Scrimmage Sees a Spreading Of Sorts

The sky opened up and spread its bounty of rain all over the new and improved football field at LaVell Edwards Stadium during Saturday's full-contact scrimmage. Along with the rain, Max Hall did some spreading around of his own, hitting multiple wide receivers with passes during the downpour.

While former BYU Cougar Austin Collie is acclimating himself to a new system, team and quarterback as a wide receiver on the Indianapolis Colts' roster, a younger group of pass-catchers are looking to step up to fill the void. Senior quarterback Max Hall is giving them that opportunity and hit multiple receivers Saturday at LaVell Edwards Stadium.

"I thought the passing game was awesome today," said Hall. "I thought a lot of guys caught a lot of balls. McKay [Jacobson] and Andrew [George] caught the bulk of the balls, but a lot of other guys caught some balls as well. Guys like Luke [Ashworth], J.J. [Di Luigi], Matt Marshall, O'Neill [Chambers], Bryan Kariya and other guys were involved today. I think that is when we are going to be our best is when we can get the ball to many different guys. If I can do that as a quarterback to where it's third down and a defense might be thinking I'm going to McKay, I can go to Matt [and] it's going to be really tough to defend us."

Running back J.J. Di Luigi agrees with Hall's assessment of the ball being spread around during Saturday's performance. Di Luigi played a rather large roll in the run game and found himself on the receiving end of a few passes.

"Overall performance of the offense I feel was pretty good," said Di Luigi. "I felt the offense was able to spread the ball around really well. We had a couple of mistakes here and there and that kind of killed some of the drives we had, but those little things will get worked out over the next couple of weeks. Overall I think we did good."

Most of the mistakes that were made came by way of holding calls or false starts. During a first-team series, the offense was penalized consecutively and moved itself backwards into a rather large hole. Whether this was by design from the coaches to see how the offense would respond or just a bad set of circumstances remains to be seen.

"I think we had too many penalties with some holds and some things," said wide receiver McKay Jacobson. "It made it kind of hard for the offense to move the ball. I do think we did get better today than we were yesterday. I think that is the most important thing, is that we are improving every day and I think we did that today."

Yet despite the big disadvantage the offense placed itself in, the wide receivers and the offense remained composed, played without fear and fought their way like seasoned players to pick up first down after first down.

"The reason why is because these guys worked hard like crazy in the off-season," said Hall regarding the receivers' ability to make plays. "They called me all the time to have me throw them the ball. They called me all the time to come watch film with them and to go over what to do in specific situations. Those guys worked really hard to know what to do to get better. They're still young and do show some young qualities at times, but for the most part I really like where they're at."

"I think most of how far we've gotten over fall camp started over the summer," said Jacobson. "We really worked hard and I think we are seeing some of the success of that. I also think Coach Higgins has done a good job in getting us ready. I think he's done a good job and he's really patient with some of the new guys and helping to get them more up to speed. He's helped us during our film time and really encourages us during our individual play."

Digging themselves out of a self-induced disadvantage was one of the more impressive results of the offense during Saturday's scrimmage. Hall was able to find targets downfield quickly while his young group of receivers continued to calmly make play after play. The results and performance of the offense brought out praises and cheers from Cougar assistant coach Lance Reynolds following a Jacobson touchdown capping off the drive.

"What the fun and the beauty about being a quarterback is you have to find the strengths of each receiver and know what those things are," said Hall. "Then you have to know how those strengths work together within a given play and then utilizing them for the guys and putting them in situations that work best for them. Every guy has different qualities. Some guys are fast, some have better hands, other guys run better routes and some are really good in space. It's just about knowing who can do what and how those things fit together in a given situation, and then making sure they're in the right situation so they can do their best."

"I think that every wide receiver has a general strength that you try to play to," said Jacobson. "I think we're all learning more about those strengths and how they fit in, and the more we continue to play I think we'll all be even more successful than we are now."

Safety Andrew Rich gives his thoughts on Wednesday's scrimmage in the audio interview below.

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