Heads Up on Helmets Off: Early in the scrimmage Austin Stewart blew up Jakeem Grant for a four-yard loss on a jet sweep. The defense was penalized for 15 yards, however, because Blake Dees, after losing his helmet, continued to play. The new rule is that once a player loses his helmet he must cease participation on that particular snap.
Linebacker Talk: What with all the deep passing and far outside runs, the Tech linebackers had a fairly uneventful day. There just wasn't much going on between the tackles. That said, a few backups showed promise.
Blake Dees was active, physical and aggressive. He looks like an excellent backup for Will Smith. Justin Cooper showed speed, range and the ability to deliver a lick. And the most impressive play of all by a linebacker may have been turned in by true freshman Micah Awe. Speedy Javares McRoy shook lose on an end around and jetted down the sideline. But Awe, showing a fair turn of speed himself, traced McRoy down and delivered a thunderous lick on the sideline. Nevermind that a misstep by Awe may have allowed McRoy to get loose to begin with, this was an impressive play by Awe.
Mixed Bag from Amaro: For the first half of the scrimmage, Jace Amaro did not distinguish himself. He ran his routes sluggishly and did not get open with any regularity. He was also flagged for a block in the back. But Amaro finally got cooking later in the scrimmage, getting open with regularity and catching whatever came his way. When Amaro is clicking, he looks like the classic chain-moving tight end who becomes more dangerous the closer the offense gets to the goal line.
Defensive Posture: Art Kaufman's defense was more aggressive early in the scrimmage than later. In the early going, there were numerous blitzes and lots of games up front. Virtually all blitzes seemed to come from the linebackers. The defensive backs did not factor in the pass rush. As the scrimmage wore on, the defense seemed to drop and cover more.
A Blizzard from Branden: Defensive end Branden Jackson has had a quiet fall camp, and he did not start the scrimmage. But he did produce one flurry of activity in the scrimmage. In a three-play series, he beat Trey Keenan for a sack of Michael Brewer, teamed up with Jarvis Phillips to dump Quinton White for a four-yard loss, and then logged another sack on Brewer. Jackson against Keenan looked an awful lot like Dartwan Bush working over Le'Raven Clark when the latter was at tackle in the spring. Lesson—you don't want a freshman playing offensive tackle.
Foster's Forte: As noted in my previous report, SaDale Foster had a nice day running the football. But even more impressive was his display of receiving it. Foster had several nice snags, the best of which was a leaping eight-yarder from Michael Brewer on the sideline that went for a touchdown. Foster looks to be a receiving back along the lines of Ervin Farris and Taurean Henderson, both of whom had better hands than most receivers.
An Incomplete on the Ground Game: While tackling was generally permitted in the scrimmage, there seemed to be a moratorium on tackling running backs in the open field. Whenever a back broke the line, all a defender had to do was touch him in order to terminate the play. Clearly, every effort is being made to prevent further injury to running backs. For this reason it is impossible to evaluate the running game in any meaningful sense.