Scrimmage Report - Wednesday

Today was the last practice that will be open to the public. A very good crowd showed up to see the Hurricanes go through a few drills and go through a full scrimmage. The players enjoyed the game situation and it will give the coaches better film to look at.

Coach Larry Coker's assessment of the scrimmage, "This is what we needed. We actually got to play the game today. We saw a lot of good things and we saw a lot of flaws. I think we moved the ball pretty well on offense and I think both of our top two quarterbacks played well."

The offense made some good plays out there and was able to move the ball well. "The defense was able to hang in there. Obviously, we had some people out on the defensive side of the ball that we missed and no doubt we need to get them back healthy."

The offense was very impressive in the scrimmage especially the passing game. There has been a lot of focus this fall on the offensive line and they really came together today. Derrick Crudup led the quarterbacks going 8-12 for 152 yards and a touchdown. Tyrone Moss led all rushers with 48 yards on 11 carries. Ryan Moore was the leading receiver with three catches and 56 yards.

Overall the offense gained 116 yards on 36 carries (3.2 average) and passed for 332 yards completing 21-of-33. Jarrett Payton and Jon Beason scored the touchdowns today. Mark Gent went 2-4 in field goals missing both attempts over 30 yards.

Quarterbacks

Brock Berlin looked sharp today throwing hard passes and looking very comfortable in the pocket. Berlin completed his first five passes and finished the day 10-14 for 132 yards. Berlin spread the ball around very well hitting his receivers; running backs in the flat and even got his tight ends involved. Derrick Crudup threw the long ball very well especially on a 52-yard completion to Akieem Jolla. Crudup led the quarterbacks going 8-12 for 152 yards and a touchdown. Marc Guillon was a bit off today going 2-5 for 37 yards and his incompletions were way off target. Kyle Wright ran the offense for nine plays going 1-2 for 11 yards throwing short passes.

Running Backs

Frank Gore did not break out a big run until the end of the scrimmage. Gore had an 18-yard gain, which gave him 33 yards on eight carries. He did catch two passes for 23 yards. Gore looks very good in the open field and will be a threat to catch the ball which is important for a running back to get involved especially when there is not a lot of room to run in between the tackles. His knee looks fine making good cuts and even showed his ability to take a hit. Tyrone Moss and Jarrett Payton are fighting for the backup role on the depth chart behind Gore. Payton looked good battling for that extra yard and saw the holes real well today, which is something he has struggled with in the past. Tyrone Moss got the opening carries for the second-team offense but stood on the sideline after fumbling the handoff by Derrick Crudup. Moss tends to keep his arms to close to each other when taking a handoff. This is something the coaching staff has been working on with him. Jon Beason looked like he was recruited to play running back today. Beason was simply amazing rushing just one time for 9 yards and made three catches for 46 yards including a 29-yard touchdown catch. "Jon Beason looks good on both sides of the ball. He's an outstanding young man and he's an outstanding football player," said Coker.

Wide Receivers

Ryan Moore had a big day today catches three passes for 56 yards. Moore was effective catching the deep ball and the quick short throws by the quarterback. Coach Coker said, "Ryan Moore came up big and made some nice plays. But we expect that from him, he has to do that for us to be a good team." With Moore playing effectively on the first team, it gives the offense a big play threat. Akieem Jolla came up with a long pass from Derrick Crudup picking up 52 yards on the play. Jolla has struggled reading the deep ball during fall practice coming up a few yards short on virtually every deep ball. He has been improving his reads on the ball and has got his hands on the ball only to drop it, but today he came up with a great grab. He beat his man off the line, made a nice slight cut to the inside about 20 yards downfield and got in between the safeties to haul down the 52-yard catch. It was good to see Jolla come up with the big catch and it should help the confidence of the sophomore from New Orleans. Kevin Beard, Darnell Jenkins and Devin Hester all had catches over 20 yards. Sinorice Moss returned to practice today after missing five days with a sprained ankle. Moss did not participate in the scrimmage but did participate in drills. Jason Geathers was out of practice today and it is only a matter of time before he is back to full health.

