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4/19 scrimmage report

BWahlberg

Well-known member
DONOR
I was worried it was going to be raining a ton but actually the rain stopped right before and save a few drops it was fairly pleasant (but cool) evening under the lights. There was a bigger crowd than I expected, maybe 1500 or so. Before things got under way Dave Dickenson and John Edwards addressed the crowd. Dave made a joke about it being a 1980's crowd while John talked about the exceptional graduation rate of student athletes compared to the rest of the student body. Both were great to hear from. There was a cool highlight video of the two. There was another highlight reel of last year's season, it looked like those ones they use for in-home visits to recruits. Both were very well done.

So lets break this down with the good stuff I saw, the improving stuff, and the challenging stuff.

The Good

- Jordan freakin' Johnson. He started slow, lead the 1s to a missed fieldgoal attempt in the 1st series but missed a few open passes, got sacked, stuff like that. But he settled in mid-way through and in 3 plays in a row had a 30ish yard pass, made a correct zone-read which lead Jordan Canada to a 42 yard TD run, and threw a 42 yard TD (granted it was just a screen pass that Haynes made happen after the catch). Jordy then lead the team on what would have been a 98 yard TD drive save the refs calling an outstretched single hand slap on his shoulder a tackle, wound up officially scoring as a fieldgoal. Jordy got revenge and ran one in on a goal to go later. The big play in that drive was a perfect pass in a hole he saw in the cover-3 defense to Ellis Henderson that went for 35 yards. JJ is on page with Henderson, it's a DANGEROUS combo.

- Zach Peevey. My ears are still ringing from the continual shouts of the Peevey family, ha. It seems like each scrimmage one D-end really stepped up. The first scrimmage was Holmes, the second was Ryan Johnson, this one was Zach Peevey. 3 TFLs, I believe 1 sack, and 1 incredibly athletic play noticing a screen pass and getting back just in time to bat a pass that would've gone to a wide-open Marlon Miles.

- The offense. OK, I'm officially backing off the ledge of concern with the offense. I'd say about 80% in shotgun or pistol, and the under-center stuff was timed right in situations of power running that worked well. This offense blends in some of what Bobby liked to do with a lot of what Pflu liked. But it also adds the pistol to it as well. One play stands out, it was the deep gain to Henderson. If memory serves correct Jordy has an H-back and a running back in an off-set formation, he goes zone-read with the H-back who seals off an outside blitz, looks at the running back for a check which pulls up the outside backer and then drops the ball 15 yards up field right over the defense to a wide-open Henderson. The power running game is coming along (with the right guys, Kirsch and Van do well in that, Miles and the new guy #41 not so much, Canada did best in zone read or pistol).

- Jordan Hines. I knocked on him a bit after the first scrimmage, he was having a hard time with Kidder and the speedier DTs. Last week he held his own and this week he was doing well. He wasn't without a few breakdowns here and there but he's looking more and more like a starting guard for the team. Good upfield push and seems to be working MUCH better alongside Oiland than he was 4 weeks ago.

- Tonga Takai. I'll spare him on the short snaps for now. As our biggest DT Tonga has quietly put together a very good spring. He's a tough match up and had quite a few plays where he blew up the a-gap in the Oline. He had a sack, and had a real heads up tackle on TraVon Van, pulling him down by his arm on a draw play that would've gone for a lot of yards save Tonga's heads up play.

- Kevin Berland. Who? Yeah, Loyola's own Kevin Berland. He had to lead all WRs in catches tonight. Probably had 6 or 7 I'd guess including a 30 yard TD strike from Gustafson. Kevin's been showing up in camps for the last year now. He's had reps with the 1s and JJ looks his way too. He's not going to be the primary slot WR for the team but he could find an increased role if he keeps making so many plays. Hopefully his practice results can soon roll into game-day results.

- Jordan Canada. Nuff said, this dude didn't just have another great scrimmage, he's had a great spring camp all around. Him and TraVon Van are going to be a BIG problem for Big Sky defenses this year. Add in Counts and Kirsch as well... I just don't see how they'll be able to spread the ball around to all of them! Van is making big strides but the first guy out of the gate and the one who has put up great numbers in all three scrimmages has been Canada.

