Chalk one up for the offense.
Head coach Tommy Bowden has often talked about his offense having the upper hand throughout the first half of spring practice.
As the first major scrimmage came to a close Saturday afternoon in Death Valley, you could see why.
"We're not anywhere we need to be on either side," said Bowden after the Tigers' first scrimmage. "But we are a little farther ahead on offense. Again, I rather have that flip-flopped. I'd rather us go out there and score about twice, but that's not happening."
The first team offense moved the ball with regularity from the opening snap, when Chansi Stuckey made a diving reception, drawing a loud cheer from fans in attendance.
It would be the first of several big plays from the converted quarterback who is now becoming one of the go-to wide receivers on the team.
He also turned short completion into a 30-yard scamper, avoiding three potential tacklers and spinning off another one to provide one of the more exciting plays of the afternoon.
"Chansi is probably our big play guy right now," said Charlie Whitehurst, who completed 9-of-14 passes for 108 yards, including a touchdown to Kelvin Grant. "He made some big catches today."
Tommy Bowden mentioned several players that stood out to him after the scrimmage, but overall, he seemed to show more concern about the lack of big plays from his defense.
"I thought Charlie threw the ball really well, I thought Chansi Stuckey made some plays," said Bowden. "I thought the backs ran well, but the biggest thing is we had one turnover by Tavaghn Monts. We didn't create turnovers and then we gave up some scores in the redzone."
Kelvin Grant also continued to his strong play of late.
"He made some good plays, he's playing without the ball now," said Bowden. "The last three or four days, he's made big plays for us during every scrimmage in the red zone. He likes to have the ball in his hands and see his name in the paper and on TV."
Grant ended the day with 5 receptions for 52 yards and a touchdown.
"He looks like he could be the go-to guy, but I don't know," said Whitehurst. "We really won't find that out until mid-September, but Kelvin is definitely coming along."
Tavaghn Monts had the biggest play of the day defensively, intercepting C.J. Gaddis on his first pass attempt of the afternoon.
Gaddis would later score on a scramble from about 30-yards out.
Vontrell Jamison was the only player who suffered an injury Saturday. Jamison had a compound fracture in his finger and had to come out. Bowden said after practice that he hopes to have him back in action on Monday.
The Tigers will return to the practice fields on Monday to start the second half of spring practice.
* Charlie Whitehurst seemed confident that the first team offense had the advantage today. "I wouldn't say we were moving the ball at will," said Whitehurst. "But we were really only stopping ourselves with penalties."
* Kickers Stephen Furr, Jad Dean, and Cole Chason all lined up to attempt field goals at the end of the scrimmage with the entire team surrounding them, trying to break their concentration by yelling, jumping up and down, and just about anything else you can think of.
Furr and Chason connected on their attempts, Dean missed his. The field goals were being tried from 42-yards out.
Furr also connected on a 44-yarder during the scrimmage itself. Dean missed his attempt from the same distance.
* Bowden also singled out the play of Robert Reese, who filled in for Tye Hill today. Hill and Airese Currie missed the scrimmage for a track and field meet.
"I thought he did good, and we need him to," said Bowden. "He made some plays around the goaline for us."
Stay tuned to CUTigers.com for video highlights and a special Saturday scrimmage photo gallery later this afternoon!
Offense Looks Strong
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