Defense Gains Upper Hand in First Scrimmage

Logan Harrell

Both the offense and defense cannot have great days. But neither has to have an awful day either. The Bulldogs' quarterback play was – for the lack of a better term – atrocious. While some of the blame can be placed on the wind, dropped passes, and shifting of the offensive line, the defense deserves a good portion of the credit…

"I really like they way we are playing defense," said head coach Pat Hill. "I think you can see we have real good team speed. We just have to stay consistent. Right now, we are further ahead on defense. I'm very happy with the way our defensive performed today."
Coach Hill's Post Scrimmage Comments –

Defensively, the ‘Dogs looked quicker and faster off the edges.

Matt Akers recorded three of the defense's 11 tackles for losses. Chris Carter had two sacks while Chris Lewis and Logan Harrell each had one TFL and one sack. Harrell shot through the A gap on more than on occasion. His quick burst gave the interior linemen – particularly Matt Hunt – fits all afternoon. But Akers impressed us the most.

Down from his 245 pounds from last fall, the 6-foot-3, 225-pound Akers abused the Bulldog offensive tackles with his quick first step. Akers says he feels lighter on his feet, but hopes to add another 10-15 pounds by fall camp and keep his speed.

Interview with Akers following the scrimmage –

The defense dominated the line of the scrimmage for most of the scrimamge.

Offensively, Ryan Colburn took the first reps with the first team, and it went downhill quickly after that.

Colburn's Post Scrimmage Comments –

Colburn connected on his fist attempt – a quick pass to the left to Lonyae Miller, who took it for a 13-yard gain. Colburn would start 2-for-2, hitting Ryan Mathews for eight yards on his next attempt. However, he would hit just one of his next five passes. All five of his passes to the wide receivers were incomplete. But Derek Carr, Ebahn Feathers, and Matt Faulkner didn't fare much better.

In spite of completing just 20% of his passes, Carr was on target on most of his throws. Dropped passes and strong wind contributed eight incomplete passes while passing for just 13 yards. However, he attempted the only two long balls on the afternoon – both to Devon Wylie – and each was a well thrown spiral with one hitting Wylie on the facemask and the other slightly overthrown. But his best pass was completed after the whistle was blown.

"I didn't think I was sacked but they blew the whistle – we'll see on film," Carr said of Carter's apparent sack as he threw a sidearm bullet to Jamel Hamler.

"I spun around – felt the pressure – spun away from it. I saw Hamler coming across and I saw a little window I could put it in. The only way I could get it there was sidearm. So, I had to throw it down by my hip, but it got there."

The play was reminiscent of a shortstop making a play to first, and Carr said after the scrimmage that he played a little bit of shortstop growing up.

Feathers also hit only 20% of his passes, but he did complete the longest throw on the day – 17 yards to Wylie. Nonetheless, his highlights mostly came on the ground. He took his first snap from the pistol and finished as the leading rusher with 29 yards on four attempts. Only one of his runs was by design – 3 yards on a QB draw. Yet, he may have finished with over 60 yards rushing if the coaches had not blown the whistle on two of his three scrambles.

Faulkner started just 1-of-7 but completed his final three attempts – the last going for 12 yards to Darren Newborne for the only touchdown through the air for the offense. He also led the ‘Dogs with 36 yards passing.

The receivers didn't help. There were nearly 10 combined drops just by the receivers alone. Seyi Ajirotutu, Jamel Hamler, Marlon Moore, and Chastin West combined for just two receptions for 13 yards. Newborne led all receivers with three grabs for 30 yards and the score.

Jamal Rashad was the offense's most outstanding player. He finished with three carries for 17 yards, but he had a 14-yard touchdown run called back on an illegal procedure penalty – one of just two penalties among the 67 plays in the hour and a half scrimmage.

A.J. Ellis scored the only other touchdown on the afternoon on a two-yard run. He finished with 11 yards on three carries. Michael Harris led all backs with seven carries, but he totaled only 11 yards.

The defense did have its low points as well. Zak Hill, Marvin Haynes, and Phillip Thomas each dropped interceptions. And the secondary had a coverage breakdown on more than one occasion, but the quarterbacks couldn't take advantage of the defensive lapse.

Kevin Goessling and Andrew Shapiro combined to go 2-for-2 on field goal attempts from 37 and 42 yards, respectively.

Goessling nails his lone field goal attempt on the day.

For more notes from the scrimmage, including complete stats and an injury update click HERE for access to the Doghouse Forum.

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