Defense Has Something To Prove

With all the recent glowing reports of the offensive performances thus far in spring practice, the defense took the liberties of the first full-contact scrimmage to show they can play as well.

For the first full contact scrimmage of spring, the defense ruled the day. The offense was visibly frustrated after being the kings of the field for the past week or so.

"Success is always a product of hard work and being in the right places," said senior safety Kellen Fowler. "We know our defensive scheme is good and we've seen that throughout the past season how well our defense can be. It's about our defense not having as much experience as in the past but placing ourselves in the right spots and then having a good attitude about playing."

"It was a little different being able to go out there and hit," said redshirt freshman safety Jordan Pendleton. "We were able to be aggressive out there and had some good stops."

The disposition of the defenders was both intense and energized. Now it was their turn to be the predator, and they took full advantage of the physical dynamics of the scrimmage, getting their own right to rub it in a little bit.

"We have an awesome offense and they're going to do some great things this year," Fowler said. "I think we did really well for our first day of full contact scrimmage, but that does come without us having seen the film yet. We could get in there and say, ‘Wow, we weren't nearly as good as we felt.' It was really nice to have a new group of guys out there - not the same group that went 11-2 and won a bowl game last year - that had a great competitive desire and fire to play like those guys that played last year."

"I think we read the offense well today as a defense," Pendleton said. "I think we made good drops and everyone put themselves in the right positions to make plays. I think that was one of the main things. We all needed to be in the right positions, and for the most part I think we all were."

These Cougar defenders had something to prove and did just that. The offense was not able to hit pay dirt once on Friday. There was a chance that the Cougar offense would score when Max Hall hit Andrew George, who went streaking down the sideline. But despite George having a head start of about 10-to-15 yards, inside linebacker Terrance Hooks outran the safeties and chased George from behind, preventing the score.

"We have coaches that have a very competitive drive and philosophy, so we don't want to lose," Fowler said. "We come out playing against them every single day, and want to have our own brand of success on the field by progressing against this offense. I think we kind of saw that today."

Defensive Highlights

Standing out on the defensive side of the ball, Jordan Pendleton had two big hits from his safety position that wowed onlookers standing on the sidelines.

"Jordan is a good player and looks like Arnold Schwarzenegger with pads out there," said a joking Fowler. "It's nice to have a guy like that back there. We just got to get him with that enforcer attitude so teams will look at him as being a big-time hitter."

"I feel I did alright today," said Pendleton. "We put some new stuff in there today and so there were a few times where I didn't know where I needed to be, so that means more film room now so I can come out next week and be better than I was today."

Meanwhile, Masi Tuitama batted down a pass at the line of scrimmage, and Matt Putnam stretched out J.J. DiLuigi on running play, which allowed cornerback Scott Johnson to come up and make a tackle for a loss.

Grant Nelson made a nice play by shooting through the line of scrimmage to tackle a running back for a loss of two yards.

Defensive end Brett Denney was able to beat his man to tackle the running back for a loss.

One of the standout players during the scrimmage was the previously mentioned Scott Johnson, a walk-on junior cornerback from Timpview High School. Johnson broke on a route and made an interception. He then sprinted down the sidelines and bowled over a would-be tackler.

Total Blue Sports caught up with Johnson to get his thoughts on Friday's performance.

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