STRONG NOT HAPPY WITH DEFENSE
Head coach Charlie Strong was not happy with the defense in the first scrimmage. Strong said the offense won out and made "too many big plays."
The scrimmage was held in Papa John's Cardinal Stadium and most of the time it was first-team against second-team.
"Offensively, they did a really good job of moving the football and defensively we just didn't do a good job of tackling," Strong said. "It was really good to get into the stadium and watching guys run around.
"But defensively we just have up too many plays on the bad end. They had long runs on us. But we just have to improve."
Strong said it's day-to-day improvement and effort that he wants to see and said he hopes this will help the team improve for the future.
"I was just really pleased the way offense approached practice and what they did," Strong said. "Offensively, we came out and got challenged a little yesterday. Defense had a little better day yesterday and today was offense.
"It wasn't so much the first group as the second group. We are just trying to make sure the second group can get lined up and then when the ball is in the air they can make a play on the ball and go tackle the ball when it breaks the line of scrimmage."
On offense, Strong said Jeremy Wright and Senorise Perry both had long runs.
"We still have a lot of time (until the first game)," Strong said. "It's all about fundamentals and technique right now. We'll be able to take things from this film to the field and then make sure we improve."
NOT ONE BACK STANDS OUT
Strong has said several times in recent weeks that he would like for an every-down back to emerge from the competition at running back.
But running backs coach Kenny Carter said that's not likely going to happen.
Jeremy Wright, Dominique Brown, Senorise Perry and Corvin Lamb are all competing for the position. Carter said Wright, Brown and Perry were "very explosive" and thought "they did what we needed them to do."
"Won't happen," Carter said when asked about a featured back. "Won't happen. We have four guys that are very explosive and we have three guys that without a doubt all deserve the right to play and could be starters."
Carter said the staff would likely do just like he's done at other places and just divide the carries between the three backs – Brown, Perry, Wright.
"You set up a system and you get one guy going and then you just sub them in," Carter said. "The great thing about these guys is they're interchangeable. So, there's no specific situation you have to worry about in the game."
Carter said because of the way the West Coast offense will be run under Shawn Watson that there will be times the Cardinals use two tailbacks.
"It's an added dimension that really should give defensive coordinators a lot of drama," Carter said. "There will be times that we have two of them in there and one will line up as a viable receiver. So it should be tough and that's what we want."
The offense had no turnovers in the scrimmage.
Carter also said the first-team offense had a "couple of long-term contested touchdown passes" to DeVante Parker and Charles Gaines.
PARKER TO RETURN PUNTS
Carter is also the special teams coach and said star wide receiver DeVante Parker will get a shot to return punts this season.
Eli Rogers, who returned some last year, will "get a shot" and Scott Radcliff is "very dependable" back returning punts.
"But the job is probably going to be between DeVante and Charles Gaines," Carter said with a smile. "We have to get (Parker) more touches. You are going to get at least five or six more touches a game.
"Between DeVante and Charles, we need to get them those touches."
WATSON REACTS TO SCRIMMAGE
Offensive coordinator Shawn Watson said he was pleased with overall performance of the offense but noted there's "things we need to improve."
But one thing Watson was elated over was the intensity.
"We're a real physical football team and we played like it today," he said. "That's probably the first thing you want to look for, intensity.
"Our tailbacks ran really well, our receivers did a nice job in the passing game, got open and made some big plays. Our second line is a work in progress but our first line did a nice job on every aspect of the game.
"Overall, a pretty good day. We have a lot to clean up and work on."