Pinkel unimpressed by scrimmage

The defense is either getting better as the fall practices progress, or the offense is getting more sloppy. The concensus from the stands was that a little of both things were evident today.

Head Coach Gary Pinkel had little to say after Wednesday's scrimmage, and even less to say after todays pracitce.

With the Illinois game only 10 days away, Pinkel didn't see the kind of performance he was looking for.

Today's practice included three fumbles, six false starts, and only two sacks in two hours, even though the defense only needed to touch the quarterbacks for a sack.

Oh yeah, and the offense didn't score a touchdown.

"It was an average scrimmage all the way around," Pinkel said. "I'm disappointed. There are too many mistakes and not enough consistency."

It was unclear after the scrimmage if the defense was that much better from last Saturday, or if the offense wasn't. As receiver Thomson Omboga pointed out, the defense has seen the same routes again and again, and the offense couldn't pull any surprises. But he didn't need to point out that the Tigers didn't score the whole scrimmage.

The closest the offense came to pay dirt was when Tyrone Roberson fumbled on the 2-yard line at the end of a 12-yard gain on a screen pass. After that, the yards were really hard to come by, and the offense didn't get another sniff of the end zone.

"They did a good job of making us look bad," running back Damien Nash said. "They're doing their job, getting takeaways and everything." The only good news for the offense was Nash's improvement and resiliency. Nash had several good runs, but his best was also the scariest for the Tigers. On a 13-yard run, it looked like Nash could have been down twice but fought to stay up twice. As he tried to make one last move, he took the worst head-on shot to his knee yet. But he bounced right back up.

"I should have ran him over instead of making him miss," Nash said. "It won't happen again. It's good that they're taking low shots at my knee, because as much as they hit it, it gives me a lot of confidence."

The hit of the day actually goes to tight end Victor Sesay, who laid down an incredible block on Rusty Groth, which sent Groth flying to the ground. Sesay didn't get many passes thrown his way, as J.D. McCoy took most of the first-team snaps.

In addition to Roberson's fumble, freshman running back Alex Woodley had a fumble and Brandon Coleman botched a handoff to Marcus Woods.

The most disappointing performance came from punter Brock Harvey, who only had a few punts go farther than 40 yards. And he knew it.

"It was probably pretty obvious," Harvey said. "I was pretty poor, ineffective."

The team will have closed practices on Saturday and Sunday, as it begins its preparations for the Illinois game on Aug. 30 at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis.

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