Blue won the annual scrimmage, beating White 17-3. But the game did little to alleviate my anxiety regarding the upcoming season. Granted, the usual cautions are valid here–this was not a real game by any stroke of the imagination and was little more than a glorified practice. Yet, as a fan, you hope to see glimmers of hope, and at least basic competency.
Two glimmers of hope brightened the gray day as true freshman and early enrollee Paul Jones hooked up with Shawney Kersey twice for the game’s only touchdowns. Of all the quarterbacks, Jones seemed to be the most accurate and poised, but then he may have been the one with the least pressure on him to perform. It is also probably unfair to gauge performance on a sampling of 8-18 passes (McGloin had the most attempts) but we fans have nothing else to base our evaluations on. And while the coaches have the advantage of seeing these kids day to day, I don’t think you can underestimate the value of a player who performs well in a game setting. What good is a kid who shines in practice but flounders during games? But I digress.
The performance of Jones even got Brent Musberger into the debate as the veteran announcer was duly impressed and looked to see this kid perform this fall. Do not hold your breath, Brent. (OK, he’s not my favorite announcer so maybe you can if you want to.) Seriously, he is still about two injuries and possible a mini-stroke away from seeing serious playing time this season. Joe is not going to play a freshman when there are upperclassman who have been in the system, albeit with minimal to no playing time, available and with pulses.
The offensive line wasn’t awful, but it was far from good. Running holes were rare and they gave up five sacks, although in this scrimmage, just touching the QB counted as a tackle. Part of their performance can be written off as a work in progress. Wisniewski, who played center last year, moved to guard and Doug Klopacz was the first string center. Offensive lines take time to gel so we’ll give them a pass at this point.
Chaz Powell moved to CB and missed a great opportunity at a pick that could have gone for six the other way.
The defense appears to be fundamentally sound and I think they will be capable of keeping us in most games this season, even if our offense is overmatched.
The kicking game is a bit of a concern. The punts were lousy to say the least, the final stats propped up by virtue of no rush or returns and a lot of rolling after they hit on the ground. Wagner hit a 46 yarder, and Soldner hit a 36 yarder, but missed another attempt from 32 yards. Anthony Fera did not play along with Zordich for disciplinary reasons.