First Spring Scrimmage

Spring Practice Number 10, was a preset, situational scrimmage. There were a little over 100 plays ran, the offense was well behind the defense, as is expected. However, today was dominated by one segment of the defense in particular. It was dominated by a segment that is only going to get stronger between now and August due to the addition of three more big time talents.

That unit is the interior part of the defensive line. It didn't matter if it was runs up the middle, runs to the outside, or pass plays, the defensive tackles controlled the line of scrimmage from the first play to the last play. First unit guys Brandon Sparrow and James Rouse dominated early, second team players Ken Smith and Joe Massaquoi continued the domination. They continually shut down the interior rushing game. They also put pressure on Rakeem Cato and Blake Frohnapfel all morning long.

This unit will only get better. Non qualifiers Jarquez Samuel and Steve Dillon will report to practice in August. Returning starter Marques Aiken is practicing this spring, but is not participating in contact drills after coming off surgery on an injury that he battled and played with the entire 2011 season.

They continually got pressure and moved the interior offensive line around throughout the morning session. The interior offensive line was made up of the undersized walk on center, Channing Smith, and guards Sebastian Johansson and Josh Lovell. Lovell expects to be the only one that starts the 2012 season along the front. Most assume Chris Jasperse will return to the starting center position, and sixth year senior John Bruhin will return to the other guard position.

In regards to the scrimmage production from the offense, it wasn't poor, they just struggled getting the ball into the endzone, but, in their defense, they had drives going a few different times, but the drives ended due to the next "situation" that the coaches wanted to go over. For example, one drive got moving, and moved way down field on a long over the middle pass and catch from Cato to Andre Booker, who had an excellent morning.

Other receivers to strive were Craig Wilkins, Demetrius Evans and Chris Alston. All three caught the ball very well, and got the ball immediately up field. Fans should be very excited to watch this offense blossom into next season.

Armonze Daniel showed his play making ability by snagging a tipped Frohnapfel pass out of the air for an interception.

The biggest hit of the day came when Ra'Shawde Myers laid out walk on running back Kevin Rodriguez.

Alex Bazzie dropped back into coverage early on in practice and nearly picked off a Cato pass.

Excluding the aforementioned interception and a safety, there were no other turnovers, that I recall.

The offensive play of the game came on a beautiful TD pass from Cato to Aaron Dobson. Dobson reminded those in attendance of Randy Moss has he caught the ball with all hands and went into the endzone still haven't had brought the ball into his chest.

The starting offense was from right to left, Jordan Jeffries (in place of projected starter and injured Garrett Scott), Johansson (in place of projected starter John Bruhin), Channing Smith (in place of projected starter Chris Jasperse), Josh Lovell, and Gage Niemeyer. Quarterback was Rakeem Cato, running back was Martin Ward (in place of projected rotating starters Tron Martinez and Travon Van), tight end today was Eric Frohnapfel, and the wide receivers were Dobson, Antavious Wilson, and Booker.

C.J. Crawford was out and on crutches, Van was off of crutches.

Donald Brown was not in attendance. I also did not see Tommy Shuler.

Many players did not participate, including Jermaine Kelson at WR.

Defensive backs Monterius Lovett, Phillip Warren, and Keith Baxter were in blue, but did play.

D.J. Hunter came out in white, then went blue and did get some reps with the twos at safety.

Derek Mitchell was in shorts, leaving the safety play to Evan McKelvey and Zach Dunston.

The starting front seven remained the same with Jeremiah Taylor, Brandon Sparrow, James Rouse and Alex Bazzie along the front. Billy Mitchell, Jermaine Holmes and Devin Arrington at Linebacker. Arrington showed a lot of speed getting outside to run down wide receivers, including the allusive Booker.

Kicking wasn't great, but appeared to be getting a little more consistent. Haig missed two field goals, but looked better. Tyler Williams punted well.

The Herd returns to practice Tuesday at 330pm.

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