Ainge's good decisions

Junior quarterback Erik Ainge made some poor decisions in last Saturday's scrimmage but he made some good decisions, too. Several times he dumped the ball off for short gains rather than trying to force it downfield.

Ainge completed two passes to running backs and two more to tight end Brad Cottam. He also completed safety-valve tosses to Bret Smith (for five yards) and Robert Meachem (for no gain). That's something Ainge almost never did in 2005.

"That comes with understanding," he says. "Obviously, if they're going to drop eight, you've got to throw the ball underneath. If they're going to blitz and give you a chance downfield, then you take a chance downfield. I think it's taking what the defense gives you."

Erik Ainge was a lightning rod for criticism following the offense's poor showing on Saturday. He had to call timeout before the very first snap. He bobbled a snap. He threw two interceptions and had a third one dropped. He knows he must improve in one significant area.

"Just managing the offense," he says. "Not having to take timeouts for personnel or anything like that. And, obviously, you don't want to throw interceptions."

No. 2 QB Jonathan Crompton had no interceptions but fumbled two snaps. No. 3 Bo Hardegree threw an interception and fumbled a snap. Overall, the quarterback play was a bit shaky.

"We had three interceptions and four fumbled snaps, so obviously we didn't take care of the ball very well," Ainge concedes. "I thought we did good (in some areas) but we've still got a long way to go."

Although the first-team offense did not generate a touchdown against the No. 1 defense, Ainge thought he saw some encouraging developments.

"Every unit on offense – running backs, tight ends, quarterbacks, receivers, O-line – we all have a ways to go," he says. "But I thought we all made strides."


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