Scrimmage Analysis

With the completion of the Cardinals first scrimmage of the spring practice session, ITV's Steve Richey takes a look at what appears to be a developing first team.

What a great day for football. The sun was shining, the wind was blowing and the players were hitting!!! Yes, the first scrimmage of the spring.

For those who hated that we got so many personal fouls called and taunting other teams, even if we were losing, you can put all that behind you. One play sums up the feelings of the new coaching staff. It was a great pass by Justin Rascati to J.R. Russell, and JR decided to taunt a little. Bad mistake.. Paul Petrino comes running from across the field and tells him "Great play, but we don't do that, give me 20 up's and downs".


Justin Rascati (ITV)
Quarterbacks: I am going to score them like you would a boxing match and this was round 1 today. Today Rascati 10… Stefan LeFors 6, Rascati wins round 1. He moved in the pocket well, looked at his 2nd and 3rd options and threw with pin point accuracy. He did have one play where he held onto the ball when he could have thrown it away. But the rest of his day was awesome. He hit a deep out route to Tiger Jones on the 2 yard line. A perfect throw that only could be caught by the receiver. Not bad coverage by the DB, in fact he was right there, but the ball was on the money. Then another strike to Russell. Again it was Russell or incomplete. Then a 3rd one was dropped by Joshua Tinch. Again a perfect throw to the back part of the end zone to where only Tinch could catch it.

LeFors does move well and can run when in trouble. He had some very solid throws himself. He gets lost behind the big line sometimes and that could pose a problem. He had a great throw running to his right which is difficult for a lefty. It was about a 15 yard pass and it was right there. He had another solid throw where he squeezed it in there with good coverage. He did have one interception, but it looked as if the receiver ran a bad route.

Runningbacks: Eric Shelton did not scrimmage so we got to see what T.J. Patterson, Lionel Gates and Reggie Bradshaw could do. Patterson did run with more authority, but still lags behind Gates. Gates made some tough runs and gained some extra yards with second effort. I think the 2 back set will do him well. He just looks so comfortable. It could be he is a Junior, but something is different. Bradshaw is the fastest of the group. He has some juke moves, but is green. Great thing about him is he can red shirt. Bulk up some and make a great contribution next year.

Tight Ends: Since Ronnie Ghent and Richard Owens are holding off hitting, we are seeing a lot of the backups. Chad Jorgenson is very quick and big; a great combination. Adam McCauley is pulling double duty as TE and FB. He also has great hands and blocks very well.

Offensive Line: I would have to say much improved. Much of it is the new offense. They now have help blocking and quicker plays. Both of those things make an O-Linemen's job much easier. The DL did get to the QB a couple of times, but overall they gave good protection. The OL also did a great job run blocking.

Clark attempts to elude Minkins (ITV)
Wide Receivers: I keep saying deep and WOW, I mean deep. Tinch, Antoine Harris and Broderick Clark have been very impressive, but did not win the show today. J.R. Russell and Tiger Jones were the receivers of the day. Both ran good routes, made great catches and finished the play. We had many YAC yards today, something Coach P Petrino preaches every day. I would hate to be a defensive coordinator and have to decide how to defend all the weapons.

Well up to this point you might think they did not do well, but they had a solid performance. Keep in mind they are also learning a whole new scheme. The highlights were a Josh Minkins pick of LeFors and they held the offense to a field goal after the offense had a 1st and goal on about the 5.

Defensive Line: Looks like Scott Lopez and Tyrone Saterfield at your DT's, Marcus Jones and Bobby Leffew are the ends. I think Leffew will make a huge impact playing DE. He is a play maker and he will be able to make some play out there.

Linebackers: Rod Day and Robert McCune (Hammer) are still holding their spots, but Brandon Johnson was out there with them today. Hammer is a hitter and flies all over the field. I like our speed at LB. Should make for some interesting blitzes once they learn the D better. And Johnson at 6-5 makes it hard to throw over him.

Secondary: Laroni Gallishaw and Minkins are still at the corners and Kerry Rhodes and Brent Johnson at safeties. They did a good job and were there when Rascati made those great throws. Nothing a DB can do on a perfect throw.

At this point the offense is a little ahead of the defense. I agree with Coach Mike Gillhamer (defensive coordinator), the defense is thinking instead of reacting. A balanced offense of running and passing, will be what you see next fall. It's awesome to see the Petrino's back where they belong and we should see UL's offense back where it belongs: #1.

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