Day 4 Practice Notes & Quotes

Saturday afternoon a small crowd watched on as the University of Cincinnati football team took to the field for their fourth day of spring practices. And while the seven-on-seven and hammer drills provided plenty of excitement, the big draw on today's ticket was the 50-play scrimmage that brought an end to the day.

Senior Dustin Grutza started the scrimmage at quarterback for the Bearcats’ offense.  However, his first drive consisted of just one passing play, a play-action pass intended for Charley Howard in the corner of the end zone.  The throw was on target but the play was broken up by a collection of UC defensive backs.


Grutza finished the day 5-of-6 passing for 51 yards and one touchdown, an 18-yard lob to Marshwan Gilyard.  Gilyard was covered well by defensive back Aaron Webster, but was somehow able to pull the ball down and retain possession.


Junior running back Jacob Ramsey looked more than impressive on Cincinnati’s opening drive.  Breaking tackles, Ramsey finished the drive with 46 yards on five carries.  He would finish the day with those same stats, as John Goebel began to receive a majority of the carries.  Goebel finished the day strong, piling up 63 yards on 15 carries.


All of the quarterbacks vying for the starting job participated in the scrimmage.  Demetrius Jones however was the only one not to attempt a pass.  After a handoff to Goebel for a 1-yard gain, Brian Kelly was unhappy with the time it took Jones to get the offense moving again for the next play.  Kelly pulled the transfer and let junior Tony Pike take the reigns.


While he would not attempt a pass that particular drive, Pike would finish the day responsible for what would be the most impressive drive seen throughout the scrimmage.  On the opening play of the drive, Pike overthrew Howard, his intended target.  That would become his lone incompletion for the drive.  The very next play, a shovel pass to Goebel would be good for 13 yards.  Back-to-back five yard passes to Howard would get Pike into a rhythm, and his next pass attempt landed in the hands of a wide open Dominick Goodman who took it for 18 yards, the longest play of the drive.  After Goebel converted on a key third down Pike and the offense stood at the 12 yard line, now looking destined to score.  They wasted no time as on the very next play Pike threw a laser down the middle of the field to Gilyard who took it into the end zone.


Goodman’s reception and 18 yards would be the only for the senior and Colerain High School alum.


Gilyard made the most of his two catches, taking them for 30 yards and a pair of touchdowns.


Howard led all receivers in catches and yardage, raking up 41 yards on his five receptions.


Pike would end the scrimmage 6-of-7 passing for 61 yards and one touchdown.  He was “sacked” during his first drive, though it came merely in the form of coach Kelly blowing the play dead when it was obvious Pike would have been taken down, rather than with the quarterback on his backside.


Afterwards, Pike had this to say about his TD scoring drive:

“I felt pretty good out there.  I started off on the wrong foot, just misreading the coverage; I needed to get the ball out a little quicker.  After that though I was able to settle down and our line was able to do a great job, Goebel picked up some key first downs for us to keep the drive going.”


By now Bearcat fans know that if Pike is ever going to become the starting quarterback for Cincinnati, now is his chance.


“Tony knows that he’s under the gun so to speak, that he’s got to go out there and make plays,” said Kelly of Pike.  “I thought he did a nice job today.”


Cincinnati’s two red shirt freshman quarterbacks, Zach Collaros and Chazz Anderson, showed signs of their inexperience during the scrimmage.


Collaros finished 2-of-2 for 12 yards, but was “sacked” twice on the day.  He also was unable to control a high snap, yet luckily was able to recover his own fumble.


Anderson had equally of a bad day.  He went 2-of-4 passing for 14 yards, had a pass intercepted by defensive back Udoamaka Nwamu, and was also “sacked” on a scramble.


While Goebel and Ramsey made the most impact of the running backs involved in the scrimmage, freshmen Montez Patterson and Trammell Williams were also able to get some carries in.  Patterson was able to pick up ten yards on four carries, and Williams impressed on his single carry, fighting his way to 11 yards.


Howard and Gilyard may have stolen the show from the remainder of the receiving corps during the scrimmage, but a handful of Bearcats were able to impact the game play.


Grutza got tight end Ben Guidugli involved.  The sophomore was the recipient of two Grutza passes, good for nine yards.


Freshmen wide outs Jared Martin and Tahree McQueen also got involved.  McQueen’s lone catch was good for ten yards, and Martin ended with a pair of catches and eight yards.


Sophomore receiver Aaron Binns pulled in one catch for four yards as well during the scrimmage.


The scrimmage will give Kelly and the rest of the coaching staff plenty to look at over the next couple of days before their next practice Tuesday morning.


“We had a 50-play scrimmage, so now we’ve got great film going into next week where we really can evaluate our players,” said the head coach.  “Now we can really start looking at the individuals and see how they did in a competitive environment.”


Bearcat Insider is sure to be on hand Tuesday morning for the next installment of Bearcat spring ball.


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