Notes on Saturday's Scrimmage

Both the offense and defense have their moments -- which is good compared to in the past when these scrimmages were defense-dominated. Brett Hundley uses his feet and Ricky Marvray his hands to post good stats...

It was a pretty interesting scrimmage, with the offense being able to move the football a bit. That hasn't happened very often the past few years. Of particular interest were some long runs by freshman quarterback Brett Hundley on zone read plays, some unprecedented downfield blocking by the receivers (which included a nice block by … yes, Nelson Rosario), some strong plays by defensive tackle Nate Chandler and end Datone Jones up front and no serious injuries. At least in the scrimmage, anyway.


Offensive lineman Sean Sheller did not participate in the scrimmage. He had his right hand in a cast – he broke a bone in there in the last period on Thursday. The expectation is he will be able to continue to practice, doing individual work at minimum.


With Sheller out, Stan Hasiak and Chris Ward were at guard with the No. 1 offense. Connor Bradford got a lot of work at tackle and Coach Rick Neuheisel reiterated the need to get more weight and strength on him. Bradford only goes about 270 right now.


Kevin Prince did get to throw some 7 on 7 before the scrimmage. He threw it well.


Don't want to stretch the bounds of credibility with the receivers, considering they have had trouble holding onto the football throughout the spring and were dreadful at times last season. But as a group they also played the ball in the air much better. Ricky Marvray made a very nice catch, leaping, fighting for, and taking the ball away from Glenn Love for a touchdown.


Jordon James, who did not practice on Thursday because of a sore toe, was in the scrimmage and made some nice runs. On one, he slipped a tackle by safety Stan McKay with a sick cut.


Center Kai Maiava, who tweaked his left ankle on Thursday in practice, was back with the No. 1 offense.


Chandler was in on a number of plays, one of the best coming when he blew up a sweep to Damien Thigpen and forcing a fumble. Donovan Carter scooped the ball up and returned it for a score.

The offense was able to move the ball, but the No. 1 defense, after a slowish start, played pretty well and there were some plays that probably would have been sacks in games.


Mike linebacker Jordan Zumwalt also had a nice scrimmage, as did tackle Donovan Carter and backup linebacker Eric Kendricks.


The No. 1 and No. 2 defenses had 18 tackles behind the line of scrimmage.


Another strong defensive play – Andrew Abbott defeated a block by Thigpen and brought down Barr on a pass in the flat. Nice play by Abbott, but Barr could be a lot better at running through tackles. He missed a chance to extend a play later in the scrimmage, as well.


Here are the scrimmage stats …

Rushing – Hundley (10 carries for 82 yards and one 50-yard touchdown), James (9 for 33 yards and one 4-yard touchdown), Derrick Coleman (3 for 15 yards), Thigpen (3 for 11 yards and one 9-yard touchdown), Anthony Barr (3 for 10 yards), Johnathan Franklin (5 for 7 yards), Malcolm Jones (3 for 2 yards)


Passing – Richard Brehaut (11 of 21 for 146 yards and one 18-yard touchdown to Marvray), Hundley (7 of 11 for 45 yards.


Receiving – Marvray (4 for 50 yards and one 18-yard touchdown), Taylor Embree (2 for 28 yards), Thigpen (2 for 27 yards), John Young (2 for 26 yards), Ryan Sublett (1 for 20 yards), Morrell Presley (2 for 18 yards), Nelson Rosario (1 for 17 yards), Jones (1 for 13 yards).


Touchdowns – Marvray (18-yard pass from Brehaut), Hundley (50-yard run), James (4-yard run), Thigpen (9-yard run).


Field goals – Kip Smith (28, 42, 45 yards) and one miss from 48.


Interceptions – Courtney Viney (from Nick Crissman), Jeff Dickman 2 (both from Maxwell Schuh).


Here is the first drive – the No. 1 offense against the No. 1 defense … Franklin -2 run (Sean Westgate and Datone Jones); Brehaut 20 run for first down; Embree 6 pass from Brehaut; Franklin 10 run; Barr 11 run; Brehaut sacked (Zumwalt and Jones); Franklin -3 run; Embree 27 pass from Brehaut; Franklin 6 run; Franklin -4 run (Jones); incomplete pass intended for Presley (long); Smith field goal from 28.


That's 11 plays – or two-plus series for the No. 1 offense last spring.


Brehaut wasn't exactly throwing darts, but he got the ball there and completed six of his first seven passes. The second series for the No. 1 offense – Presley 15 pass from Brehaut; Rosario 16 pass from Brehaut; Coleman 15 run; Marvray 18 touchdown pass from Brehaut.


The receivers blocking? Two that stand out -- Rosario had a nice block to spring Marvray on a 23-yard catch and run and Marvray just clocked Sam Tai downfield late in the scrimmage.


Sam linebacker Glenn Love had a nice shot on Randall Carroll, but in doing so let Malcolm Jones get outside on a 13-yard pass play.


It was a pretty clean scrimmage, also. There were only a couple of false start penalties – the first on
Anthony Barr on a 2nd-and-4 play and the other on Presley on a 4th-and-4 play.


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