Around 100 or so people stopped by Martin Stadium this morning to check out the Cougars, who held a scrimmage that lasted roughly 100 plays.
The process for the scrimmage was pretty straightforward. A quarterback would lead one of the offensive units, – starters, backups, third string, etc. – against a defensive unit, and try to drive 60-yards for a touchdown. If the offense scored too quickly, or did not get enough plays in before failing on fourth down, they would try again from 20 or 40 yards out.
The quarterback was the only real constant during a drive, because everyone else was subbing out pretty regularly, even the offensive linemen.
Overall, the passing game hummed along nicely. The defense wasn't able to force any takeaways, and although there were seven sacks, the pass rush was not as dominant as it has been in previous spring scrimmages. The defense was fairly strong in the running game, consistently giving up four or five yards but not allowing explosive runs, save for an 11-yard touchdown run up the gut by James Williams.
Kyle Sweet probably had the best day of any individual skill player. The first series didn't start too hot for the offense, with Williams taking a one-yard loss on a reception and then Nnamdi Oguayo sacking Peyton Bender. But on third-and-long, Bender uncorked a 44-yard pass to Sweet, who came down with the reception despite enough contact from the defender to draw a pass interference flag.
Sweet's other big play was a little easier, he slipped behind cornerback Charleston White and found space before he was in safety Jalen Thompson's range, where Luke Falk threaded a pass. Sweet made the grab and ran the final 20 or so yards to the pylon for a 45-yard score.
Some other highlights were when defensive end Nick Begg sacked Christian Jorgensen on back-to-back plays. Begg recently switched to defense after spending his first two years at tight end.
Nate DeRider had a good series, following up a sack with a big hit on Tavares Martin to hold the receiver to a three-yard gain, and Dylan Hanser punished Williams for hurdling a defender with a crushing mid-air blow.
The Cougars will hold another scrimmage next Saturday. For now, here are the final stats and post-practice thoughts from head coach Mike Leach and defensive coordinator Alex Grinch.