After failing badly with the passing game early in Saturday's Black and Gold Game, the offense went to its bread and butter: the running game.
The bread was Damien Nash, pounding his way through the defense time and again. The butter was Marcus Woods, who has had a heck of a spring football debut, slipping through and running over the defense for more than 100 yards.
The defense still won the final scrimmage, but compared to a week ago, the offense finally had some answers, and almost every time, the answer was Nash or Woods.
The biggest answer Saturday, though, was to any concerns about the running game losing any steam with the loss of Zack Abron and an inexperienced offensive line. Nash finished with eight carries for 82 yards, and Woods had 11 carries for 109 yards. With Nash and Woods, it seems the Tigers still have the backfield to complement Brad Smith.
"Even though they're taking away our biggest option in Brad Smith, we showed our offense is still explosive without Brad smith," Nash said. "We have too excellent runners back there with him."
The aforementioned passing game, though, didn't have as much luck, especially at the start. On the third series of the scrimmage, Brandon Coleman threw an interception to defensive tackle Atiyyah Ellison, who ran it back 57 yards for a touchdown.
In the rather complicated scoring system, Ellison's return gave the defense 12 points and helped it get an early 26-3 lead, one which the offense couldn't recover from. But once the running game got going with a Woods 25-yard touchdown, the passing game began to heat up. First-string quarterback Brad Smith still had problems without the threat of running, but he finished completing four of his eight passes for 45 yards and an interception to Brandon Massey.
In a reverse from last week's defensive massacre, Brandon Coleman managed to recover from the early interception to end with a sound game. On his last series, Coleman threw a 31-yard pass to Greg Bracey, which he followed with a 4-yard touchdown to Jason Ray. He completed 11-of-20 passes for 89 yards.
"I think I played way better in this scrimmage than I did in the last one because in the first one, I played horrible," Coleman said. "In this one, I made a couple bad plays in the beginning, but then I was able to get back on track."