Saturday's scrimmage saw the offense come out

Saturday's scrimmage at LaVell Edwards Stadium saw the offense get out of the gate very quickly by scoring a touchdown on their first drive, while the defense played catch-up thereafter. After the scrimmage came to a close, both units felt they did a lot of good things and are feeling ready for the start of the season.

"We're ready to go," said Max Hall. "We're not perfect right now, obviously, but we're doing what we need to do and I think we'll be ready for our first game against Northern Iowa."

After what they considered to be some underwhelming play during stretches of practice this past week, the first series saw the offense come out humming. Hall promptly took the offense 80 yards on 5-of-5 passing for 63 yards and a touchdown to O'Neill Chambers from five yards out.

"You always want to come out strong and we did that today," said center Dallas Reynolds. "We've worked on some things and we were clicking coming out. We did a good job blocking and we know that when we give Max time that he's going to make a play."

The big plays on the first drive included Hall hitting Luke Ashworth with a 14-yard pass, J.J. DiLuigi sprinting outside the containment for a 15-yard run and then taking a Hall pass 28 yards up the field, and Andrew George catching a 10-yard pass before Chambers capped off the drive with his touchdown catch.

"The credit goes to our offensive line," said Hall. "Those guys are making it easy for us. They're really getting the job done and our timing, my timing with the new receivers, is getting better with every practice."

The next series saw the defense hold the offense to a three-and-out with Brenden Gaskins at the helm. Coleby Clawson had the defensive play of the series when he tackled Bryan Kariya in the backfield for a 1-yard loss.

The Cougar first-team defense responded well during the next series, forcing the offense to punt after Hall completed two of his three passes for 17 yards. Fui Vakapuna had a nice run of nine yards during the series, while linebacker Shawn Doman ended it with a sack on third down.

The defense held again as Kurt McEuen took the field. McEuen completed all four of his passes for 34 yards during his first series of reps. Jadon Wagner recorded a sack during the set, and Jeff Bell made a tackle for a loss on a running play.

Hall's next series started in bad shape with a fumbled snap. DiLuigi then had an 8-yard run before the drive ended with Cameron Comer making a nice break on the ball to knock down a pass.

"We started to get it going after the first drive," noted cornerback Scott Johnson. "We're getting the small things done better, we're getting better leverage and we responded well to that first drive. Of course we can't do that and need to start off better, but the important thing today is that we responded and held them out of the end zone except for those two drives where they got in there."

Gaskins then took the offense and the defense held them to a three-and-out. Jefferson Court knocked down a pass, while Kyle Luekenga tackled Kariya for a loss, effectively ending that series.

Hall then got the offense going, completing three of his four passes for 41 yards and a touchdown. Hall completed passes to Kaneakua Friel, Vakapuna and George on the drive before Wayne Latu ran it into the end zone from five yards out.

Scrimmage Notes

-Steven Covey saw the field in a blue jersey and he was fair game for the defense. Covey ran an option-oriented offense, which head coach Bronco Mendenhall noted they might use during certain situations in games this season.

-Bernard Afutiti showed very well during one offensive set, recording a sack and then a pass knockdown as he dropped back into zone coverage.

-Dan Van Sweden and Steven Thomas both went down with injuries during Saturday's scrimmage and we've yet to learn the nature of their respective ailments.

-C.J. Santiago had a good day punting the football. By my math Santiago averaged 47 yards on his six punts and getting good hang time on all of them.

-Mitch Payne connected on a 55-yard field goal attempt prior to the scrimmage.

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