The Canes held their second scrimmage of the spring on Friday evening. They took this one on the road to Ft. Myers, about two and a half hours away from campus. There was a standing room only crowd of about 5000 people, including many high profile recruits, their teammates, and their coaches. The scrimmage also served to help get a lot of fans reacquainted with the team, since many of them don't get to travel to see games. As it turned out, the spectators got to see a lot of the offense, although it only ended up in two touchdowns. The defense had a spectacular showing, with interceptions, sacks (of a sort), and big hits. Check the recap after the jump!
Let's start with the offense. Obviously with Stephen Morris still out after back surgery, the quarterback play is going to be a bit of a growing pain. Ryan Williams ran the majority of the offense, since he has been the most consistent in practices. He had a decent game overall, finishing with 17 completions out of thirty three attempts. He threw two touchdowns, but also had two picks, although one was tipped. His first touchdown came on a 13 yard pass to Kendall Thompkins, and the second when he hit Rashawn Scott at the seven yard line. His interceptions were both in the end zone, courtesy of Ladarius Gunter and Denzel Perryman. The pick to Gunter was a forced throw into double coverage, and the one to Perryman (his first of two on the game) came on a tipped ball.
The run game was existent, but not flashy. The longest runs of the game were a pair of 15 yard runs from walk on Darris Hughes when the third team offense was on the field, and Mike James also had a 15 yard run up the middle after he lines up at fullback. The low running numbers were not so much an indictment of the run game itself, but more about the defense, which we will cover next. The receivers and tight ends had a couple of nice grabs, with Scott catching a 34 yard pass, and Walford rumbling on a catch and run for 27 yards. There was only one other reception longer than 20 yards, and it was courtesy of Garrett Kidd, another walk on.
Now let's get to the defensive side of the ball. There were a total of three interceptions, and nine sacks. It should be noted that a sack in this case occurred when the QB was touched, since they were not allowed to be hit. Chickillo had three sacks by himself, which was huge after he missed a few practices with a back strain. Freshman early enrollee Dwayne Hoilett had two sacks, and Curtis Porter had one on a botched snap. The remaining sacks came from Ricardo Williams, Gionni Paul, and Denzel Perryman with one apiece. Perryman also added a second interception when he picked off Gray Crow on a pass that was thrown straight to him. If you have any questions on how seriously Perryman is taking his brand new starting middle linebacker position, he had blood dripping down his nose from a cut after the scrimmage. A big reason with why the run game was a no show was hits for loss. Curtis Porter, Raphael Kirby, Olsen Pierre, and Darius Smith. Kirby had two tackles for loss, both against Eduardo Clements. Unfortunately, Clements was on the wrong end of almost all of the tackles behind the line of scrimmage.
Overall, the defense showed a lot of promise, and that was without the higher profile recruits. D'Onofrio said that while he reserves judgement until after he watches tape, he did say that he noticed the kids were very physical. He noted that they were locked in, knew what they were doing, and played sharp. The offense did struggle a bit, with missed blocks, dropped passes, and forced throws. Ryan Williams said that the younger QB's played a bit nervous the first scrimmage, but seemed a lot more comfortable out there this time around. The offense will improve with time, and with some of the guys coming back from injuries. The team was left without a starting fullback with Hagans hurt prior to the scrimmage, and CJ Holton getting hurt early in this scrimmage. That meant one less blocker on the field, although Mike James filled in. The wide out corps is not at full strength just yet, although Scott and Jenkins have been playing nicely. This was a great opportunity for the team to showcase what they can do in front of a lot of fans and future recruits, and the road game scrimmage should definitely be repeated.
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