From the start of Saturday's long scrimmage you could tell the newly revamped Cincinnati defense had improvement. During the first series the first-team defense had no problem stopping the Bearcats powerful first-team offense keeping Gunner Kiel hitting underneath receivers and players making key stops behind the line of scrimmage.
Getting the first-team reps along the Bearcats offensive line were Parker Ehinger at left tackle, Ryan Leahy at left guard, Deyshawn Bond at center, DeLonte Murray at right guard and Justin Murray at right tackle. They struggled early but got it together as the scrimmage went along and when they did the offense did come alive and was able to put points on the board.
Why did the offensive has some struggles? The Bearcats front four came to play as Silverberry Mouhon, Cortez Broughton, Alex Pace and Marquise Copeland caused some fits for the offensive line allowing linebackers to get in positions to make plays.
Bedford (Ohio) freshman defensive end Marquise Copeland is going to be a steal from what we've seen early in camp and during Saturday's scrimmage. While he'll make a mistake or two, fans should expect big things out of Copeland early in his career.
From the looks of things the light has gone on in the ability of running back Tion Green. Many have felt Green has the talent to be a major running back and we've seen it some in the past only to see him take steps backwards. Saturday was another of those days you get excited as we watched Green run hard, make long runs and score touchdowns. Can it continue? That will be a question only Green can answer going forward because there is talent in the Bearcats backfield.
Mike Boone should not have had to play last season. He was solid a year ago and helped the Bearcats in a major way. However, the version of Boone we're seeing now is one of a player who has grown physically and is ready to really play at the college level. We expect big things out of Boone this season as he's got all the tools.
Cincinnati had four players taken in the NFL Draft in 2012 and one in the 2013 draft. So it's been a dry spell for the Bearcats. That is likely to end in the 2016 NFL Draft and scouts have been flocking to see the Bearcats in practice. Saturday we saw the Bears, Bills, Texans, Vikings, Redskins and Cowboys all taking in practice and paying attention to several Bearcats.
Tommy Tuberville has talked about having the depth that gives him four teams on offense and defense. What he's not saying too much about is that his depth has a lot of talent coming up the ranks as this is one of the more impressive group of young players we've seen in Cincinnati for some time.