CEDAR CITY, Utah, Aug. 13 - Southern Utah University's football team conducted its first full scrimmage of the fall Saturday, and although it was at times sloppy, both units, the offense and the defense, had a share of success.
The first defense allowed just one score in the situational workout, which began with special teams play, moved to red-zone situations, and concluded with a series of two-minute drills.
That one score allowed was "one too many" according to secondary coach Demario Warren, but, tempering his disappointment was the fact that it was the only score the first-D has allowed all fall, in any practice.
The score came against the first offense, when Brad Sorensen found Austin Minefee on a nine-yard swing pass midway through the scrimmage in the red zone portion of the workout.
The first offense did have success in the red zone against the second defense, however. Sorensen hooked up with Jared Ursua on a 15-yard scoring toss, with Ursua diving over a defender into the end zone for the first score of the day, and Deckar Alexander ran one yard up the middle for another score by the first unit.
The second offense had success as well, as J.J. Mayer found Jameson Gann, a transfer tight end from Colorado State, from 20 and five yards out on a pair of scoring tosses in the red zone against the No. 2 and No. 3 defenses.
The first defense then held the first offense again in the two minute drills, but part of the offense's problem came from penalties. The second time through the drill, which matched up like units, the offense was able to move the ball, but was also whistled for four penalties, which stymied the drive.
All-American candidate Tyler Osborne and Herman Sword had big plays for the defense. Osborne, a defensive end, had an eight yard sack, while Sword who is fighting for a starting position, had one 10-yard tackle for loss.
"The key to defense is playing sound football and playing with great passion, and they've got coaches who are coaching them to play sound football," Head Coach Ed Lamb pointed out. "More importantly there is a whole group of defensive coaches over there that understand that passion and enthusiasm and energy is the number-one priority. That's how they coach, every day, and they demand that of the players, I've really been pleased.
"I think our passion on defense is greater than it's ever been," he added.
Lamb also wasn't as discouraged as one might expect by the sloppy aspects of the scrimmage.
"As an entire team we weren't very good today, and that's good for us, because at this point in camp, if we're executing on all cylinders then we're gong to be feeling a little too good about ourselves," he said. "If anything we wanted a daily awakening in humility.
"I expect in the next two Saturdays, when we get together and try to mimic a game-like atmosphere that we'll have fewer and fewer penalties, and that our offense will be more efficient at moving the ball and staying out of long-yardage situations, and I expect our defense to keep up their intensity and enthusiasm," he added.
The team will practice twice Monday, then take three days off before resuming workouts on Friday and scrimmaging again Saturday at 4:30 p.m.
The season opens Sept. 3, when the Thunderbirds travel to Brookings, S.D. to take on South Dakota State.
-- SUU --