Scrimmage Report: Offense Shines

Things are coming together for the Cougar offense as they got a lot crisper the second time out at LaVell Edwards Stadium this spring. Meanwhile, the defense struggled in the second official scrimmage of the spring practice session.

"I thought we did real well today," said quarterback Max Hall. "We moved the ball real well. We got two touchdowns and the offensive line really stepped up. The run checks and picking up the blitzes really got better today compared to last week."

For the defense they took note of the improved play on the offense and expressed excitement for the other half of the football team who will help them win games this coming season.

"It was a really good day execution-wise for the offense," said Bryan Kehl. "Of course, our execution was down which allowed them some things, but hey, they're our teammates and you always want to see your teammates do well, so their performance today was a very good thing for the team."

First Set

The offense didn't come out all that great as Cade Cooper took the first set of reps with the first-teamers and went 1-3 for just three yards on the drive. The completion came on a pass to Michael Reed.

"Things didn't start all that well today," said Cade Cooper. "It took us a while to get going, but we did some good things later on, but we definitely want to get out to a better start coming out."

Second Set

Max Hall then took the field with the second-teamers against the second-team defense and promptly marched the team 80 yards for a touchdown on an impressive 13-play drive. Hall went 7-8 for 67 yards and a touchdown on the drive. The touchdown came on a 14 yard pass to Dennis Pitta.

"It's coming together," said Hall. "The tight ends are stepping up and I'm looking for them more. I'd be stupid not to. We have great tight ends on this team."

Offensive highlights on the drive:

-Hall completed a 9-yard pass to David Foote on third-down to continue the drive.

-Late in the drive Hall completed a 14-yard out pattern to Tyler Kozlowski on a pass that had zero margin for error as he slung it out to him.

-Hall then hit Pitta for the aforementioned touchdown on a crossing route.

Defensive highlights:

-Safety Kellen Fowler hit Foote in the backfield for a three-yard loss on the very first play. The play was enabled by defensive lineman Sean Sullivan who got great penetration up field.

-Dan Van Sweden had a stop in the backfield, holding a running play to no yards, while Russell Tialavea busted through the line to have a very similar play later during the drive.

-Hall's only incompletion was forced by defensive lineman Ian Dulan, who hit Hall as he released the pass.

Third Set

Hall then got another set with the first-teamers this time around. The drive was held short of the end zone as Hall went 2-4 for 20 yards. Running Back Wayne Latu got a lot of work on the drive, running the ball 4 times for 11 yards.

Hall had what was probably his easiest pass of the day fall incomplete as he overthrew a wide-open Foote on a wheel route that would have gone easily for a touchdown. Hall mentioned that he kicked himself several times in the shin for missing on that pass.

Fourth Set

Cooper then took the field with the second-teamers and saw a lot more success, going 3-3 for 36 yards, but the offense was again held short of the end zone. The drive ended at the 29 yard line where Mitch Payne capped it off with a very impressive 46-yard field goal.

"I did alright at times, but I need to be more consistent," said Cooper regarding his play. "We just need more consistency and that will come."

Fifth Set

Cooper then got a set with the 1s and went 3-4 for 21 yards. Cooper hit Reed with a very impressive 12 yard strike on an out pattern, while cornerback Brandon Howard made sure it didn't happen again as he knocked the ball out of Reed's hands on another out attempt on third down to end the drive.

Sixth Set

The sixth set was very uneventful as Brendan Gaskins handed the ball off three straight times for a loss of 4 yards. The last one was a fumbled exchange which the offense fell on.

Seventh Set

Hall got a short field to work with as he went with the 1s on offense, who scored after just three plays from 41 yards out. Hall went 2-2 for 35 yards on the drive, including hitting Vic So'oto over the middle for a touchdown from 19 yards out.

Listen to Travis Bright talk about the scrimmage:

Eighth, Ninth and Tenth Sets

The next two sets were both were uneventful for the offense, as Hall went 1-2 for just one yard on the eighth set, while Cooper threw three straight incompletions during the ninth set of reps. Kurt McEwen finished out, going 2-6 for just 13 yards on the final set of reps of the day.

Listen to Jan Jorgensen talk about the scrimmage:

Notes

-Mitch Payne had a very productive day, recording punts of 51, 49, 52, 34, 46 and 44 yards. Payne had very good height on all but one of the punts.

-Cougar Commit Austin Holt was in attendance with his family, while Eathyn Manumaleuna, who signed a letter of intent this past February, was also there to watch.

-Offensive lineman Garrett Reden finally saw the field for contact drills and saw work at left tackle with the 1s and at center with the 2s.


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