Spring Ball: Day 11

In some ways, the scrimmage the Saturday before the Spring Game can be the biggest competition of the spring. Cardinalmaniacs hope that is not the case this year, with how the offense performed most recently in the stadium. Conversely, it was a successful scrimmage for the defense, particularly in the front seven. For a discussion plus the complete 84-play blow-by-blow, read on.

Below is a detailed account of the 84 plays that covered 90 minutes on Saturday in Stanford Stadium.  Continuing the trend we saw the last time this team was in full pads (Thursday), the offense is entrenched in mistakes.  The full play-by-play is below, but to help illustrate the frequency of follies, consider some numbers.  Of the 84 plays in Saturday's scrimmage, seven were special teams kicking plays.  Of the 77 remaining plays conducted by the offense, seven were quarterback sacks, eight were penalties, eight were running plays for losses, and one was a fumble that the defense returned for a touchdown.  All told, one-third of the offense's plays resulted in terrible setbacks that lost yardage or the football.

There is blame to be spread around the entire offense with a poor scrimmage like this.  Two silver linings you can offer up are that receivers did not drop balls that should have been caught, and no quarterback threw an interception.  But the signal callers and wideouts had their share of problems in getting the passing game rolling.

Of the offense's difficulties right now, though, there is more blame to be shouldered by the offensive line than any other group.  Quarterbacks sacked or hurried; running backs hit for losses; holding penalties; false starts.  The offensive line just isn't doing their job.  The defense is racking up frequent flier miles from all their trips into the offensive backfield, and though I like this defense, I do not believe they can or should be making plays behind the line of scrimmage to this extent.

For a moment, we do need to dish out some praise for the job the defense did.  To wit, Walt Harris made a public personal trip during the scrimmage over to the defensive sideline to congratulate redshirt junior defensive end Casey Carroll after a quarterback sack.  Carroll was the biggest playmaker of the day on defense - we think he earned "platinum" status for his frequent flier account.

For every success in spring football, however, there is a failure on your roster.  Carroll lines up at the left defensive end this year, and he always lines up on the left side.  That means when he was racing through the O-line turnstile to reach the backfield, he was doing it to the right side of the offensive line.  That is the same side where we have reported problems at both the guard and tackle positions.

Saturday, the same sack by Carroll that brought his head coach to the sideline also netted a change at right tackle.  The next time the first team offense took the field, redshirt sophomore Jon Cochran did not come with them.  He was instead replaced with freshman Ben Muth.  It was a clear and telling signal.

To be fair, the offensive line's woes cannot be all thrust onto Cochran's broad shoulders - not at all.  There were players at all positions who whiffed on blocks, botched snap counts and/or went the wrong way on a play.  Probably the most sound and consistent lineman this spring has been redshirt sophomore left tackle Jeff Edwards, but he was the man responsible for junior Julian Jenkins hitting redshirt freshman Jason Evans in the backfield, which yielded a fumble and defensive touchdown.

(On the subject of Evans, his fumble was an unforgivable sin, but he did some penance with his nifty running late in the scrimmage.)

A little bit of good news is that the quarterbacks, despite their harassment, made some nice plays rolling out.  Redshirt freshman T.C. Ostrander was on the move when he hit redshirt sophomore Marcus McCutcheon for a number of passes.  The first offensive touchdown of the day came when redshirt sophomore Trent Edwards rolled out and then found redshirt junior Gerren Crochet in the endzone.  Truthfully, both of these quarterbacks have mobility on their side, and I am starting to wonder if some of the liabilities Stanford may endure this fall on the offensive line might induce Walt Harris to scheme around them - to roll out his quarterback(s) more by design.

But, this scrimmage was the end of the third week of the spring - not the final stroke of the spring.  We need to hold off pronouncements and judgments until after next weekend's Spring Game.  Harris directly and forcefully challenged his offensive players after this scrimmage in many ways, and a big push was demanded for the four remaining practices on the docket.  We will see how his players answer the bell.

