The starting secondary on Wednesday featured senior Husain Abdullah and junior and first year Cougar Alfonso Jackson at the safeties, with freshman Chima Nwachukwu and another first year Cougar in sophomore Devin Giles at the cornerback positions.
Senior safety Christian Bass anchored the second team secondary.
D-tackle Ropati Pitoitua showed off his athletic skills at defensive end opposite starter Matt Mullennix on a line that grounded the Cougar running game.
The only real bright spot for the running backs on the day was the showing by freshman Logwone Mitz, who dazzled the modest crowd with two nice gains, switching directions from one side of the field to the other.
Of Pitoitua’s new stint at defensive end, d-tackle Aaron Johnson said, "He’s so athletic, it fits him well."
With Andy Mattingly out with an ankle sprain, juniors Ken Dunn and Alex Hamill rotated in at weakside linebacker alongside projected starters Greg Trent and Cory Evans.
WITH THE DEFENSE dominating the early going, the No. 1 offense drove into the red zone against the 2s, only to be frozen inside the 20 yard-line.
The offense finally found a rhythm with freshman quarterback Marshall Lobbestael hooking up with freshman tight end Aaron Gehring for a five yard touchdown pass against what looked to be the No. 2 defense. On the down preceding the scoring strike, Lobbestael had overthrown Gehring on the same play.
Charles Dillon impressed everybody in the stadium with a streaking 50-yard return on the ensuing kickoff. Dillon followed up with a nice grab from Alex Brink despite Nwachukwu draped all over him.
Kevin McCall got the No. 1 offense it's first score of the scrimmage on a one-yard dive into the end zone. From there on, the number one offense was clicking for the most part, whereas the No. 2 offense had it's own issues.
Junior quarterback Gary Rogers overthrew speedy freshman Jeshua Anderson on three occasions and there were some broken plays as well. But Rogers also had his receivers drop a couple balls that would otherwise have been completions.
THE NO. 1 OFFENSE impressed later in the scrimmage courtesy of an 18-yard touchdown pass from Brink to senior wide receiver Michael Bumpus, who grabbed the ball despite in-your-face pressure from Abdullah and Giles.
Sophomore quarterback Cole Morgan led the No. 2 offense to a quick score with a 25-five yard touchdown pass to Anderson near the end of the scrimmage.
The offense had four scores on the day, three via the air and Cougar QBs were not intercepted on the afternoon.
WITH THIS the second scrimmage of fall camp, there were some comparisons to be made by the players between this afternoon and the previous scrimmage on Saturday.
"I saw a lot more intensity this scrimmage," said Johnson. "We had some good things, we had some bad things, but we have two more weeks to get ready."
Brink echoed Johnson’s assessment of the scrimmage, saying, "There was good intensity for most of the day, even if we [the offense] started slow."
Johnson also noted he is pleased with the work of the defense overall and feels comfortable with how the secondary is playing.
HEAD COACH Bill Doba said injuries to key players such as Mattingly, Brandon Gibson and cornerback Markus Dawes did not appear to be long-term.
"Knock on wood, I think all of them will be back," said Doba, who also added he will not have them play through injuries.
Doba was generally pleased with the play of the secondary, but was not thrilled that they were getting beat deep.
"Corners can’t do that," he said.
Although the four defensive backs -- Abdullah, Jackson, Giles, Nwachukwu -- manned the starting spots throughout the scrimmage, Doba made it clear nothing is set, and the starting lineup could easily change by the time the Sept. 1 opener at Wisconsin rolls around.
- Doba said he was pleased with kicker Romeen Abdollmohammadi, who booted field goals of 37, 44 and 43 yards through the uprights (and all with plenty of room to spare). Doba said Abdollmohammadi is no longer a walk-on, and will receive the lone remaining scholarship.
- With Brandon Gibson on the sideline, junior Benny Ward saw a considerable amount of time at wide receiver with the 1s and showed his skills with a nice 23-yard reception from Brink.
- As expected running back Chris Ivory did play in the scrimmage, nursing a rib injury suffered in practice.
Rushing – Mitz 6/46, Tardy 9/16, McCall 6/12, Campbell 1/10, Ivory 3/2, Richmond 3/-3
Passing – Brink 11/17/0/129/1/32, Rogers 4/12/0/26/0/12, Morgan 2/3/0/32/1/25, Lobbestael 3/4/0/18/1/10, Wagner 0/1/0/0/0/0
Receiving – Collins 4/24, Dillon 3/49, Ward 2/34, Bumpus 2/22 (TD), Woodard 2/18, Gehring 2/8 (TD), Anderson 1/25 (TD), Walker 1/10, Atkins 1/7, Mooney 1/5, Rabb 1/3
Scoring – Gehring 5 pass from Lobbestael, McCall 1 run, Bumpus 18 pass from Brink, Anderson 25 pass from Morgan
Interceptions – None
Sacks – Eichelberger, Bass
Punts: Blunt: 51, 31 Avg. 41.0; Forrest 47
Field Goals: Abdollmohammadi 37 (good), 44 (good), 42 (good); Penner 37 (good), 42 (good)