With the final scrimmage Saturday morning, the Bulls training camp has now come to a close.
Several key players were held out of the 70 nap morning scrimmage for precautionary reasons, including quarterback Matt Grothe, linebacker Kion Wilson, and almost the entire starting defensive line, George Selvie, Terrell McClain and Cory Grissom. Grothe has been held out the last two scrimmages while he nurses a sore hamstring.
"His hamstring is bothering him a little bit, but it's not bad," Leavitt said. "Could he have played today? Yeah."
"I'm never satisfied, and we won't be satisfied as an offensive staff, but there are a lot of things to build on and a lot of things that are positive that we'll look at," said Canales. The big thing is playing with a hard edge mentality and making sure we're not staying behind the chains, and no turnovers, limit the turnovers, and will be fine."
It starts in the trenches
A big reason for the offensive success is the increasingly solid play by the offensive line that is buying time for the quarterbacks and opening holes for the running game. The O-line drew more praise from Canales.
"I'm very happy with what they're doing. We got six or seven guys that we can bank on and will be right there in the mix, said Canales. "I tipped my hat to those guys today. We were successful today because we were able to run the ball. When you run the ball, you give yourself a chance, because there are so many things you can do off a run, and that's something we're going to build on. We ran the ball very well Wednesday night, too."
We mentioned yesterday that sophomore guard Chaz Hine was elevated to starting left guard and the sophomore got more kudos from Canales. "I am so proud of Chaz Hine. He stands out to me so well right now. He's working so hard. He's earned the spot at left guard.'
At left tackle is Jeremiah Warren "He's doing a great job and has really stepped up his effort, his focus, concentration, and is playing with a lot of urgency. He's a big kid, 6-5, 320, can move like a guard, and has great athletic ability."
"Zach Hermann (RG), "looks go good right now and Sampson Genus is the cowbell, he's the cowbell and leads that darn line. It's amazing what he's doing." he said. "And Mark Popek is just getting better and better with each and every practice.
"My hats off to those guys and we're very pleased. We're not where we want to be, but we got two weeks to get there."
Canales aid the he kids are playing very hard and he knows what has gotten the team better. "When you go best on best, you're forced to go harder, play faster, focused and concentrate more, and play with more urgency, and that has helped greatly."
How many times can we mention his name?
The scrimmage was highlighted by a 60-yard run by freshman Lindsay Lamar. Lamar has been mentioned numerous times throughout training camp, "Lindsey Lamar has all the athletic ability," said Leavitt. It's that ability and speed that both Leavitt and Canales has mentioned time and time again that will most likely get the true freshman on the field this year.
The running backs had a good scrimmage scoring 3 or 4 times Senior tight end Ben Busbee had a long touchdown
Receiver Jessie Hester is still limited. "He's practiced a little bit the last couple of days," said Leavitt. "He's gone full, but not full, full."
Mistral "Skinny" Raymond, a walk-on defensive back had an interception, "He had a nice interception, and showed up all over the field," said Leavitt. "I thought he had an outstanding scrimmage."
Sophomore Patrick Hampton was working as a first-team defensive end ahead of Aaron Harris. "Hampton I saw do some good things today,' said Leavitt." Harris did show up today, and David Bedford has been doing some good things, and made some really god plays."
Jason Pierre-Paul didn't play in the scrimmage. ‘He's not allowed to go full pads yet," said Leavitt. He's only gone two practices, but will go full pads on Monday.'
Injury concerns for the opening game.
Besides Jessie Hester , Leavitt mentioned that several players may not play in the season opener against Woolford including; Jamar Taylor (knee), freshmen Ricardo Dixon (shoulder), Jaquez Jenkins (knee), and Chase Griffiths (finger), and walk-ons Rony Delisca, LaDre Watkins will most likely not play.
Special teams look set
Leavitt said he's happy with the kickers and Delbert Alvarado will serve as the starting kicker with Eric Schwartz backing him up. "I like where we're at right now with our kicking. I like Delbert, I like Eric Schwartz, he really showed me a lot today, so we're going to go with those two guys right now."
Alvarado will handle kick-offs with Schwartz, and Brockhaus-Kann backing him up. Diego Palacio, who attempted to walk-on didn't make the cut "In and out fast quickly," said Leavitt. "If they can't kick and don't look good, then they're not going to stay out here. I don't waste their time or my time."
Battling for the punt return job are WR Theo Wilson, RB Lindsey Lamar and WR Patrick Richardson. After that would be Nate Allen and Sterling Griffin. Leavitt said Wilson has a slight edge, but Lamar is gaining ground.
Battles back at practice
Freshman running back Bradley Battles, who returned home during the week while dealing with NCAA Clearinghouse issues, was back in Tampa, but only watched the scrimmage as he's still not cleared to play. ‘We're still waiting for the clearing house," said Leavitt. "They're checking, checking and checking
With training camp over, the Bulls will resume practice on Monday, with the regular season practice schedule
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