Complete Scrimmage Play-by-Play

#1 Offense vs. #1 Defense
Trent Edwards at quarterback; J.R. Lemon at running back

1st & 10 @ own 35:  Run by Lemon for eight yards on a draw
2nd & 2 @ own 43:  Pass complete to Evan Moore for four yards (tackle by T.J. Rushing)
1st & 10 @ own 47:  Run by Lemon for a loss of one (tackle by Michael Okwo)
2nd & 11 @ own 46:  Run by Lemon for six yards (tackle by Okwo and Casey Carroll)
3rd & 5 @ opp. 48:  Run by Edwards for eight yards
1st & 10 @ opp. 40:  Pass incomplete for Mark Bradford @ 10-yard line (coverage by Rushing; safety help and deflection by Brandon Harrison)
2nd & 10 @ opp. 40:  Run by Lemon for no gain (tackle by Babatunde Oshinowo)
nickel defense - Wopamo Osaisai in for Oshinowo
3rd & 10 @ opp. 40:  Pass incomplete for Bradford @ 30-yard line (coverage and breakup by Osaisai)

#2 Offense vs. #2 Defense
T.C. Ostrander at QB; Ray Jones at RB

1st & 10 @ own 35:  Pass complete to Marcus McCutcheon for 16 yards (Osaisai coverage and tackle)
1st & 10 @ opp. 49:  False start penalty on the offense
1st & 15 @ own 46:  Quarterback sack by Mike Silva (Silva did not bite on play-action, buried Ostrander deep behind LOS but ball spotted @ 46)
Jones leaves game after blocking failure, replaced by Jason Evans
2nd & 15 @ own 46:
  Pass complete to McCutcheon for 17 yards (tackle by Peter Griffin and Tim Sims)
1st & 10 @ opp. 37:  Run by Evans for three yards (tackle by Brandon Willetts)
Jones replaces Evans
2nd & 7 @ opp. 34:
  Pass complete to McCutcheon for 14 yards (Osaisai coverage and tackle)
1st & 10 @ opp. 20:  Run by Jones for loss of two yards (tackle by Taualai Fonoti)
2nd & 12 @ opp. 22:  Pass incomplete for McCutcheon in the endzone (coverage by Osaisai and David Lofton)
offensive holding penalty - negates play
2nd & 22 @ opp. 32:  Pass complete to Kris Bonifas for three yards (tackle by Griffin)
3rd & 19 @ opp. 29:  Pass complete to Moore for 21 yards (tip-toes at sideline for catch)
late hit on the quarterback penalty by Gustav Rydstedt - half the distance;
David Jackson in for Rydstedt;
goalline defense - Chris Horn in for a defensive back

1st & Goal @ opp. 4:
  Run by Jones for no gain (tackle by Sims and Pannel Egboh)
2nd & Goal @ opp. 4:  Run by Jones for loss of five yards (tackle by Jackson and Bryan Bentrott - Jackson blew up into backfield)
3rd & Goal @ opp. 9:  Pass incomplete high and wide for Moore @ 3-yard line
2nd unit FG team comes on - Aaron Zagory kick, Jay Ottovegio hold, Bobby Dockter snap
4th & Goal @ opp. 9:  27-yard field goal by Zagory is good

#1 Offense vs. #1 Defense
Edwards at QB; Evans at RB
Ismail Simpson for Mikal Brewer at right guard

