think about it the day after. But when it's game time I got to roll. I block out the fans, all the cheers…it's just you and the man in front of you…that's how my dad raised me. You can't just sit back and harp on things; you have to get over it."

Playing a position that he didn't play in high school, let alone doing so as a freshman in the Pac-10 can be a daunting task. Needless to say that Bolden's strong personality doesn't allow him to give much thought to what could be a tough accomplishment. "I guess it's all in my mind," he said. "If you wanna be the best, you have to practice like the best and you wanna work like the best. I wanna be the best corner on the field. Eventually, I hope I will be. I have to humble myself and work." He added that veteran corners like Tryon and Baloney are teaching him something new everyday and provide invaluable feedback.

Unofficial Scrimmage Stats:


Carpenter2-10, 50, INT
Sullivan 7-15, 48
Szakacsy 8-13, 92, INT


Torain 3-62, TD
Woods 3-31
P.Jones 7-24
Herring 5-21
DeWitty 4-20


Taylor 4-35
Gray 3-49
K. Williams 1-41
DeWitty 1-24
Simpson 1-15
Glass 1-9 Miller 1-9
J. Williams 1-4
Conrad 1-3
Evbuomwan 1-3

Defense Stats

Barrett INT – 40 yards returned for TD, sack
Anderson sack
Asi sack, one tackle
Nenaber INT, one tackle
Aaron five tackles
Fobbs Valentino three tackles, one tackle for loss
Crunkleton pass breakup
Payton two tackles
Clark two tackles
Judah two tackles
Goethel tackle
Bereuter tackle
Munns one tackle for loss
‘Unga tackle
James tackle for loss
Saulsberry tackle
Tryon tackle
Bolden tackle
K.Brown tackle
Moos tackle
Cox tackle
L.Jones tackle

Thanks to Meghan Walsh who assisted in compiling the statistics

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