Eventually, the two first teams lined up against each other for a series. In between the series' the team would break up into positions or units and work on drills, or sometimes on special teams. It was capped off by a few series where quarterbacks Patrick Devenny and Mack Brown took turns leading the offense. Senior James Cox did not participate (thumb), but is expected back at full strength after spring break.
The first series had Bernard Jackson at quarterback, with Byron Ellis lined up behind him at tailback going against a group of first-team defenders. Included in the defense were corners Gardner McKay and Terry Washington, and safeties Lorenzo Sims and Tyrone Henderson.
Defensive end Alonzo Barrett set the early tone by beating his man and sacking Jackson before the quarterback could even set up in the pocket on the second play. Jackson made the defense pay on the next play, scrambling for roughly 33 yards.
The junior quarterback struggled all afternoon when he tried to stay in the pocket. Mostly, he tucked and ran as the pocket quickly collapsed. He ended the scrimmage completing 2-of-3 passes for 47 yards and one interception; he also netted 39 yards on five rushes.
Asked if quarterbacks coach Mark Helfrich had given him the green light to run, Jackson said, "I wouldn't see why I should pass it up. I wouldn't see why I would pass up the opportunity (to tuck and run). I hope he gives me the green light."
Helfrich said after the practice that both Jackson and Brian White pulled the ball down on occasion when they should have made pass plays. But he added, "B-Jack made some plays with his feet and definitely gives us a dimension the other guys don't have."
White directed an offense that usually included Hugh Charles in the backfield, and Dusty Sprague, Stephone Robinson and Patrick Williams as wide outs. Center Mark Fenton, guards Jeremy Hauck and Brian Daniels joined tackles Paul Backowski and Edwin Harrison.
White made some good passes. On one, he avoided a hard rush and found Williams wide open 30 yards down the field. Williams caught the ball and scampered into the end zone.
"I hit my seven-step drop. When I turned around, I saw a (defender) in my face. I took a side step and saw (Williams) sitting out there wide open," White said. "I knew I was getting pressure from up front so I tried to get the ball away as soon as possible."
Helfrich liked White's move.
"Brian White did a nice job of keeping his eyes up," Helfrich said. "As a young QB, that's not a natural thing to keep your eyes up when you're scrambling around in the pocket. He did that and made the play."
White said he emphasized working on his speed and quickness during the offseason.
"Anytime the pocket breaks down you've got to be able to make plays," he said.
White looked sharpest of the quarterbacks Thursday. He ended the scrimmage 4-of-10 passes for 119 yards and a touchdown, the 71-yarder to Williams.
"I really don't like commenting too much on guys in scrimmages because you don't see everything, but they both did good things, and both pulled the ball down when they should have made (pass) plays," Helfrich said.
Overall, it seemed like the Buffs worked more on passing than running.
"Today was definitely infancy stages (of the passing game)," Helfrich said. "But that's going to be something we're going to try to do – we'll spread the field vertically and horizontally and try to make chunks."
Here are some other notes and observations:
• There were roughly 200 people watching the scrimmage. Fortunately, the weather had warmed up, as temperatures hovered in the 30s to low-40s.
• On White's first drive, the offense went three and out. A 60-yard Mason Crosby field goal attempt was blocked. White then led the Buffs on a scoring drive, in which he had nice passes to Tyson DeVree and Hugh Charles. Charles finished off the drive with a toucdown run from inside the 5.
• Crosby had the distance on a 67-yard field goal attempt that went a little wide.
• The senior kicker had one of the best plays of the scrimmage. On a PAT, the snap went high. Crosby picked up the ball, rolled right and threw a pass to Paul Creighton for the conversion.
• Longsnapper Justin Adams was struggling on his punt snaps. Most sailed over the punters' heads. The ball comes off Crosby's foot the strongest of the punters. Walk-on Dan Augustino had the longest punt, just over 45 yards.
• Terrence Wheatley had two interceptions — one of Jackson and one off of Brown. He ran one to the house.
• Kevin Moyd had the longest run of the day. Working late in the scrimmge, Moyd made a nice inside cut, then hit daylight on the outside and ran for 38 yards.
• Junior linebacker Jordon Dizon was all over the field, finishing with six tackles (four solo), one-and-a-half sacks, a quarterback hurry and a fumble recovery. Junior defensive end Alonzo Barrett added three tackles and two sacks, and safety Tyrone Henderson pitched in four tackles.