1st & 10 @ own 35:  Fumble by Evans behind LOS, forced by Julian Jenkins, recovered by Harrison and returned for a touchdown
Gerald Commissiong in for Evans;
new set of downs
1st & 10 @ own 35:  Quarterback sack for loss of seven yards (whistled/ruled by Walt Harris)
2nd & 17 @ own 28:  Pass incomplete (pressure by Carroll)
nickel defense - Osaisai and Silva in for Oshinowo and Schimmelmann
3rd & 17 @ own 28:  Pass complete to Gerren Crochet for 12 yards  (tackle by Harrison)
new set of downs
1st & 10 @ own 35:  Run by Nick Frank for loss of one yard
Bonifas in for Frank
2nd & 11 @ own 34:  Run by Commissiong for three yards (tackle by Oshinowo and Carroll)
3rd & 8 @ own 37:  Run by Edwards for eight yards (outran Udeme Udofia backside pursuit)
Matt McClernan for Oshinowo
1st & 10 @ own 45:  Run by Commissiong for four yards (tackle by Jenkins)
2nd & 6 @ own 49:  Pass incomplete intended for Bradford (ball is short)
late hit on the quarterback penalty
1st & 10 @ opp. 36:  Run by Commissiong for no gain (tackle by Oshinowo and Emmanuel Awofadeju)
2nd & 10 @ opp. 36:  Pass incomplete to Commissiong (ball is short)
offensive holding penalty - negates play;
nickel defense - Osaisai and Silva in for Oshinowo and Schimmelmann
2rd & 20 @ opp. 46:  Pass complete to Danahy for 41 yards (tackle by Harrison)
play whistled/ruled a sack by Walt Harris
3rd & 29 @ own 45:  Quarterback sack for loss of 15 yards by Udofia (initial pressure by Carroll)

#2 Offense vs. #2 Defense
Ostrander at QB; Jones at RB
Preston Clover for Dockter at LG; Amir Malayery for Simpson at RG

1st & 10 @ own 35:  Run by Jones for four yards (tackle by Silva)
2nd & 6 @ own 39:  Run by Jones for loss of four yards (buried by Rydstedt)
nickel defense - Nick Sanchez and Chris Horn in for ??
3rd & 10 @ own 35:  Pass complete to Moore for 15 yards (tackle by Bentrott)
1st & 10 @ 50:  Pass incomplete for McCutcheon at 15-yard line (coverage and breakup by Calvin Armstrong)
Allen Smith in for Mike Macellari
2nd & 10 @ 50:  Pass complete to Moore for four yards (tackle by Armstrong)
nickel defense
3rd & 6 @ opp. 46:  Run by Jones (tackle by Bentrott and Osaisai)
offensive holding penalty on McCutcheon - negates play
3rd & 12 @ own 48:  Pass incomplete low and away for McCutcheon (Egboh pressure; coverage by Sanchez)

#1 Offense vs. #1 Defense
Edwards at QB; Lemon at RB
Silva for Okwo at ILB

1st & 10 @ 50:  Pass complete to Crochet for 40 yards
1st & 10 @ opp. 10:  Run by Lemon for five yards (tackle by Rushing and Silva)
2nd & 5 @ opp. 5:  Run by Lemon for loss of one yard (tackle by Schimmelmann)
3rd & 6 @ opp. 6:  Pass complete to Crochet for six-yard touchdown
1st unit PAT/FG comes on - Derek Belch kick, Kyle Matter hold, Jon Cochran snap
PAT: good by Belch
new set of downs
1st & 10 @ 50:  False start penalty on Matt Traverso
Michael Horgan in for Traverso
1st & 15 @ own 45:  Pass complete to Horgan for 12 yards (tackle by Rushing)
2nd & 3 @ opp. 43:  Run by Lemon for one yard (tackle by Schimmelmann and Sanchez)
3rd & 2 @ opp. 42:  Quarterback sack by Casey Carroll for loss of four yards

