April 5, 2009

Scrimmage Recap- Defense

The Boston College football team held their first scrimmage of the spring on Saturday afternoon at Alumni Stadium. Before we dive into details, let's first go over how the scrimmage is played because it's not like a normal football game.

Who Plays: The 1st string offense goes against the 1st string defense, and the 2nd string offense goes against the 2nd string defense

Time Limits: The game is not timed. Each "string" gets 12 snaps and then switches off with the other "string"

Kickoff and Punts: None. Therefore, each series of 12 snaps starts off on a specific spot on the field. Those pre-assigned spots for the offense are- Own 20, Own 35, 50, Opponents 35, and Red zone

Other Quirks: There are downs just like a real game. Since there are no punts, when 4th down comes up the offense "resets". It becomes 1st down again, and the offense restarts at the pre-assigned yard spot for that series of 12 snaps.

Quarterback Protection: The quarterbacks are down when they are touched.

Defensive Line

Dominic Scafe has the biggest shoes to fill on the defense this year trying to replace future 1st round NFL Draft selection B.J. Raji. So far, it looks like he's assumed that responsibility quite nicely. Scafe didn't waste much time recording his first tackle for a loss of the spring when he took down Josh Haden for a 4 yard loss early in the scrimmage. The defensive tackle didn't have many other big plays the rest of the way, but that was because he started to draw a double team from the offensive line.

For the 2nd unit, Brad Newman had by far the most impressive day on the line. Newman recorded a deflected pass and hurried the different quarterbacks on a number of occasions.

Overall the rest of the 2nd string had a tough time getting penetration against the offensive line. That had to be somewhat expected though since some of the starting offensive linemen were playing with the second string.

Linebackers

There's no doubt that aside from the quarterback battle, one of the most watched stories this spring will be seeing how Will Thompson will do filling in for the injured Mike McLaughin. Thompson eased the minds of a lot of BC fans after his performance on Saturday, as he registered six tackles according to BC Media Relations. With all due respect to the staff at BC I'd take the over on that one, because if Thompson only recorded six tackles it was the loudest six tackles I've ever seen.

Mark Herzlich and Nick Clancy also performed well in what amounted to a great performance by the oinebackers. Herzlich had a pick six (weird huh?) off of Dominique Davis and Clancy picked off Davis twice. It was somewhat of a surprise to see how good of a pair of hands Clancy has.

Secondary

One of the most surprising moments of the scrimmage came before the ball was even snapped when Roderick Rollins marched on the field with the starters ahead of DeLeon Gause. It's unclear whether the coaches were trying to send a message to Gause or not by not starting him, but if they were it worked.

Gause looked outstanding in pass coverage the whole day and had the nicest pass deflection on the day when he batted away a long bomb intended for Clyde Lee. In addition to great pass coverage, Gause made a huge play by recovering a fumble by Justin Tuggle and took it back 45 yards for a touchdown.

On the flip side, Rollins didn't play particularly well. While Rollins' coverage was alright, his tackling was very poor. On several occasions Rollins failed to make the tackle when in a one-on-one situation. If the senior can't improve his tackling he won't find his way into the starting lineup.

For the 2nd team, redshirt freshman Okechukwu Okoroha performed well at safety. Okoroha showed the ability to read plays well, especially run plays. Twice Okoroha came up to meet a running back at the line of scrimmage for no gain.

Special Teams

The wind conditions made it tough on the kickers, so we'll have to reserve judgment until they play in more favorable conditions. Steve Aponavicius was 1-for-3 on field goal attempts, hitting from 30 yards out and missing from 34 and 40 yards out. Ryan Quigley wasn't a lot better as he missed on his only attempt, a 37-yard field goal.

Before the scrimmage, the team practiced punting. Again, weather conditions made it tough to judge the punters. However, credit has to be given to Rich Gunnell, Clyde Lee, and Montel Harris all of whom did a spectacular job catching punts on such a windy day.


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