August 14, 2011
Scrimmage Recap of the D
Conor O'Neal got the chance to start on the 1st team along with Max Holloway, Kaleb Ramsey, and Kasim Edebali. O'Neal didn't exactly make the most of his opportunity. O'Neal got after into a scuffle with OG Nate Richman and threw a punch at the captain which seems to be frowned upon by the coaches. The move landed O'Neal on the bench for a good chunk of the scrimmage.
Dillon Quinn stepped in for O'Neal and made the most of his time. Quinn registered three tackles and a sack, although the sack came when Max Holloway beat Emmett Cleary on the right side and forced Chase Rettig to step up the pocket and right into Quinn. Overall Quinn played well and showed off his power by shedding a block by Richman and tackling Montel Harris at the line of scrimmage.
The 2nd team defensive line was led my Mehdi Abdesmad, who had several quarterback hurries, one of which led to Mike Marscovetra hurrying a pass and throwing an interception. Abdesmad showed a nice move in the run defense as well on one play when he dipped under a Jarrett Darmstatter block and tackled Rolandan Finch
Connor Wujciak made his debut on the 2nd team and played pretty well. He had one of the highlight plays for the defense stuffing Finch on the goal line on a 4th-and-goal. Finch tried to run over the freshman to get into the end zone, but Wujciak held his ground and stood up the running back dead in his tracks. With Finch stuck in place, linebacker Jake Sinkovec came flying into to knock the ball free, and picked it up after doing so.
There wasn't much progress made in finding a new SAM linebacker, and that's actually a good thing. Both Steele Divitto and Nick Clancy turned in solid performances and had a couple of tackles each. Neither player let the tight ends run free by them in a pass pattern.
When the 2nd and 3rd team players were on the field Nick Lifka shined. Lifka has a real nose for the ball and made a couple of tackles.
Jim Noel got the start at corner opposite Donnie Fletcher, and took the award for the most devastating hits in the game. Noel came out and buried Colin Larmond from behind early in the scrimmage to break up a pass. The offense tested Noel's tackling ability by throwing two swing passes to the wide receiver he was covering, but both times Noel came flying up to tackle his man behind the line of scrimmage. Noel wasn't tested much on longer passes so the jury is still out how he'll react with that. On a short field he seems like he could be a good corner.
C.J. Jones turned in a pretty good performance as well. He got beat on a couple of passes, but overall his coverage was good because it took perfect throws by Rettig to get the ball by him.
Albert Louis-Jean started right where he left off in the spring and turned in a nice effort. Even when a pass was completed on ALJ he was right there to hit the receiver immediately upon making the catch. I'd be surprised if ALJ wasn't the Nickel-back this season.
The safeties didn't turn in the greatest performance considering there were a couple of long passes completed against them. Some of the completions were there fault and some weren't. One encouraging sign though is that there are at least using smart football instincts out on the field. As an example, Johnathan Coleman beat Okechukwu Okoroha about 25 yards down the field, and Rettig delivered what looked to be his 3rd touchdown pass of the day. "O" grabbed Coleman and spun him around to prevent him from getting to the ball. It was flagged for a pass interference, but saved a touchdown.
The team practiced punting and punt returns with Bobby Swigert and Tahj Kimble as the two punt returners. For the most part, the two return men made fair catches on the punts. However, there was one punt that Kimble tried to return and he was subsequently decked by James McCaffrey as soon as he fielded the punt. It was a perfectly times play by McCaffrey and I wouldn't be surprised to see him earn a spot on the punt team for that play.
Interestingly enough, Ryan Quigley practiced punting rugby-style a few times and was quite successful. Both of his punts traveled 40 yards before bouncing, and ultimately bounced a few extra yards before going out of bounds. I'm not sure if this is something he's practiced in the off-season, but the punts were very effective as they both went 45+ yards after bounces and were un-returnable because they rolled out of bounds.
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