Offense line vs. Defensive line
The o-line seemed to have a slight advantage when it was all said and done. Victor Butler and Slade Norris are still, however, a little too fast for the o-linemen. Wilder McAndrews is back and playing with a big cast over his broken thumb. DT Stephen Paea is definitely getting a lot better. Also playing well is Grant Johnson -- he's playing the center position with the second string and has also showed some good moves and technique and did so again on Friday morning.
The offense wins this round, their success built upon crisp route running by the receiver corps. Lyle Moevao connected twice with Sammie Stroughter on long passes. Damola Adeniji continued his good form from yesterday's scrimmage and caught a nice ball from Engstrom. Keenan Lewis made a nifty pass break-up in the secondary.
11 vs. 11
The defense rises up, forcing a handful of incompletions and breakups .Chris Johnson, however, had a very active round here with a couple of highlight reel catches. James Rodgers busts out for a TD on a long catch and run -- Engstrom threw that one right on the money. Shane Morales, for much of this camp, has been consistently running good routes and getting open -- but both QBs have failed to find him on a regular basis. Friday morning, alas, was no different. Running backs Ryan McCants and Jacquizz Rodgers failed to rip off any big runs, thanks to some really solid run defense.
CHRIS JOHNSON TOOK THIS PLAY TO THE HOUSE
The D again had a better round against both the pass and run. The only exception to that statement was Johnson -- he caught a medium range pass and then proceeded to turn on the jets, racing downfield and besting the DB in pursuit. Johnson looked really fast on that play. Austin Hall broke up a nice pass in traffic. The defense forced the QBs to throw the ball away a couple of times -- some good pass coverage left the quarterbacks few options. Brandon Hughes made life difficult for Stroughter with some great one-on-one defense.
11 vs. 11
The offense ran the ball for almost the entirety of this session. Quizz did have one run here that should be mentioned -- it seemed like he beat a good number of the defense and would-be tacklers on the TD run. Other than that, there weren't many extraordinary plays. Quizz almost got his helmet ripped off on a big tackle by safety Al Afalava. Brandon Hardin also made a nice stop. Moevao missed an open John Reese, overthrowing the pass.
Offense and defense drills
After the scrimmaging, the units split up to do some drills of their own. The offense concentrated on pass plays and receiver blocking -- the guess here is there are still a lot of new plays and routes being introduced into the system, and that they are also working on the new ones that came in last week. The effect that the receivers' blocks have on the game were seen very clearly in yesterday's scrimmage, and this drill consumed a good portion of time. Coach Riley clearly sees a lot of potential in the receiving corps this year. The running backs and tight ends practiced with the o-line, working on picking up blitzes and their technique in max protect.
Play of the day
Chris Johnson's catch and run for a TD. The wide receiver showed off another gear, looking extremely fast, and he somewhat easily beat out the defensive back on his way to the end zone. It was similar to what he did in Thursday's scrimmage.
Special teams observations:
There doesn't seemingly be reason for any huge concerns on special teams from this chair -- there is talent at every position, but is untested. The kickoff and punt coverage units have not done a whole lot of serious hitting but on paper and in theory, things are looking like they could be good here, though they'll have to execute in order to prove it. It seems unlikely that the Beavs would have much of a concern in the return game, there look to be a number of viable kickoff and punt return options. The kicking, in this correspondent's opinion, also lends reason for optimism, provided the groin injury bothering Justin Kahut improves with a little rest before the opener. It should also be again added that the the punting and special teams coverage units could be characterized by a lot of uncertainty until the games start to count.
As expected, it was a fairly laid back practice Friday morning after a hard hitting scrimmage the night before. Sean Canfield, Jeremy Perry, Marcus Henderson were not padded up for any action today. The Beavs worked mainly on the basics and in ironing out the kinks in the offense.
It was nice to see Chris Johnson slowly picking up the pace towards the season opener. His experience and knowledge of the game should definitely be a big boost to the offense. His block yesterday aided a big TD run by James Rodgers. Very simple, but fundamental plays like that could turn a play with minimal gain in to something spectacular. There are a lot of high profile playmakers on the offense, so Johnson doesn't get the notice that he might. But the prediction around the halls of BF.C is that in at least one game this season, Johnson will be the difference and put a W in the Beavs' win column.
Another player that deserves to be mentioned for his fundamental play is Shane Morales.
Morales has been very consistent in the fall camp but hasn't necessarily been featured in the the big plays that garner the most mentions. That might also be, at least in part, Moevao and the QB groups' biggest drawback to this point -- accurately hitting the receivers on the long passes. Indeed, they've tended to overthrow their targets for the most part on the deep ball. Granted, that's a whole lot better than the alternative -- the under thrown passes which tend to get picked off.
The margin of error, on the bright side, has tended to be on the small side -- Moevao's and Engstrom's passes have not generally missed by much, and many have been within a hash mark on target.