By Chadd Cripe
Some thoughts on tonight's scrimmage:
— Doug Martin looked very good at tailback (16 carries, 88 yards), breaking tackles and showing no signs of rust from playing defense most of the year. He took most of the reps with the first team because the top three tailbacks were all out with nagging injuries. Coach Chris Petersen expects all of the running backs to return for the season opener.
“My opinion, (Martin is) the best guy on the field,” junior linebacker Derrell Acrey said. “Give the man the ball, and when he runs a touchdown put him on defense. … Put him wherever he wants to go.”
Petersen said Martin's role will continue to change depending on need.
“That’s the beauty of Doug,” coach Chris Petersen said. “… The best thing I can say about Doug Martin is even though he’s a fabulous football player, he’s a great team guy. He’ll do whatever we need him to do.”
— Veteran quarterbacks Kellen Moore (14-of-25, 141 yards, two TDs) and Mike Coughlin (3-of-6, 23 yards, one INT) struggled at times, but freshman Joe Southwick (13-of-17, 113 yards) continued to impress. It looks like Southwick is the No. 3.
"He's an impressive freshman, especially at the quarterback position," Petersen said. "He's picked up things real rapidly and he can throw. ... He's been impressive all through camp."
— Several of the linebackers competing for a starting job made nice plays, but they didn't force any turnovers.
— The offensive line hasn't changed many times since Cory Yriarte was lost for the season — left tackle Matt Slater, left guard Will Lawrence, center Thomas Byrd, right guard Kevin Sapien and right tackle Michael Ames. However, Nate Potter fills in for Slater occasionally at left tackle. A decision on the starting five should be made soon.
— Nickel Winston Venable and safety Cedric Febis had big hits in the scrimmage.
— The list of players out with minor injuries included wide receiver Austin Pettis, tailbacks D.J. Harper, Jeremy Avery and Matt Kaiserman, defensive end Shea McClellin and wide receiver Geraldo Hiwat.
Martin's performance might motivate the running backs to get back to practice, Petersen said.
"I'll bet you tomorrow we have some running backs getting healthy," he said. "(Martin) looked pretty good out there and hasn't had a tremendous amount of work."
Former Boise State tailback Ian Johnson wasn't as productive in his second NFL preseason game. Johnson carried six times for 9 yards and had two catches for 24 yards. His main competition, Albert Young, had five carries for 17 yards and two catches for 12 yards. So their numbers were fairly similar for the second straight week.