Scrimmage Report: Sack Fest

Last Friday saw the defense executing at a good level, yet with the level of intensity lacking, which led to an unsatisfactory performance on their end. As they made their way to LaVell Edwards Stadium they were given a new charge to raise their level of intensity and their level of play as a whole. So did they respond?

"We responded," answered defensive lineman Jan Jorgensen in the affirmative. "We came out fired up and it showed. We played great today and we need to keep on bringing that same fire and intensity we brought today every day."

The defensive squad left LES last Friday unsatisfied with their play and it was readily noted by the coaches. For that reason the team went back Tuesday to see how they responded.

"Coach Mendenhall said we weren't physical enough on Friday and he was exactly right," said Jorgensen. "For that reason we were back out here today. It was a challenge and when you're challenged you need to respond if you have any pride."

In any given practice, the level of intensity and physicality is dictated by the defense in most cases. When a practice isn't satisfactory in regards to being physical or intense enough it's usually incumbent upon the defense to raise both aspects.

"When we hear that we need to be more physical as a team we know that it's on us," said Jorgensen. "It's up to the defense to bring the physical play and I think we took it as more of a challenge than the offense did."

First Set

Max Hall got the first set of reps, which was a brief set due to a fumbled exchange which Shawn Doman recovered on the third play. Hall hit Michael Reed for 7 yards to go 1-2 for 7 yards during the set. During the set the defense was flagged twice for offsides penalties.

"We set the tone early and maybe we came out a bit too amped up, but we settled down and dominated," said Jorgensen. "We wanted to come out and put it right at them and we did that. We had something to prove and we proved that."

Second Set

Cade Cooper got the next set with the 2s and his only pass was incomplete. Wayne Latu rushed the ball two times for just two yards. Defensive highlights included a nice open field tackle by safety Kellen Fowler, and Sean Sullivan and Kelly Bills combining to drop Latu for a 2-yard loss.

Third Set

Cooper went back on the field to lead the first-teamers on offense against the 1s on defense. Cooper went 2-2 on the set for 11 yards. The set was held back due to a personal foul penalty on the offense. Corby Hodgkiss kept the offense from continuing the set as he went up to hit Reed short of the first down on a completed screen pass on third down.

Fourth Set

Hall's second set was held to one play as he threw an interception on the very first play. Safety David Tafuna picked off the pass on an attempted out-pattern.

Fifth Set

Cooper then got another set with the 2s and the running backs led out with 5 straight runs. David Folsom had 11 yards on 4 carries while Zed Mendenhall gained 2 yards on his only carry. Cooper's pass on third down fell incomplete as Tafuna laid a nice hit on Dennis Pitta downfield to dislodge the football.

Sixth Set

Hall then saw the next set and went 1-2 for just 3 yards on a completion to Latu, who was immediately met by linebacker Chris Bolden, holding him to the short gain. Bryan Kehl sacked Hall on the next play, while cornerback Brandon Howard ended the set by knocking down an attempted pass to Bryce Mahuika.

Seventh Set

Hall then got another set of reps and went 2-2 for 22 yards. Three sacks were recorded during the set by Sullivan, Bills and Matt Putnam to hold the offense back.

Eighth Set

Cooper then got a set of reps and went 1-1 for 7 yards. Jorgensen recorded a sack during the set.

Ninth Set

Cooper's next set went nowhere as well, as the sack fest continued with Brett Denney beating a double-team to get into the backfield. Cooper went 2-2 for 23 yards during the set, hitting Pitta up field for 20 yards. Terrance Hooks and Fowler both met Folsom in the backfield for losses on both of his run attempts.

Tenth Set

Hall finally got the offense to start moving on the tenth attempt. Hall went 6-8 on the set for 30 yards. His first pass was knocked down by Kayle Buchanan on a nice play. Other defensive highlights included Hodgkiss go up to drop tight end Vic So'oto in the backfield for a 4-yard loss on an attempted screen. Romney Fuga ended the set by knocking down a Hall pass as he was about to sack him.

Hall then got another set and moved the ball relatively well, going 5-9 for 51 yards. Highlights included Bills hurrying Hall to force an incompletion, as well as linebacker Franco Improta preventing a touchdown by knocking down an attempted pass to Pitta in the end zone. Mitch Payne booted-through a 29-yard field goal for the first score of the scrimmage.

Eleventh Set

Cooper then moved the ball well on the final set of the day. He went 4-7 for 55 yards on the drive, which was capped off by a 35-yard field goal from Payne.

Holding the offense out of the end zone was very much the intent of the defense, and they were very pleased with their overall play. Indeed, it was a scrimmage ruled by the defensive unit.

Hear Kelly Poppinga talk about the scrimmage:


-Recruit Jerry Bruner committed to sign a letter of intent with BYU before the scrimmage. Total Blue Sports will follow up with Bruner once he returns home from his unofficial visit.

-A lot of the defensive success came with both Ray Feinga and Travis Bright being held out of the scrimmage.

"Those guys are studs and the anchor of our offensive line," said Jorgensen. "They obviously struggled a bit with those guys out. We'll see how we do when they come back."

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