From Chuck Rounsaville:
The final look of the Rebels was not a real "game," so to speak, but a situational scrimmage where the offense did a nice job in the Red Zone and between the 20s and the defense did a nice job against the run and in keeping the offense from finishing drives, but while some of the overall team aspects need fine-tuning and continued work, tlhe scrimmage showed one things for certain - the Rebels have playmakers, and plenty of them, on both sides of the ball.
This is not play-by-play, but a list of the day's highlights in rapid-fire form.
* Defensive Tackle D.J. Jones, who has had a terrific spring, started things off for the defense with a quarterback sack of Jason Pellerin, but Pellerin cam right back in a Red Zone drill and found Damarkus Lodge for a five-yard TD in traffic despite good coverage by CB Tony Bridges..
* In the next Red Zone series, Lodge caught a short TD strike from Q!B Shea Patterson, who Freeze said has come "further than even I thought he would" since the second week of spring training.
* Freshman Rover Myles Hartsfield, who Freeze said has shown "a different level of intensity every day this spring," intercepted a long Pellerin pass in the end zone the next time out while playing centerfield.
* The next possession, Patterson thread the needle between two defenders in zone coverage for a 15-yard TD strike to WR Quincy Adeboyejo and that was followed by a 40-yard TD pass from Pellerin to WR Derrick Jones, who made several key grabs on the day, but on this one, he out-wrestled CB Kendarius Webster, who had good coverage, for the ball in the end zone.
* Sophomore DT Ross Donnelly thwarted the next offensive effort with a QB sack of Patterson and then DE Marquis Haynes had a tackle for loss to turn the ball over. One of several good defensive series on the day.
* Patterson then led the number one offense on a 4-yard march with short throws to Jones, TE Evan Engram and then a 14-yard TD capper to Adeboyejo. This was a high tempo drive and the freshman QB handled it beautifully. "He has really caught on quickly," noted Freeze. "He understands the game and he can move fast in a tempo offense and not get bogged down mentally."
* Husky Montrell Custis also drew praise from Freeze after the scrimmage and one play during the workout exemplified why. Patterson threw a bullet to WR Markell Pack on a skinny post pattern and Custis ran stride for stride with the speedy Pack for 25 yards and batted the ball down at the last instant, preventing a big gainer.
* Patterson retaliated with a 15-yard completion to Pack and a 12-yard TD toss to TE Ty Quick, who got behind the defense on a busted coverage and was picked up immediately by the frosh signal-caller. Nice read by Shea.
* On a goalline-out drill for the offense, starting at their own 2, Pellerin found WR Van Jefferson for a diving 45-yard catch. Jefferson, who Freeze noted as "a guy who stood out all spring," had Bridges draped all over him, but came up with the spectacular reception. Pellerin, you'll note, had three long-ball completions, obviously has a strong arm and likes the deep ball.
* DE John Youngblood was named the Chucky Mullins Award winner earlier Saturday morning and in his first showing in the coveted #38 jersey, registered a QB sack of Patterson. Haynes, not to be outdone, added his own sack on the next snap.
* Then, in a 2 vs. 2 session, DEs Garrald McDowell and Victor Evans registered a tackle for loss and a QB sack, respectively, to kill another drive by the offense.
* Tailback Eric Swinney runs "heavy," every time he touches the ball. He had a of 12-yard run, but then, so did Akeem Judd, D.K. Buford and Jordan Wilkins on the day. That Swinney run, however, opened things up for Patterson with completions of 13 to Adeboyejo, 10 to Jefferson and 18 to Lodge, but then the drive stalled when Free Safety C.J. Hampton picked off a pass intended for Jefferson over the middle.
* Patterson started the number one offense on another march with a 12-yarder to Jefferson, 11-yarder to Jones, a 6-yarder to Engram and another 15-yarder to Jefferson, but Bridges knocked down a pass intended for Lodge to end that offensive march.
* Jones and Breeland Speaks then took over a series, with a knocked down pass by Speaks and a QB sack by Jones, who said his main goal this spring was to develop a better pass rush. Mission accomplished, or so it seems in spring training.
* The final series of the day was a fitting mixed bag of defense and offense. Patterson found Pack for a 10-yard gain and then Jones for 50 yards on a perfect deep ball, but when the offense got near the Red Zone, the defense stiffened with Evans and Donnelly driving the 'O' back with back-to-back QB sacks.
* Starting QB Chad Kelly, as you know, is out after sports hernia surgery last week, but the two young QBs held up well against rapid-fire blitzing and the best DC Dave Wommack had to throw at them. Both Patterson and Pellerin stay tough in the poicket with bodies flying around them and both throw real good deep balls.
* WR Damore'ea Stringfellow did not participate in the final scrimmage although he has been practicing some the last two weeks with limited contact.
* Knock on wood, we saw no injuries during the final scrimmage, a time where Freeze says "I was holding my breath. Spring is when I am going to have the most contact, but I shut my eyes every time I see a big hit coming."
* CB Cameron Ordway injured his hand last week and had a light cast on it, but practiced, as did C Sean Rawlings. Conversely, MLB Willie Hibbler finally got his cast off his hand and looked full speed in the scrimmage.
* The OL with the number one offense was LT Alex Givens, LG Javon Patterson, C Rawlings, RG Jordan Sims and T Jeremy Liggins.
* Signees OT Greg Little, TE Jordan Mathis, S Deontay Anderson and TB D'Vaughn Pennamon were in attendance today.