By Chadd Cripe
© 2011 Idaho Statesman
Here are some notes, quotes and observations on Saturday night’s scrimmage. A recap of the scrimmage is available here — with some fan comments on the action.
The defense was not pleased with its performance. Their goal is three turnovers per practice — they run gassers if they don’t get them — and they didn’t get any in the scrimmage. They also allowed a couple big pass plays and struggled with the running backup quarterbacks.
“That was probably the best thing for us today — going up against those guys who are extremely mobile and that’s what we’re going to see down in Georgia as well,” senior defensive end Jarrell Root said. “It’s not something we normally see but we’ve seen it before and we should have played it a little better.”
Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray rushed for 167 yards and four touchdowns last year. Considering the Bulldogs allowed 25 sacks, which counts against the rushing total, that’s a fairly impressive number.
The always entertaining Root broke down his sack of Kellen Moore, on which he knocked the quarterback down (the problem was a miscommunication on the line):
“It’s always good to get a freebie. It definitely was a freebie. The line split and I just got the holy path to Kellen and you just don’t mess with the money. I’m a little upset with myself for throwing him down. That’s not something we want. If he falls down and hurts a finger, I’m going to be sad.”
I’ll have a feature on Root in Tuesday’s paper. He is a fun guy who has become one of the leaders of the defense despite his backup role.
As I posted in the comments of yesterday’s blog, the key aspect of the offensive performance was the lack of sloppy play — turnovers, penalties and sacks. The first-team offense wasn’t as productive as it would have liked but the deck is stacked against the offense because the defense knows the plays and this offense is built around using formations to create matchup issues for the defense. In the scrimmage, the Broncos run their base plays.
The game plan should help the young receivers create separation from defenders.
“When we get to the actual game and we’re able to formation a few things, I think those (receivers) can make plays,” coach Chris Petersen said.
Said Moore: “There weren’t as many mental mistakes (as the first scrimmage) and little detail things that you have to correct. It’s kind of a progression through camp of getting better day after day. I think we’re reaching that point where we’re excited about what’s to come.”
The kicking job is clearly a two-man race between redshirt freshman Dan Goodale, the favorite, and junior Michael Frisina. Goodale has much more pop in his leg, with Frisina limited to 40 to 45 yards. But Frisina has made tremendous improvement since spring ball and had the better scrimmage.
Freshman Jake Van Ginkel apparently will redshirt. He kicked the PATs in the scrimmage but not field goals.
Goodale made a 47-yarder. He and Frisina were each 1-for-2 from 42 yards.
“I do think they’re going to be solid for us, I really do,” Petersen said. “… Those two guys have been competing pretty well neck and neck most of camp.”
My wide receivers preview ran in today’s paper. It included a depth chart that you can read here. It appears six players are going to carry the bulk of the load — Tyler Shoemaker, Chris Potter, Mitch Burroughs, Geraldo Boldewijn, Kirby Moore and Matt Miller. It’s still unclear whether Dallas Burroughs will play this year, but judging by how they used him in the scrimmage I think they’re leaning toward redshirting him. I’m fairly sure Troy Ware will redshirt.
I asked wide receivers coach Robert Prince about Dallas Burroughs the other day.
“He does bring a lot of speed to the group and that’s always good to have,” Prince said. “It took him a few days but now he’s starting to have some football speed out there. We kind of teased him a little bit about it. … When you’re on a track, you don’t have to worry about anyone trying to knock you off your course. That’s one of the things he’s learned. And he has to think a little bit out there on his feet because we do have some adjustments on some routes. He’s doing a better job with that.”
Senior left tackle Nate Potter on the offensive line: “The O-line made progress. I thought we played a lot harder than we did last scrimmage and we played more physical.”
True freshman linebacker Blake Renaud looked good in the scrimmage and has progressively gotten better through camp. I think he’s going to have to be the No. 5 linebacker, which becomes more important with J.C. Percy injured.
Speaking of injuries, here’s the list of guys who didn’t participate: Percy, Shoemaker, defensive tackle Chase Baker, cornerback Ebo Makinde, safety Taylor Loffler, defensive end Nick Alexander, tailback Drew Wright, tailback Zach Keiser and offensive tackle Faraji Wright. Petersen won’t say much on injuries but didn’t seem particularly concerned about them. He said before camp that Makinde likely would miss games with his chest injury. Tight end Chandler Koch limped off and wide receiver Aaron Burks was carted off during the scrimmage. Petersen would only say that those injuries don’t appear to be season-ending.
Coach Chris Petersen was thrilled to see the crowd of 15,632, which beat the Spring Game record of 14,445.
Last year’s fall scrimmage crowd was estimated at 12,500.
“Most impressive, best part of the day. Without question,” he said. “We’ve been practicing for quite a long time here and one thing that we haven’t had anything close to was that energy — not brought by our team but by Bronco Nation. We really needed that. You could tell the change in their demeanor just by (fans) being out here.”
The scrimmage was the last practice of the year that is open to the media. The Broncos will have kind of a quiet week this week, in part because of the three-practice NCAA penalty. School begins Monday, so that’s a day off. The team will be back to practice Tuesday and have another day off Wednesday, when Petersen will have a press conference.
So now that you’ve seen the team in action, what’s your biggest concern headed into the season?