Scrimmage Report

Despite the rain the team made its way out to LaVell Edwards Stadium to go against each other on the new turf. It was the defense that shined in keeping the offense out of the end zone until the last series of the scrimmage. Both the offense and defense had their moments during Saturday's outing at LES.

"Overall I liked how we competed on both sides," observed quarterback Max Hall. "There are obviously tons of stuff we need to work on and we now know better what those things are. We'd obviously like to get it into the end zone more and cut down on the penalties as an offense while the defense has their stuff."

7-on-7s

The team started out the scrimmage with a set of 7-on-7s, with each quarterback getting a set before the scrimmage began. Max Hall went 2-of-4 for 33 yards during his set with passes completed to McKay Jacobson and Dennis Pitta.

Brenden Gaskins then led the second-team offense to a touchdown against the second-team defense. Gaskins went 4-of-5 during his set for 80 yards. Tight end Mike Muehlmann shined during the set with catches for 47 and 15 yards before Peni Maka'afi scored from 10 yards out, capping what was a very successful series of reps.

Riley Nelson then took the threes on offense against the threes on defense and saw the same results, hitting Matthew Edwards in the end zone from six yards out. Nelson went 7-of-8 for 80 yards during his set with most of his passes completed to Edwards.

First Set

During 11-on-11s Max Hall took the first-team offense straight down the field during his first set, 7-of-8 for 73 yards. Hall spread the ball around well during his first set, hitting both J.J. Di Luigi and McKay Jacobson with two passes while completing other throws to Dennis Pitta, O'Neill Chambers and Andrew George.

"We spread it around really well today and that is one of the things we did best," commented George. "When we do that we're at our best and I think Max did a great job of that today."

Defensive highlights during the set included impressive closing hits out of the backfield when Jordan Pendleton limited Di Luigi to a very short gain on a pass, and again when Craig Bills filled the hole for a minimal gain on a running play. Tevita Hola showed well, disrupting another run up the middle for no gain.

"I love seeing these new guys step up. That's been the best part of me so far this fall," said safety Scott Johnson. "The new guys are doing the work themselves and making sure we help them do the work needed to learn the system and it's paying off. Guys like Craig Bills and Jray Galea'i are doing outstanding and they're really going to help us. You saw that today."

Second Set

Brenden Gaskins then took the field for the second set, which was ended abruptly after just three plays thanks to a bad snap. Brian Logan had the standout play during the set, closing in very nicely on an out-pattern to force an incompletion.

Third Set

The first-team offense didn't see much more success during the third set, as the defense held them to another three-and-out. The set ended with a sack by Russell Tialavea that resulted in a safety. Another sack was recorded by Grant Nelson, and Logan made another nice play when he tackled Di Luigi behind the line of scrimmage for a loss after a pass to the flat. George had the one good offensive play, hauling in a 14-yard pass.

"Guy are communicating real well," observed safety Andrew Rich. "That was probably the thing I liked best out there. We need to hit harder and make plays after we're in the right spots, but that will come. As long as we keep communicating the other things will come, so we'll build from there."

Offense Stalls

During the next two sets the defense held the offense in check as the team focused on running-game execution. At times the offensive line would get a good push, but illegal procedure penalties and missed blocks marred a lot of their production.

"The desire is there and that's what it going to win out," said offensive guard Terence Brown. "We obviously have a lot to work on and it's tough with Jason [Speredon] and Matt [Reynolds] out, but I feel we did some things very well. We need to get a better push and we certainly need to work on our snap count and working together, but we'll get there."

Fifth Set

In what proved to be one of the more bizarre sets I've ever seen in a scrimmage, the offense finally put the ball into the end zone after an avalanche of illegal procedure and offsides penalties that led to the offense running about 10 plays from between the 30-yard line and the goal line.

Andrew George got the set rolling by hauling in a 40-yard pass from Hall before following it up with another 10-yard catch. "I did well and I was able to catch some passes," said George. "But for me, I don't judge my performance from catches. If I'm there and it's thrown to me, then that's great, but blocking and how I contribute in all aspects of the game is how I judge myself. I feel I did well in my individual assignments."

Hall finally got the offense into the end zone by hitting Jacobson from nine yards out after hitting him with a 6-yard completion just prior. Di Luigi contributed with two catches of his own and Matt Marshall added another two receptions to the series of reps.

"We stayed with it, we managed it and we finally got it into the end zone," said Hall. "All in all it wasn't perfect, but I feel we had a good day. For me, I need to get rid of the ball a little quicker to help out our new guys on the OL and I need to continue spreading it around better. I feel that today for a first scrimmage we did okay, but we'll certainly look to do better. We have stuff to work on and we'll work on that stuff now that we have a better picture of where we're at as an offense."


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