TE ANDREI LINTZ
PULLMAN -- Building depth has been a focus for the Cougs this fall and it was re-emphasized in Wednesday afternoon’s scrimmage, the first official scrimmage of fall camp. The 45 minute session was heavily devoted to the 2s and 3s seeing action, but there was no shortage of highlights, including something from a Cougar TE that in recent times has come along about as often as a solar eclipse.
During the first series, where the starters were lined up against one another, Andrei Lintz capped off a 7-play 70-yard TD drive when he hauled in a 20-yard TD catch from Jeff Tuel.
On the play, Tuel broke down the defense with a nice fake, leaving Lintz wide open downfield. The junior then hit his tight end, who made a leaping grab, falling backwards and into the end zone for six.
"Jeff (Tuel) threw a great ball and it was a perfectly executed play and all I really had to do was catch it," Lintz said. "It was more of Jeff making a play than I did."
Lintz has been battling with fellow TE Aaron Dunn for the starting spot, but Lintz has seen virtually all the action with the 1s at the position thus far in camp, and credits a change in mentality for his success with the offense this offseason and into fall camp.
"I think honestly for me it's been an attitude change," Lintz said. "I just made the choice that I want to be physical and I want to be a part of this team and be a contributor."
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The TD drive was the only one of the day for Tuel, but in his short time on the field he had the TD strike to Lintz and added a beautiful 36-yard throw to WR Isiah Barton who leaped high into the air to come down with the catch.
"I think there were a lot of good things," Wulff said. "We didn't intentionally play the 1s a lot and we held some guys out from playing at all. We knew we wanted to only go roughly 60 plays (55 actual) so we wanted to make sure it was mostly 2s and some ones that got the majority of the snaps today. Again we're just trying to find more guys to step up and get more live opportunities to practice."
A notable move on the offensive line on the afternoon came at center where Taylor Meighen saw some action running with the starting offensive line, while Andrew Roxas was running with both the 1s and 2s.
During the first series, Roxas was lined up with the starters, and then saw action running with the 2s later in the scrimmage. There were instances where the first team offensive line would be in with the 2s, and Meighen jumped in and did a solid job with the 1s, as did Roxas with the 2s. (Note: Wulff said that he is trying to give guys more reps at positions, so this in no way means that Meighen has jumped into the starting position over Roxas).
In the action with the 2s, QB Marshall Lobbestael and QB Connor Halliday both saw plenty of reps running the offense. Both QBs were able to move the offense with consistency against the 2s on defense, though the D held them to field goal attempts in the end. Andrew Furney was 2-of-2 in his attempts (41,47) while Tyler McNanny was 0-of-2 in his attempts (42, 44) -- both of which were blocked by the D.
With WRs Marquess Wilson and WR Jared Karstetter missing the scrimmage, both were simply being rested, WR Kristoff Williams and Bobby Ratliff saw action with the 1s, and both looked sharp in their play, specifically Williams.
The redshirt freshman has had a rock-solid fall camp thus far, and shined during today's scrimmage. Williams hauled in the catch of the day when running with the 2s, when Halliday fired a gem of a ball deep downfield that was perfectly placed for Williams to catch on the run for a 32-yarder.
"Kristoff Williams made some plays -- and you saw Carl Winston do some things I've been saying he's been doing all camp," Wulff said.
Winston indeed also shined for the 2s on offense. Much of the talk at RB has been of RBs Rickey Galvin and Logwone Mitz, but Winston is also a physical back who could see plenty of reps in the fall as well. Winston was running with ferocity Thursday and had a few carries where he showed plenty of agility and explosiveness by dodging defenders and turning up field.
"These players have worked hard over the summer and so far through camp," Wulff said. "We're getting to that point as a program with the foundation we've been building where we want to get to a point where we can just put anybody in and we're playing ball. We're getting closer."
Freshman receivers Henry Eaddy and Dominique Williams each had two grabs for 23 and 22 yards, respectively.
Over on defense, S Anthony Carpenter had a solid scrimmage and was flying all over the field throughout. Carpenter had several open field tackles -- ones that could have resulted in long gains for the offense, had Carpenter not been there to make a play.
Early on in the scrimmage, Carpenter had one of the best plays for the defense when he read the the mind of Lobbestael who attempted to pitch the ball to a RB. Carpenter flew into the backfield and threw his arm out to force a fumble that Lobbestael was able to dive on.
The Cougs also got "sacks" from Travis Long, Chas Sampson, David Davis and Steven Hoffart.
The play of the day on defense however belonged to MIK LB C.J. Mizell, who laid a hit that could have been heard from a mile away.
With the 2s on offense against the 1s on defense, Halliday fired a ball to Williams who looked to turn up field but immediately found Mizell who lowered his shoulder and plowed right into him. Williams was absolutely de-cleated and found himself parrallel with the turf and his eyes to the sky.
Mizell was actually flagged on the play for the celebration, but the call was questionable. Williams was able to bounce right back up.
LB Eric Oertel, who has been out with a hamstring injury, came into action during the scrimmage. But after only two plays of action he came off the gridiron, apparently not quite ready to go full tilt.
An 87-yard TD pass from Halliday to WR Gino Simone was negated because of a double personal foul call that negated the play.
Wulff noted that there were several players that were held out of action, and on top of the WRs mentioned above, other notable missing action included DT Brandon Rankin, and CBs Nolan Washington and Daniel Simmons who have been out due to hamstring injuries.
Running with the 1's:
QB: Jeff Tuel
X receiver: Bobby Ratliff
Flanker: Isiah Barton
Z receiver: Kristoff Williams
TE: Andrei Lintz
LT: David Gonzales
LG: John Fullington
C: Taylor Meighen (Andrew Roxas also saw action running with the 1s)
RG: B.J. Guerra
RT: Wade Jacobson
RB: Logwone Mitz (Rickey Galvin also saw substantial action)
LE: Travis Long
LT: Toni Pole
RT: Anthony Laurenzi
RE: Adam Coerper (Note: Skylar Stormo also seeing action running with the 1s)
SAM: Sekope Kaufusi
MIKE: C.J. Mizell
WILL: Alex Hoffman-Ellis
CB: Brandon Golden (Note: Travion Smith and he split time running with the 1s)
SS: Deone Bucannon
FS: Tyree Toomer
CB: Damante Horton