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Monday, August 20, 2012
Weekend scrimmage roundup

By Ted Miller

The screws are tightening with position battles. This coming weekend is our last without games.

So what's going on around the league? Here's a look from this past weekend.

Arizona: The offense rolled up 628 total yards but the defense, based on a scoring system, won 50-49. So, if you're the happy, optimistic sort, view that as a win-win. It was notable the defense recorded six sacks against a veteran offensive line. The Wildcats had just 10 all of last season. QB Matt Scott continues to show signs he's going to thrive in Rich Rodriguez's offense. He completed 11 of 14 yards for 198 yards and two touchdowns. “There were a lot of great plays out here today,” Rodriguez told his team, according to a release provided by the school. “But we didn’t have as much enthusiasm as I thought we would." If you're the sort who looks for things to worry about, a lack of enthusiasm for a scrimmage that was open to fans -- but curiously closed to reporters -- would be something you could latch on to when you're not fretting about the Wildcats defense.

Arizona State: It appears the QB competition is about to resolve itself and it's going to be either Taylor Kelly starting and Michael Eubank coming on in relief or Eubank just taking the job. In the scrimmage Saturday, Kelly completed 6 of 10 for 162 yards with two TDs and no interceptions. Eubank completed 12 of 16 for 96 yards with a TD and rushed for 106 yards and a TD on 15 carries. Eubank's ability as a runner makes him a certainty to play. As for the scrimmage, despite being banged up at running back, the offense was mostly in control. The defense, in fact, gave up several big plays, which might be a cause for concern.

Colorado: The Buffaloes had a 96-play scrimmage, their first so far of camp, on Saturday. It was closed and no stats were released. It also was the first with new starting QB Jordan Webb doing his starting thing. The Buffs three best defensive players LBs Jon Major and Doug Rippy, safety Ray Polk didn't participate, and there was no news on who Webb's backup will be between Connor Wood and Nick Hirschman. One consistent theme was the notable play of receiver Keenan Canty.

Stanford: Stanford scrimmaged for 70 plays in front of 1,500 fans, and the defense was mostly in control .“It’s hard to tell when our offense doesn’t make yards, if the defense is just so good or because we didn’t do something right," coach David Shaw said in a news release. The QB competition, Shaw, said will be resolved by next Sunday. Senior Josh Nunes (7-of-10 passing, 49 yards, 1 TD) and junior quarterback Brett Nottingham (5-of-6, 125 yards) each led the offense to a TD in the scrimmage.

UCLA: You can read a thorough wrap-up of UCLA's surprise Sunday scrimmage here. QB Brett Hundley threw four TD passes and showed good ability outside the pocket. It also appears that Richard Brehaut is in position to eclipse Kevin Prince as Hundley's backup. The defense grabbed four interceptions and kicker Ka'imi Fairbairn had a good day with several long field goals. Steven Manfro returned a kickoff for a TD.

USC: While USC is supposed to be all about its star-studded offense, it's defense dominated on Sunday, and the offense looked sloppy, giving the ball away five times. “The offense did not play very well and there was a lack of execution all over,” coach Lane Kiffin said in a news release. “But it was a really good day for the defense. They really responded.” Quarterbacks Matt Barkley and Max Wittek each threw a pair of interceptions. Barkley was 9-of-19 passing for 119 yards and had a 25-yard scoring pass to fullback Soma Vainuku. Wittek was 6-of-16. Quarterback Cody Kessler was 3-of-8 for 29 yards, including a 1-yard TD pass to wide receiver Victor Blackwell. Tailback D.J. Morgan had a 20-yard TD run, while Penn State transfer Silas Redd gained 59 yards on nine carries, but lost a fumble. Fellow tailback Curtis McNeal ran for 23 yards on 5 carries and tailback Buck Allen had 31 yards on 6 tries. Receiver Robert Woods had four catches for 67 yards.

Utah: The Utes' weekend scrimmage mostly focused on younger players. The only concern was QB Jordan Wynn sat out his third consecutive session, resting a tired throwing shoulder.

Washington: The Huskies defense was mostly in control during a Saturday, 85-play scrimmage. The offense scored two TDs, both by the No. 1 offense against the No. 2 defense. QB Keith Price, however, played well, completing 14 of 18 throws for 176 yards with TD passes of 9 yards (WR Kasen Williams) and 30 yards (TE Michael Hartvigson). Bishop Sankey rushed for 58 yards on seven carries, while Jesse Callier had 23 yards on five carries.