#2 Offense vs. #2 Defense
Ostrander at QB; Evans at RB

1st & 10 @ 50:  False start penalty on Moore
Anthony Kimble in for Moore
1st & 15 @ own 45:  Pass incomplete wide to Kimble @ 35-yardline
2nd & 15 @ own 45:  Pass complete to Matter for 11 yards (coverage and tackle by Sims)
3rd & 4 @ opp. 44:  Run by Evans for one yard (tackle by Griffin)
new set of downs
1st & 10 @ 50:  Pass complete to McCutcheon for 15 yards (coverage and tackle by Sims)
1st & 10 @ opp. 35:  Pass incomplete to McCutcheon @ 15-yard line (coverage by Osaisai)
pass interference penalty on Osaisai @ 25
1st & 10 @ opp. 25:  Quarterback sack by John Solder for loss of five yards
2nd & 15 @ opp. 30:  Pass complete to Kimble for five yards
nickel defense
3rd & 10 @ opp. 25:  Screen pass to Evans for eight yards (tackle by Sanchez)
FG unit comes on - Belch kick, Ottovegio hold, ?? snap
4th & 2 @ opp. 17:  35-yard field goal is no good, wide right

-- Halftime --

#3 Offense vs. #3 Defense
Garrett Moore at QB; Commissiong at RB

1st & 10 @ opp. 35:  Run by Commissiong for five yards
2nd & 5 @ opp. 30:  Pass incomplete
3rd & 5 @ opp. 30:  Quarterback sack by Chris Horn for loss of four yards
new set of downs;
Evans in for Commissiong
1st & 10 @ opp. 35:  Run by Evans for 34 yards (knocked out of bounds by Nick Silvas)
goalline defense - McClernan for Silva
1st & Goal @ opp. 1:  False start penalty on Michael Horgan
1st & Goal @ opp. 6:  Pass incomplete to Mike Miller in the endzone (corner fade)
offsetting penalties - negates the play
1st & Goal @ opp. 6:  Run by Evans for six-yard touchdown (behind Miller block)
2nd unit PAT/FG comes on - Zagory kick, Ottovegio hold, Dockter snap
PAT:  good by Zagory

-- Sprints --

#1 Offense vs. #1 Defense
Edwards at QB; Lemon at RB
Ben Muth for Cochran at right tackle

1st & 10 @ opp. 18:  Run by Lemon for no gain (tackle by Carroll)
2nd & 10 @ opp. 18:  Pass complete to Bradford for 16 yards (coverage and tackle by Sanchez)
goalline defense - Lofton and Rydstedt in for Sanchez and Rushing
1st & Goal @ opp. 2:  Run by Lemon for loss of two yards (stuffed by Carroll)
2nd & Goal @ opp. 4:  Run by Lemon for two yards
3rd & Goal @ opp. 2:  Run by Lemon for two-yard touchdown
1st unit PAT/FG comes on - Belch kick, Matter hold, Cochran snap
PAT:  good by Belch

#2 Offense vs. #2 Defense
Ostrander at QB: Jones at RB
Cochran at right tackle

1st & 10 @ opp. 18:  Pass complete to Jones for 11 yards (tackle by Harrison)
1st & Goal @ opp. 7:  Run by Jones for one yard (tackle by Rydsted)
2nd & Goal @ opp. 6:  Pass incomplete to Moore in the endzone (underthrown corner fade; breakup by Armstrong)
Cochran in for Muth at right tackle
3rd & Goal @ opp. 6:  Jones run for loss of two yards (solo tackle by Egboh - magnificent)
FG team of Belch kick, Ottovegio hold, ?? snap
4th & Goal @ opp. 8:  25-yard field goal by Belch is good
new set of downs;
Evans in for Jones
1st & Goal @ opp. 4:  Pass complete to Danahy for four-yard touchdown
reset regardless as 2nd & Goal
2nd & Goal @ opp. 4:  Run by Evans for three yards (inches from goalline)
3rd & Goal @ opp. 1:  Run by Evans for one-yard touchdown (pitch to left, untouched)

-- "Huddle" FG attempt --

Belch kick, Matter hold, Cochran snap;
entire team surrounds Belch/Matter in three-quarters circle for noise
23-yard field goal by Belch is good


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