Saturday, April 11, 2009

News and notes from Saturday's scrimmage

Here's what I was told about Saturday's scrimmage, which was closed to the media:

Safety Mike McNeil suffered a serious right leg injury -- possibly a broken leg -- during the scrimmage. Tommy Thigpen said Mike Slade replaced him.

The defense won 61-34 with a modified scoring system.

The offense started strong. Onterio McCalebb made a long run (Kodi Burns estimated it as 70-plus yards), setting up a 1-yard Ben Tate TD rush.

After that, the defense dominated.

DE Antonio Coleman had two or three sacks according to Josh Bynes.

According to Walt McFadden, CB Neiko Thorpe returned an interception about 50 yards for a touchdown. Thorpe said the interception counted for 10 points. Neil Caudle threw the interception, but Burns said it wasn't his fault. Burns said new WR Harry Adams didn't run the correct route, creating the interception.

Offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn said the three QBs -- Burns, Caudle and Barrett Trotter -- evenly split reps. Malzahn indicated this was the final time all three would split reps, though he didn't indicate which QB would be out of the competition for starting QB.

WRs coach Trooper Taylor said Tim Hawthorne had a big play. He bragged about Hawthorne, saying "He's coming into his own, guys. I'm really proud of that kid because boy has he been beat up."

Taylor also reiterated that Philip Pierre-Louis and Montez Billings need to get on the field if they want to be factors. Taylor said he has been hard on PPL to get him in the training room more than once a day. He also said it's time for Billings to get back to practice. "Until he's out there playing and participating, I don't have any comment about him. If he wants to be a part, pushing himself through and get back, we'll go from there. Until then, I'll concentrate on the guys out there."

Internet rumors surfaced yesterday about Coleman walking off practice after an argument with Tracy Rocker. I asked Coleman about what happened Thursday. Here are his responses:

AS: (Good to have a strong showing after difficult week?)
AC: It was a little different. I wouldn’t say it was my best performance but talking with coach Rock, coach Roof – they kind of opened my eyes a little bit about how I lead the team.
AS: (What’d the coaches say?)
AC: Basically I have to step up and be that leader. It’s not showing up on the football field, which was true. I just took their words and I ran with it and I think we had a pretty good day.
AS: (What happened?)
AC: Basically I was hurt and couldn’t go. I basically just went in and got some treatment and just tried to get it taken care of. I went back that day and talked to coach Rock and coach Roof and went back out there and started playing. It was all a big misunderstanding. I don’t know people took it or whatnot, but I was going in to get treatment and get ready for Saturday. Everything’s fine.
AS: (Good to bounce back from ‘misunderstanding’?)
AC: It was a decent scrimmage. It was mediocre. I think I could have done better. I think I opened their eyes a little bit about what I’m about and what I can do for this team.

Unless something breaks, that's it for the weekend. Have a great Easter.

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