Tight Ends

Just when you sleep on Kevin Everett, he makes a nice play. Everett is often an overlooked asset to the offense playing behind the best tight end in the country, Kellen Winslow. Kevin had a real nice scrimmage today catching two passes for 22 yards. It is important for him to continue to get better so the offense does not lose a beat when he gives Winslow a break. Winslow had two catches for 14 yards today and a mental error as he caused a false start.

Offensive Line

The offensive line looked great today. Their excitement throughout drills and before the scrimmage is a pleasure to be around. Chris Myers and Joel Rodriguez are the vocal leaders of this group, but Carlos Joseph and Eric Winston get excited as well. As a unit, they spent a lot of time together this summer just hanging out and going out to dinner. These types of bonds are especially important for an offensive line unit because that's exactly what they are, a unit. The first-team did a real nice job providing Berlin with ample time to make a play. The pass production as a whole was great which led to the quarterbacks going 21-33 today. Today the offensive line had their first injury as Andrew Bain sat out of practice.

Defensive Line

These guys did a good job of containing the run holding the offense to just 3.2 yards per rush. Vegas Franklin led the line with three tackles including quarterback hurry. Kareem Brown and Orien Harris had a good day today. Brown picked up a fumble and began to rumble through whoever was in his way, but the whistle blew before he could get to the endzone. Harris did a nice job of getting off the line filling in for Santonio Thomas on the first-team. Thomas had a small procedure done and he should return to the practice field soon. Alton Wright showed a lot of persistence today during the one-on-one drills with the offensive line. Wright went up against Carlos Joseph and could not get very much push on Joseph the first time he went. He battled the next time and got by Joseph with good quickness and strength. John Square, Larry Anderson, Baraka Atkins and Santonio Thomas did not practice today due to injuries.

Linebackers

The linebackers were without its top two guys Jonathan Vilma (hamstring) and D.J. Williams (sprained ankle) today and it showed. Without Vilma and Williams on the field, the defense loses two of its best defenders and it is very noticeable in the middle of the field during pass plays. Vilma and Williams are very good about anticipating the play and being in the right spot at the right time. Leon Williams and Darrel McClover filled in for the two potential all-Americans and have done an adequate job. Williams is at his best on stopping the run and rushing the quarterback. Tavares Gooden and Glenn Cook made some real nice plays today with Gooden picking up a sack. Both Gooden and Cook had five tackles, which tied for the team lead.

Defensive Backs

Sean Taylor was the big news today; unfortunately it was not good news. Taylor suffered an unknown leg injury and his status will be known in the next couple of days. He suffered the injury on attempting to gain possession of a fumble by Frank Gore. The fumble was picked up by Alfonso Marshall. Antrel Rolle had five tackled in the scrimmage, tying for the team-lead. Rolle was guarding Ryan Moore when Moore made a sensational 35-yard catch along the sideline in front of the crowd drawing quite a reaction. Brandon Meriweather made some nice tackles today and it is very important for him to improve with the loss to Greg Threat to a hamstring injury.

Specialists

With Jon Peattie suffering from a groin injury, Mark Gent assumed the kicking duties during the scrimmage. Gent did not have a very good day today going just 2-4 on field goals. He made field goals attempts of 21 yards and 27 yards. Gent missed kicks of 33 yards and 44 yards sending both kicks to the left. On his misses, the right-footed kicker appeared to try and overcompensate his kicks with his body and hips as opposed to striking through the ball relying on his leg to get the power. Gent was sending kickoffs five yards deep in the endzone with a nice wind at his back. Brian Monroe averaged 44.5 yards per punt on two punts. Monroe also sent a booming kickoff through the back of the endzone in midair right after he sent a wobbler that barely reached the endzone.

Today concluded practices open to the public. The media will be able to attend practice for the first 30 minutes and the last 15 minutes. Practice resumes tomorrow at 3:30. There are just two weeks left before the first game on August 28.

Christopher Stock is a Staff Columnist for CanesTime and can be contacted by emailing him at stock@grassy.com.

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