NCF Nation: Ryan Gillum
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."
Posted by ESPN.com's Brian Bennett
Syracuse: The Orange could get a boost in their backfield if Delone Carter is able to play Saturday at South Florida. Carter has missed three games with a hamstring pull but is expected to be ready this week. He could offer a counterpunch to Curtis Brinkley, who's had four 100-yard rushing days already this season. Wide receiver Dan Sheeran (broken leg) and linebacker Chad Battles (foot) are both out until at least Nov. 1, while linebacker Ryan Gillum (foot) is probably done for the season.
Louisville: With Richard Raglin out with an injured arm and Latarrius Thomas dealing with a lingering knee issue, the Cardinals turned to former walk-on Daniel Covington as a starting safety at Memphis. Covington, a junior who was put on scholarship this summer, recorded 12 tackles in the game and now ranks second on the team with 27 stops. Head coach Steve Kragthorpe also said he wants to find ways to keep true freshman outside linebacker Dexter Heyman on the field when the Cardinals go to their nickel and dime packages.
West Virginia: Alric Arnett looked like the next West Virginia star when the receiver caught four passes for 70 yards and two touchdowns in the season opener against Villanova. In the five games since, however, Arnett has just nine receptions for 77 yards and no scores. Head coach Bill Stewart said Arnett and senior Dorrell Jalloh (eight catches for 76 yards on the season) need to get involved more. On the plus side, 6-foot-8 receiver Wes Lyons has come on lately. He had four catches for 44 yards last week against Rutgers.
South Florida: The Bulls are sacrificing some depth at cornerback by switching junior-college transfer Theo Wilson to receiver. Wilson, who's recovering from a knee injury, played quarterback, running back and receiver at Pearl River Community College last season and had returned punts for South Florida earlier this season. "He's a big threat when he has the ball in his hands, and that's what we're looking for," passing game coordinator/wide receivers coach Mike Canales said. Wilson's switch leaves the Bulls with only four experienced cornerbacks to rotate.
Rutgers: Kordell Young's up-and-down season is back on the uptick. The sophomore running back was pegged as the main replacement for Ray Rice this season and had 94 yards on 26 carries in the opener against Fresno State. But then he started experiencing knee soreness and at one point late last month was feared lost for the season. Young returned to action last weekend at Cincinnati and carried 22 times for 78 yards. He's now listed as the co-starter at tailback, along with redshirt freshman Jourdan Brooks. Rutgers has started three different players at the position in six games.