Saturday’s scrimmage seemed like a rehash of spring practice – the defense dominated and the offense was stagnating. Granted, starting running back and preseason first team All-MWC pick Robbie Rouse didn’t play, but the first team offense failed to score in multiple possessions.
Head coach Tim DeRuyter says they are keeping Rouse out of live contact to limit his chance at injury. DeRuyter noted that if he had played, the offense probably has a better day.
“A lot of times the offense is designed for a one-on-one, and Robbie wins a lot of those,” said DeRuyter.
“Defensively, our guys came out with the right attitude…I thought offensively, our guys didn’t match that. Eleven practices in a row, they may need a break, but that’s no excuse. One side of the ball got it done, the other didn’t.”
“We came out today [with the goal], they are not running the ball on us,” said defensive coordinator Nick Toth. “The couple plays they did, we missed tackles…you win championships stopping people running the ball.”
Rouse playing, definitely would have made it more difficult on the defense.
“I really think he’s one of the best running backs in the league,” added Toth. “You are always going to have hard time tackling that guy. Our scheme wouldn’t have been different; our guys just would’ve had more challenge.”
Bottom line, the offense had trouble moving the ball through the air despite having on of the best quarterbacks in the nation in Derek Carr.
“We didn’t execute enough times on offense,” said DeRuyter.
The offense didn’t look much different from spring when the X receiver was the primary read. If not open, Carr would be forced to run or throw the ball away. The deep ball, a staple last year, was non-existent in the scrimmage. And the wide receiver screens seemed to the route of choice if the play call wasn’t to the X.
However, the wide receiver blocking is much better. Last we checked, receivers should be running routes and catching balls, especially when the Bulldogs have such a talented signal caller slinging the rock. But when the ball was in the air, receivers had trouble catching it. This offense calls for the receivers to block, and they are least doing that well.
Rouse will not see significant action until the Sept. 1 opener versus Weber State. Until then, no one, even the coaches, will have any idea on how well this offense will run at full speed against a live defense.
“We still have to correct a lot of things but that’s okay,” said Carr. “We are not going to show [everything], we have one open scrimmage, there’s probably a reason for that.
“Guys are just ready to get back and show the city we are not the same team as last year.”
This will be a different team, but they are still so many questions to be answered.
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