Big East weekend scrimmage notes

August, 16, 2010
8/16/10
10:00
AM ET
The first weekend when every Big East team was in fall camp just concluded, which meant plenty of scrimmages.

Several teams had their first full-bore intrasquad scrimmages of the preseason, which can help determine depth charts and give an early indication of how things are going. Here are some notes from those workouts:

PITT: The Panthers went through an 88-play scrimmage, but they did so without injured key players such as Dom DeCicco, Myles Caragein, Andrew Taglianetti and Greg Romeus, who continues to be unavailable with back spasms. In addition, Jabaal Sheard, Dion Lewis and Jon Baldwin played limited snaps.

Ray Graham was taken out of the scrimmage after going down with a knee injury, but it did not appear to be serious. Quarterback Tino Sunseri was just 5-for-11 for 61 yards, while backup Pat Bostick impressed by going 9-of-15 for 163 yards and three scores.

RUTGERS: Defense dominated in the Scarlet Knights' 2 1/2 hour scrimmage, which is not surprising given how strong the Rutgers 'D' looks. The offense, which played without Howard Barbieri and Joe Martinek, scored just one touchdown while the defense scored off a turnover and had two safeties.

Quarterback Tom Savage went just 8-of-15 for 52 yards as the offense managed just 74 yards on its first 29 plays. De'Antwan Williams hoped to make a push for the No. 2 running back job but finished with just 13 yards on four carries while losing a fumble. Mason Robinson scored the lone TD.

WEST VIRGINIA: Head coach Bill Stewart mostly didn't like what he saw out of the Mountaineers' first scrimmage.

"Sloppy tackling, not breaking on the ball, not doing back-side cutoff blocks, not hustling, drops, exchange snaps,'' he said. "I'm not real pleased. [We] didn't play up to our standards."

Noel Devine did, though, ripping off a 79-yard touchdown run and then taking most of the rest of the day off. And so did Bruce Irvin. The junior-college import recorded two sacks as West Virginia lined up with four defensive linemen. Coaches and teammates are singing the praises of Irvin for his quickness and burst so far in practice.

Quarterbacks Geno Smith and freshmen Barry Brunetti and Jeremy Johnson combined to complete 16 of 18 passes for 113 yards on mostly short routes.

SOUTH FLORIDA: Defense was also ahead of the offense at South Florida, as the Bulls mustered one touchdown in a nearly 150-snap scrimmage.

Quarterback B.J. Daniels missed 11 of his first 12 passes and finished 7-for-22 for 70 yards. True freshman backup Jamius Gunsby did look good, though, going 12-for-17 for 169 yards, including a 58-yard completion. But the defense had three interceptions.

"Right now we're a long way from being productive as an offensive football team," coach Skip Holtz said. "With the penalties and dropped passes and missing open receivers and inconsistencies in the passing game, it's very difficult to get anything into rhythm. We've got a lot of work to do right now, but I think the attitude is good and they're willing."

SYRACUSE: Coach Doug Marrone was disgusted by his team's lack of physicality on Friday, especially the offense, so he emphasized that in Saturday's first full-contact, two-hour scrimmage.

So the focus was on running the ball and running it hard, which Delone Carter did. Sophomore quarterback Ryan Nassib remained turnover-free. Freshman linebacker Marquis Spruill got some looks with the first-team defense at outside linebacker, where he's battling with Ryan Gillum.

LOUISVILLE: Head coach Charlie Strong held his scrimmage behind closed doors, with no fans or media allowed to attend. So details of the 90-play scrimmage were unknown. The school's official account said the Cardinals worked on situations like 1st-and-10 from their own 30, 1st-and-10 from the 12 inside the red zone and 1st-and-10 from their own 1.

"Early in the scrimmage, the offense didn't move the ball very well, but the longer we went, the better it got," Strong said. "We still have a long way to go and we still have to get better. We have to improve our tackling and we need some guys to really step up and become leaders of this team."

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