Coach outlines scrimmage plans

Packers coach Mike McCarthy today gave a brief outline of how he plans to conduct the team's Family Night intra-squad scrimmage Saturday at Lambeau Field. More than 60,000 fans are expected to attend the annual event, with a "kickoff" begins at 7:30 p.m.

McCarthy recently said that the Family Night scrimmage that he was part of in 1999 as the team's quarterbacks coach left a memorable impression on him. Unlike previous Family Night scrimmages, McCarthy will have the team introduced in a game-day fashion.

"I'm excited for the new coaches to experience Lambeau Field, quite frankly," McCarthy said. "To have the opportunity to run out the tunnel with their position group is something that those guys will remember for a long time. I know when I was here in 1999 and we were out there in a pre-practice for the scrimmage, we were doing a drill called, ‘pat and go' and there were 60-some thousand people there doing the wave … I'll never forget that. That was my first impression of Lambeau Field, so I think that will be special for the new coaches and players involved. We've got guys fighting for jobs and that's the first live test we'll have."

While the first-team offense and the first-team defense have often squared off against each other in practices thus far in camp, McCarthy will put the first-team offense and defense against the second-team offense and defense in the intra-squad scrimmage. The Packers also will practice special teams – kicking and punting – and the two-minute drill. The third-string offense and defense will see some action. McCarthy said about 45 to 50 plays are planned for the offensive units.

The scrimmage will mark the first time that the revamped offensive line will work together extensively in a ‘live tackling,' situation. Thus far in camp, rookies Daryn Colledge and Jason Spitz have started at the guard positions, and third-year pro Scott Wells has been starting at center. Veteran left tackle Chad Clifton has been bothered by his surgically repaired right knee the last two days in practice and may not participate in the scrimmage.

"It's a game. It's their first taste of live action, particularly on defense," McCarthy said. "You want to see how your tackling is. From an offense you want to see how runners run and what people do with the football. Obviously, our offensive line, it will be their first opportunity to ‘cut.' It's clearly the most important evaluation to this point."

Other battles for starting positions aside from the offensive line that have been ongoing in camp include punters Jon Ryan and B.J. Sander, kickers Billy Cundiff and Dave Rayner, wide receivers Greg Jennings and Robert Ferguson, and linebackers Abdul Hodge and Ben Taylor. All have had their moments in camp, but how they perform in the scrimmage and preseason games likely will determine their fate with the Packers.

‘Family Night' operations get underway at 2 p.m. with the opening of the Lambeau Field parking lot. Parking for the evening will be $5, with net proceeds going to the Green Bay Packers Foundation to be dispersed to area and state charities through its annual grant program.

Gates to the Atrium and stadium open at 3:45 p.m. to ticketed fans and entertainment begins at 6:30 with the TundraVision showing of the team highlight film, "The Next Generation: The Story of the 2005 Green Bay Packers."

The Packers will take the field at 6:30 p.m. and run through various practice drills before returning to the locker room at 7:15 for a brief pre-scrimmage break. Also on the field, The Oneida Nation Dancers will perform at 6:45 and the popular mascot games will follow at 7:15.


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