Offense effective in scrimmage

The Wildcat offense has looked a lot better over the past few days. After a rough scrimmage last Saturday, the offense rebounded in their last two scrimmages. Quarterback Kris Heavner looked as good as he had all camp, leading the Wildcat offense on a number of long drives.

Heavner, who struggled last weekend, looked in command all night. He did a nice job looking off of receivers and rarely threw into double coverage.

The first drive saw Heavner executing the offense the way Mike Canales wants it run, with a lot of short passes and long drives.

"We're not going to throw down field 20 times a game," Canales said. "We're going to throw a lot of short, underneath passes and chew up a lot of clock."

That is precisely what Heavner and the Cats did on the first drive. Heavner completed three of his first four passes, with only a 20-yard completion to Brad Wood going down field. When Heavner was not looking for the underneath receiver, Mike Bell was getting it done on the ground. Bell gained 29 yards on the first series and helped lead the Wildcats deep into the red zone.

It was here that Heavner would make his loan mistake of the night. Heavner had a long time to throw, looked off several receivers, but still threw into double-coverage where safety Lamon Means picked off the pass.

For the night Heavner was 20-of-28 for 212-yards.

The Cats' third drive saw Ryan O'Hara guide the second-team offense on a long drive as well. The sophomore passer ran a 10-play drive with walk-on Ryan Shirley getting the bulk of the work. Shirley picked up 10 yards on the first run, but failed to gain another yard on his next four carries.

O'Hara did the rest of the damage in the air. He hit Ryan Eidson for completions of 28 and 12 yards getting the Wildcats down inside the 10. The drive stalled and the offense settled on a 23-yard chip shot field goal by Nick Folk.

O'Hara was 5-10 for 62 yards on the night.

Two of Heavner's next three drives saw the offense drive deep enough for field goal attempts. Folk missed from 37 and connected from 32. Heavner also had a sure touchdown dropped by Anthony Johnson in the endzone. Johnson appeared to catch the ball, and actually took a step, but did not have it quite long enough to be awarded the catch.

Heavner finished the night with two final touchdown drives. Both took at least nine plays and were the kind of ball control offense that Canales has been preaching.

The first scoring drive saw Heavner being given the green light to pass on every down. He was 8-9, with the lone incompletion coming on a drop by Wood. Gilbert Harris capped the drive with a 14-yard touchdown. Heavner hit the running back on a swing pass. Keil McDonald was there to make a play, but Harris broke the tackle and walked into the endzone for the score.

The final scoring drive had a better balance of run and pass, but it was a 26-yard completion that got the offense moving. Gilbert Harris rushed five times for 31 yards and Heavner found Nic Costa for the big gain in the air. It looked as if Heavner was going to be sacked, but the refs swallowed their whistles and Heavner found Steve Fleming in the endzone for the score.

Gilbert Harris had nine rushes for 57 yards, while Bell amassed 47 yards on nine carries before being lifted after just a pair of series.

On the receiving end, Fleming had five receptions for 46 yards. Syndric Steptoe caught five passes for 28 yards, while Nic Costa and Ryan Eidson each had three catches for 39 and 45 yards respectively.

For the defense, Means and Antoine Cason each had an interception, while Johnathan Turner and Dominic Patrick each had a fumble recovery.

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