Johnson, offense shine in scrimmage

The Wildcats were back in action on Saturday with their second scrimmage of the spring. A year ago at this time the defense was dominant, this time out the scrimmage was fairly balanced.

Last weekend the Wildcats scrimmaged but kept the contact to a minimum. This time out all but the quarterbacks were fair game and the team was ready to go at it.

The best hit of the day came from Dominic Patrick who delivered a thunderous shot to Mike Bell. Although the entire stadium could hear the blow, Bell was stopped, but did not immediately go down.

Last year's first full contact scrimmage saw the defense return two interceptions for scores and force five fumbles. This time out the Wildcat offense scored a pair of touchdowns and did not commit a single turnover.

Once again, Adam Austin took all of the snaps and had a solid outing. The junior-to-be was 21-35 for 326 yards and one score. Austin just makes plays. He doesn't always throw the prettiest ball but he seems to find a way to get the ball to his receivers. The biggest criticism of Austin may be the fact that when he's off, he's way off.

Austin has at least earned the right to challenge Richard Kovalcheck for the starting job in the fall. It is still Kovalcheck's job, but the coaches feel a lot more confident about Austin's ability to lead the team if something happens to Kovalcheck.

The story of the day was sophomore receiver Anthony Johnson. Johnson has had trouble hanging onto the ball, but he was big on Saturday. Johnson had eight catches for 101 yards and the offense's first score.

Johnson hauled in an Austin 29-yard lob at the two-yard line, where he was bumped out of bounds. That play was set up by a 35-yard run that showcased his speed and power. Henry took the handoff and had two Wildcat defenders in his face before he could even consider where to find his hole. Henry used a stiff arm to separate himself from defensive end Jason Parker, then used a stutter step to avoid the second defender. He then used a burst of speed to get to the outside.

After Johnson's catch the offense went to Henry on consecutive plays. Last year Henry was the Wildcats' most reliable runner inside the red zone, but he could not get into the endzone. On first down he lost a yard. Second down saw him get a small gain, but it left the Cats' with a decision to make. Mike Canales decided to go back to Johnson and the move paid off. Austin tossed a pass into the corner of the endzone and Johnson, despite a firm shove by the defensive back, caught the pass and dragged both feet in bounds for the touchdown.

Henry was denied once, but would crack the endzone a few possessions later. Henry was the workhorse back on the drive. Syndric Steptoe got things started when he found a seam in the zone and a perfectly threaded Austin pass led to a 55-yard gain. Henry got the next four carries. He picked up gains of seven, three and four before taking an inside handoff for 12 yards and the second and final touchdown.

Mike Stoops was not pleased with the running game, but Henry showed why he was the talk of camp. He had 78 yards on 14 carries. Mike Bell rushed eight times for 45 yards.

The receiving crew was impressive. Johnson stole the show, but he wasn't the only wideout with a good game. Steptoe had two catches for 90 yards. B.J. Vickers continued to shine with four catches for 56 yards, while Mike Jefferson had 54 yards on just two catches.


*A number of Wildcats were held out of practice. In addition to the normal crop of injured players, Marcus Hollingsworth also sat out.

*Garon McHone continues to get a lot of work at long snapper.

*At the start of practice Nick Folk and Jason Bondzio teamed to make 4-of-6 field goal. Folk made kicks of 35, 49 and 49, while missing from 35. Bondzio was 1-2 from 40.

Scrimmage Statistics:

Adam Austin 21-35-0-326, 1 TD.

Chris Henry 14-78, 1 TD; Mike Bell 8-45; Adam Austin 4-21; Gilbert Harris 10-14.

Anthony Johnson 8-101, 1 TD; Syndric Steptoe 2-90; B.J. Vickers 4-56; Mike Jefferson 3-54; Brandyn McCall 2-17; Aaron Butler 1-11; Ryan Eidson 1-7; Mike Bell 1-(-2).

Nicholas Folk (1-3) 42, 31, 52
Jason Bondzio (2-3) 40, 42, 45
PUNTS: Danny Baugher 40, 49, 47, 41

Offense 5
Defense 4

Brandon Lopez - 7; Antonie Cason - 4; Andrew Ford - 4; Marcus Smith - 4; Ronnie Palmer - 4; Jason Parker - 4; Randy Sims - 3; Akin Akinniyi - 3; Wilrey Fontenot - 3; Dominic Patrick - 3; Dramayne McElroy - 2; Michael Klyce - 2; Dane Krogstad - 2; Jimmy Caldwell - 1; Copeland Bryan - 1; Michael Beach - 1; Johnathan Turner - 1; Lionel Dotson - 1; Bryon Smith - 1; Chris Wilson - 1; Lawrence Ball - 1; Yaniv Barnett - 1; James Alford – 1.

SACKS (8):
Copeland Bryan - 3; Lionel Dotson - 2; Marcus Smith - 1; Yaniv Barnett – 1; Jason Parker – 1.

TFL (2):
Copeland Bryan - 1; Ronnie Palmer – 1.

PBU (3):
Dane Krogstad - 2; Ronnie Palmer - 1.

INT (0)

Chris Henry 13-yard TD run; Anthony Johnson 2-yard TD catch.

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