The battle ground was set as the Bearcats defense and offense took to the field at Camp Higher Ground for a hard fought scrimmage. With coaches looking for players to take charge and earn jobs, players knew the video cameras were on them and their performances could earn themselves a starting role. Who excelled? Who had a hard day? We have all the inside info outside of the stats.
While it's easy to look at stats and say one player has moved ahead of another, stats don't tell the whole story. While Tim excels in doing these reports, I'll give it the old college try and take my shot.
The Chicago Bears had a scout on had for today's practice.
While Dustin Grutza did throw 3 interceptions, only 2 of them were from making a mental mistake. The other was in the end zone when DeAngelo Smith made a great play. Two were as Grutza was forced outside of the pocket and tried to make something out of nothing instead of tossing the ball out of bounds. I feel from watching he wouldn't have made the throw in a real game and was looking to make a play and set himself apart from the others. Still, quarterback coach Dave Warner felt Grutza enjoyed a great day except for those two throws. While he's not been named the starter at this point in camp, I fully expect Dustin to earn the starting job with his performances and knowledge of the offense. Look for Dustin to hook up with Earnest Jackson a lot this season.
Nick Davila also had a good day but still looks to be the backup at this time with Tony Pike having a very good camp and Craig Carey showing signs of the potential he has. One of the biggest plays for Davila came when he hit Goodman who then broke three tackles for a big gain. Then he hit Connor Barwin in the flat and watched as Barwin ran over Haruki Nakamura for a TD.
On one play Grutza handed off to Dominick Goodman as he came in reverse
and Goodman hit
While Greg Moore and Butler Benton enjoyed great days, I still liked what Bradley Glatthaar does on the field and still feel he's the most consistent of the group. The Bearcats are loaded at this position with the three and true freshman Jacob Ramsey and John Goebel are legit players who could play this year if needed. Goebel broke a good run today by breaking a couple of tackles inside and then hitting outside and lowering his shoulder at the end of the run.
Mike Daniels also is showing he's looking to have a great senior season. While it looked as if Mike had fumbled on an important carry today, I later learned from the offensive staff is was more of the quarterbacks fault on the exchange and not Mike's. Don't be surprised to see Daniels with more carries this year then in his whole career. Mike had a great run up the gut for a touchdown.
At the fullback spot the Bearcats will see the return of Doug Jones this week at a brief stint as an offensive lineman.
Jamar Howard also showed his skills today until going out at the midway point after having a defender fall hard on him. I don't feel he'll be out more then a few days if any at all, but he didn't return for practice.
While not talked about much, Kurt Shoemaker had a nice catch today and showed he could play a role at some point from the receiver spot.
Jared Martin also had a big catch today that put the offense in scoring position at the 4 yard line.
Brent Celek and Connor Barwin each had good days and made several plays. Barwin enjoyed scoring his touchdown by bowling over Haruki Nakamura for the score and Celek's score helped the Bearcats offense earn the victory.
The day started with Duenas at center, Bujnoch at right tackle, Frank Straub and Jeff Reinstatler at guards and Jeremy Bolton at right tackle. But that look changed today as Jeff Linkenbach looks to have won the starting job at left tackle. While camp still has several days to go and the chance of him losing the job is always a possibility, Linkenbach has enjoyed one of the best if not the best camp out of all the Bearcats.
I also liked what I saw from Digger Bujnoch today. It's my opinion you can see a major
shakeup along the line when Chris Flores returns to practice (Yellow
Jersey). Look for
For the most part the offensive line showed some power during running plays and put forth the extra effort needed to battle in the Big East. Early they helped Butler Benton and Marcus Waugh have big runs for first downs.
While the defense lost the battle, don't tell that to Coach Narduzzi who feels his squad would have won if things were counted a little different. (Watch Video Soon for more). But overall the defense saw it's ups and downs today. Early it looked as if the defense was going to enjoy a day much like the spring game. But by the midway point the troops looked to throw things on cruise control and allowed the offense to battle back. Once this happened they returned to their early effort and made up the 20 points they had fallen behind by.
One thing the defensive staff likes to do is bring in a faster group of defenders in third down areas. This gives the defense much more speed over the already fast defense they show.
Cedric Tolbert had a good day stat wise with a fumble recovery.
The first team defense as a whole showed it's strength several times during the day stopping the offense when it needed a stop.
Jason Whitehead had a fumble recovery today stopping the offense from scoring.
Evan Sparks had an interception of Dustin Grutza.
Nakamura blocked an extra point off the edge after giving up a touchdown to Barwin who ran him over.
Freddie Lenix would have recorded a sack but instead the play wasn't whistled dead and the QB hit for a positive gain.
Defense showed it's might on a goal line stand stopping the offense from scoring and seeing Brandon Yingling miss from about 30 yards out.
Aaron Webster had a pass knockdown today of a Davila pass.
The defense got upset when late they were called for pass interference when in a regular game it would have been a sack.
Mike Mickens could have won the game for the defense but dropped a pass right into his hands. Coach Barnett yelled at Mickens and told him he could have been a game changer.
The defense came back from about 20 down to tie the game at 54-54 with a defensive stop.
The defense gave up a Grutza to Celek goal line pass to lose the contest 60 – 59.