First full dress scrimmage of 2013 Photo: Michael Rollins
After almost five partiallly-padded practices, and a sixth with just helmets and shorts, the Bears finally went live Saturday afternoon, holding the first of their three full contact scrimmages planned for spring practice. As earlier in this series, we report the latest depth chart changes, practice observations, and relevant updates.
Throughout most of spring practice, the three main candidates for Bear Raid commander – Jared Goff, Zach Kline and Austin Hinder – have been relatively close together in terms of performance. That changed at the scrimmage, when Jared Goff was clearly the best on the day.
The true freshman looked quite poised, completing all the throws that should have been made, and taking chances only when they needed to be taken – there was nothing resembling unnecessary risk when he had the ball in his hands, and the offense moved efficiently under his command. Goff was also the only quarterback to lead multiple scoring drives today.
Zach Kline provided the day's biggest highlight with a 98 yard touchdown pass to Joel Willis, but had subsequent drives cut short by a sack and a fumble. Hinder showed more of his mobility today than at any other practice, taking a few designed runs himself and completing a few nice throws out of pocket. However, like Kline, Hinder also saw his next few drives hampered by penalties and sacks, which put him in difficult to convert third and long situations – the kind that Goff was able to avoid all afternoon.
Though each had their moments, Jared Goff was clearly more productive than the others on Saturday.
An unofficial drive summary of their respective times under center
Goff – Touchdown pass to Bryce Treggs, punt, 3-and-out, Jonah Hodges touchdown run, touchdown pass to Bryce Treggs
Kline – Touchdown pass to Joel Willis, Darren Ervin fumble, 3-and out, punt,
Hinder – Touchdown pass to Maurice Harris, 3-and out, 3-and out, 3-and out
The first team offense for the scrimmage today consisted of Bryce Treggs, Kenny Lawler, Chris Harper, Jackson Bouza, with Freddie Tagaloa, Jordan Rigsbee, Matt Cochran, Alejandro Crostwaithe, and Bill Tyndall rounding out the offensive line. Jared Goff joined them, although all three quarterbacks rotated in regularly.
The first team defense remained the same as it has for the past few practices, with Kam Jackson and Stefan McClure at cornerback, Michael Lowe and Avery Sebastian at safety, Nick Forbes, Jalen Jefferson and Khairi Fortt at linebacker, and Dan Camporeale, Kyle Kragen, Mustafa Jalil and Deandre Coleman rounding out the defensive line. Todd Barr, who normally rotates in with this unit, was not available today.
The second team offensive line was the same as it has been in recent practices, with Brian Farley at left tackle, Steven Moore at left guard, Mark Brazinski at center, Geoffrey Gibson at right guard, and Christian Okafor at right tackle.
The scrimmage ended with five scores for the offense, and roughly that many stops for the defense. Michael Barton was simply everywhere during the scrimmage, showing off great instincts and a nose for the football all afternoon. He was also part of a group of Bears who forced a fumble by Darren Ervin. Nathan Broussard was another active participant, snuffing out several runs on his own, and looked better Saturday than he did for most of last season.
On the defensive line, Kyle Kragen and Mustafa Jalil continued to be terrors, tallying a couple of sacks between them. Jalil in particular was a force against the run, and looks back to full strength after a knee injury last season.
The defensive backs did not have their best day, but Stefan McClure did seem to hold up well in coverage, and recorded a near interception of an Austin Hinder pass toward the end of the day. He had to settle for a pass defensed instead.
Avery Sebastian also had one highlight reel play today, lighting up Darren Ervin on a run to the right side, and drawing a crowd-full of oohs while doing so.
Being the recipient of two touchdowns, Bryce Treggs was the top performer at wide receivers Saturday, but Bryce McGovern was another strong performer, working very well in space and leading the team in receptions on the day. The Bear Raid's slants, screens, drags and outs are a great fit for his solid hands and shiftiness.
There were a significant number of off sides and false starts from both lines today.
Puka Lopa and Mustafa Jalil were not in limited contact jerseys, but were not major participants in Saturday's scrimmage either. Joining the known injured players like Daniel Lasco and Richard Rodgers were Jordan Morgan, David Wilkerson and Alex Logan, who did not practice today.
The team continues to tinker with its nickel look in 7-on-7s, primarily using Stefan McClure in the slot and Isaac Lapite across from Kam Jackson. Though substitutions were fast and furious in this period, they also practiced briefly in a nickel package where Michael Lowe took the place of McClure.
In addition to the above, a brand new formation was unveiled at the scrimmage, where Austin Hinder lined up in a pistol set with three receivers to the right. Although this look was only shown with Austin Hinder, no conclusions can yet b e drawn about its use - but something worth noting and keeping an eye on moving forward.
As many predicted, the running game remains a work in progress. Whether it was Darren Ervin or Jeffrey Coprich or Jonah Hodges, no back found much success on the ground today.