My belated scrimmage notes -
Beautiful day for football. Sunny, but not too hot. The team was in good spirits as they took the field accompanied by a sound system blasting mostly hip-hop tunes.
The scrimmage was offense/defense (not a split squad). 1's vs. 1's, 2's vs. 2's, etc. for the bulk of the day.
The first score of the day was a 60+ yard pass from Ramart to Malik Woodridge. It was a blown coverage, but the throw was 40 yards in the air, and on-the-money. Ramart showed great poise and accuracy all day long. Deep balls and short routs were equally sharp. Had a nice hard count that drew the defense offside. He did a lot of good things.
Scippio apparently got his required test scores. He is bigger than I anticipated. He made a couple catches, but also dropped what would have been a 20 yard gainer from Ramart. He looks like the real deal.
Jest played with the second D-line. He was in the backfield several times and looks much more svelte than during his first stint with the Zips.
While there was a lot of positives to be taken from the scrimmage, one glaring negative was the 1-4 conversion rate on FG's from O'Leary. Kicks were between 30 and 45 yards. I mentioned to Dr. Z that "If Gasser never kicks a field goal this season, we'll have a great year." If things don't improve, Gasser could be our opening day kicker. Not ideal. Field goal kicking will definitely be something to watch as the summer camp moves forward.
James King is #32, and seemed to be working his way towards some PT. He started with the 3rd group, but played some with the second group as the scrimmage progressed.
Keyondre White is a strong runner. He moves the pile and finishes his runs.
If Deltron Sands can stay healthy, he'll get 1,000 yards this year. Man does he have a burst of speed once he hits the line. He's a special, "next level" back, but he's got to stay healthy. He had a really nice 12 yard run, but took a good hit at the end and fumbled.
And what would an early camp scrimmage be without a scuffle? Maverick Wolfley turned the corner at the goal line and put a good lick on Jordan George as he scored what looked to be a TD. The collision got the guys a little fired up. The referees marked the ball just short of the goal line, and as the players lined up, a little smack talk broke into a mild wrestling match between Kato Nelson and Justin Sampson. It was quickly diffused, and the coaches let the players know in no uncertain terms that fighting wouldn't be tolerated. Ramart got his reps with the starters as Kato was benched for a short while. Later in the scrimmage Kato jogged over to the defensive side and seemed to apologize to Sampson. Kato did eventually get back on the field and all was forgotten.
Kato did some good things on the day. He was especially efficient and smooth in the red zone.
Kwad caught a 30 yard slant from Ramart and showed a few nice juke moves after the catch. While he's relied upon his speed to get open for the bulk of his Zips career, he looks like he's going to be a much more well- rounded receiver this season.
Both Suggs and White got a lot of work. Getting the newcomers a chance to show what they can do was a primary focus of this scrimmage. Said Bowden afterwards "We've got eight to ten guys that are new. We want to get those guys to get the ball...to get them on the field...so we can see what we've got. We have to see if they're someone that can help us right away. After this week we're going to be getting into our game preparation (for Nebraska). You want to see Suggs, you want to see MJ (McGriff) you want to see Brimmage at wideout...guys like Scippio and Jonah Morris. On defense it's a little different, with 9 returning starters, but we certainly wanted to see what Walter Brady can do."
I'd mentioned Brandon Mitchell previously. 6' 6" 220 lb wide out that got a lot of PT on Saturday. He originally tried out for the football team 4 years ago. He had difficulty catching the ball, so he opted to join Dennis Mitchell's track team. Per NCAA rules, if you play 4 years of a given sport, starting as a true freshman, you can play a different sport in your 5th year. So Brandon decided to give football another try. The staff told him "If you want to play football, come out every day and catch 70 - 100 balls." Brandon put in the work, and here he is. He showed the results of his efforts in a nice 15 yard catch courtesy of walk-on TJ Deshields. He also had a nice climb-the-ladder catch in the corner of the end zone that was ruled incomplete. I'm convinced replay would have overruled it. But how nice will it be for the Zips to have a 6' 6" wide out, with hops, in the red zone?! He'll be a fun one to watch in scrimmage #2.
Dylan Meeks spent time with the 3rd and second units. He was frequently in the backfield disrupting plays. He had a really solid scrimmage. Said Bowden on Meeks - "He's so steady. You know he started for Dr. Phillips, and outstanding high school in Orlando as a 9th grader. He's been a state wrestling champ. He's such a smart kid...I don't think he's had a "B" in his life. He's just got such great smarts and ability. There are guys that look more explosive than him, but when it's all said and done he makes plays."
How did Walter Brady get to Akron? He decided somewhat late to leave MTSU and try to hook up with a Power 5 program. Unfortunately the late timing meant there were no scholarships to be had. MTSU head coach Rick Stockstill, a former QB at Florida State under Bobby Bowden, gave Terry a call to let him know of Brady's situation. Now he's a Zip. Says coach Bowden "Walter's a hands down guy. Having him on one side, and Jamal (Davis) on the other really creates a 'vise.' But I want to mention Reinke's looked really good, Josh Ward has looked really good, Sampson's playing outstanding...we have a lot of nice options at defensive end right now."
Bubba Arslanian did not participate. He had a massive bandage on his lower leg. He was walking ok, so I'd guess it is nothing major. Devanier Floyd was also out with a minor injury.
Too many turnovers on the day. But it tough to say whether it was due to bad offense, or a good, ball-hawking defense. Hopefully the latter.