Monday, April 23, 2012
Spring scrimmage roundup
By Kevin Gemmell
Catching you up on the spring games and scrimmages from over the weekend.
All three of Arizona State's quarterbacks did some good things during Saturday's spring games. ASU didn't keep official stats, but Doug Haller of the Arizona Republic kept his own unofficial stats here.
Michael Eubank completed 8 of 15 passes for three touchdowns, Mike Bercovici went 12-of-21 for a pair of scores and Taylor Kelly was 10-of-12 with a touchdown and an interception. Eubank also rushed for a touchdown to go with 52 yards on the ground.
But the highlight might have been the performance of running back James Morrison, who carried 13 times for 83 yards and a score.
"I thought 'Tank' Morrison had an incredible spring," Graham said following Saturday's game. "... I think Tank is a guy that's going to contribute, no doubt about it."
Haller reports it was a pretty vanilla showing from the defense -- adding that linebacker Jason Franklin and cornerback Joe Eason logged interceptions.
"Once they started grasping and understanding the vision and our philosophy, the football part of it started to come along faster," defensive coordinator Paul Randolph said of implementing the system. "We threw the whole kitchen sink at them. We got everything in."
Zach Maynard completed 6 of 10 passes and tossed a 29-yard touchdown to Maurice Harris to open the scoring of the Cal Football Spring Experience. He also added a 1-yard touchdown run that put his team ahead 14-3. But his "Blue" team would ultimately fall to the "Gold" squad as a pair of long James Langford field goals, a C.J. Anderson touchdown run and a 40-yard touchdown pass from Zach Kline put the Gold team in front for good.
With the Blue team trailing 21-14, Austin Hinder connected with Stephen Anderson on a 75-yard touchdown as time expired. But the 2-point conversion failed and the Gold team held on 21-20.
“It was a good game, a hard-fought game and a good practice overall,” Maynard said. “Unfortunately, we got beat by one point.”
Kline, who threw a 40-yard touchdown to tight end Spencer Hagan in the fourth quarter and also completed the 2-point conversion, is off limits to the media. But Maynard said after the game that he thought Kline played well.
"Zach did very well today," Maynard said. "He's progressed since he's been here. He's one of those high-caliber type of guys so he's going to perform quickly and early."
Anderson looked particularly strong, rushing for 85 yards on 14 carries, which included a 15-yard touchdown run.
John Crumpacker of the San Francisco Chronicle noted strong defensive performancesfrom Mustafa Jalil and Cecil Whiteside. Puka Lopa, Whiteside and Nick Forbes shared game-high honors with seven tackles apiece.
Following Saturday's scaled-down scrimmage, head coach Jim Mora said he was "encouraged, but not satisfied."
And it doesn't look like there is much clarity in the way of the quarterback competition, either. Richard Brehaut, Kevin Prince and Brett Hundley all threw interceptions. Though Prince and Brehaut both threw touchdowns to Steven Manfro.
Due to injuries and a lack of depth at several key positions, Mora made Saturday more about situational scrimmaging rather than a full experience.
"We are moving closer to the kids understanding my expectations," offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone told Chris Foster of the L.A. Times. " … It's hard for me to get mad at them for trying to run stuff they have never run before. We're getting to the point where these guys should have a handle on it. It's like a Rubik's Cube; you have to keep turning it until the colors line up."
Jordan Wynn completed 8 of 11 passes for 124 yards and a score, but two of the incompletions were interceptions in the annual spring game in front of more than 13,500 at Rice-Eccles Stadium.
Wynn's touchdown was a 48-yarder to Dres Anderson. It looked like he had touchdown No. 2, but a holding call negated the 21-yard pass to Westlee Tonga and Wynn was picked off in the end zone on the next play by Tyler Cahoon.
Naturally, head coach Kyle Whittingham isn't thrilled with turnovers in the end zone.
"You can't turn the ball over," he told Mike Sorenson of the Deseret News. "That's job one for the offense. You have to take care of the ball and we didn't get that done. That was one of the negatives, but the flip side is, the defense was making plays and they came up with two interceptions."
Running back Jarrell Oliver ran for a pair of scores and 24 yards on five carries.
Defensively, Dave Fagergren also had an interception and Joape Pela, running-back-turned-defensive end Thretton Palamo and Cameron Taylor all logged sacks.
"A lot of progress was made in many areas," said Whittingham. "Always, the most critical thing for us is to get fundamentals and technique sound during spring football. There is some scheme we will also put in with the change of coordinators. But overall, this was a very positive spring. We stayed very healthy, which is always something in question. It is still a work in progress, but with each successive recruiting class we have been able to add to the depth."
Jeff Tuel was a crisp 19-of-21 for 285 yards two touchdowns as the first team offense had its strongest showing of the spring.
"Guys kind of let it go and we just played," Tuel said. "There wasn't a lot of hesitation from the first-team offense which was good to see. ... It's easy to come into a scrimmage and not be 100 percent focused. Today we really treated it like a game so guys came real focused and were real sharp with their routes and my reads and the receivers and myself were really on the same page and I felt good about it."
Marquess Wilson and Dominique Williams both had monster receiving days. Wilson caught four balls for 149 yards and a score and Williams had five catches for 122 yards to go with his touchdown.
Logan Mayes continued to be a terror on the defensive side, notching 4.5 touch sacks.
"I was pretty happy with our play, especially the D-line," Mayes said. "I feel like we've been getting after it all spring and we really proved it here. ... People are thinking of us as an offensive team right now, but we have some good defensive players out there. It's going to be an exciting year I think."