- Stephen Shaw. I'm foreshadowing an upcoming thought but I believe Stephen Shaw will be key to this team winning some games this year. How could a punter do that? He's going to tip the field advantage for the Griz more regularly than any punter that I can readily recall. Even his shorter punts (40-45 yards) are towering punts with incredible hang-time. He angles the ball to the sidelines well and had one very nice punt today that Rominger downed on the 4. He will help this team out by pinning teams deep and taking away dangerous returners, if you thought he was good last year... just wait.

- Danny Kistler. Looks like landing a team captain job upped his play even more. Danny swallowed up Tyrone Holmes or whoever was thrown his way all night long. That's one great tackle we have.

- Defensive aggressiveness. Yeah the D got torched by JJ and a bit by Gustafson but what I liked out there was the aggressive nature of this D, much more than last year. Tonight there were more creative blitzes that I saw than before. The team opened in a nickel with Jordan Tripp playing D-end and Harris or Dennard almost playing like a linebacker. The D had it's lapses (more on that soon) but it attacked the QB with well timed blitzes and forced many throw-aways. There were lots of TFLs as well today. Good stuff happened out there.

What's Improving

- Ben Weyer. The 2014 team is in good hands as I'd assume barring injury or some freak occurrence Ben will be starting as an interior linemen. He went from nowhere to starting this spring in place of a recuperating Poehls. He's showing tremendous improvement and is run-blocking well. He's having issues with Bienemann and Kidder... but heck who doesn't. He'll be in line for some reps this season I'd bet as well.

- Jesse Ginn. Dude had a monster night, a few TFLS and a batted pass. I was reporting his name a lot. This might've been the best I've seen from him in a Griz jersey. I hope this improved play continues.

- Brady Gustafson. Brady might've had the 2nd best night of the QBs. McKinney made some nifty plays with his feet but was having accuracy issues and threw a pick. Brady didn't. I don't believe he had a series end without getting a 1st down and he was the only other QB to throw a TD pass. (McKinney ran one in). Trent and Shay had better watch out, #3 is hot on their heels.

- Clay Pierson. A few grabs I think tonight that both picked up 1st downs and some very good blocking. Considering the rest of our TE corps has been unable to stay healthy I'd expect a continually improving Pierson will enter fall camp the starter and will be hard pressed to relinquish that job.

- Kendrick Van Ackeren. Not sure but I'd bet if they tallied tackles he had the most or near the top. Kendrick played LB due to some injuries that left the ranks a little thin and actually played his best scrimmage of the spring. He had 3 tackles in a row at one point and was in on many others. I wonder if they'll look to keep him there?

- Stephen Rominger. The lone forced turnover by the defense came on a pick by Stephen. He downed a punt inside the 5 as well. For a guy that just can't seem to land on the starting roster he keeps getting better and playing his heart out.

Needs Improvement

- Kicking. It was better tonight, but it's still shaky. Just like I said the punting game will win us some games, I can see that this kicking unit as it looks coming out of spring ball will lose us some games. That's a tough generalization to make but we've got snap issues, hold issues, and kicker issues. Lider drills his first but is iced and then badly misses the next. He missed another and squeaked a few chip-shots just inside the uprights (aka "split the middle if you're Phil Buck). Harrison Greenberg didn't even kick tonight.

- Safeties. Bad night for these guys when JJ was in. Hermanson especially. He was just moved up to go with the 1s again and was beat on many plays.

- Secondary tackling. Sean Haynes 42 yard TD should have been a 5 yard gain, but he slipped out of a Nate Harris tackle around his legs. Then he jukes out Sean Murray and glides into the endzone. Other DBs were missing tackles as well. Goodwin and Nelson had some nice breakups and there were some good hard pops but the tackling at times was reminiscent of last year.

- Situational decisions. OK, it's spring and second guessing the coaches decisions in some spots is probably pretty dumb, but heck I'm going to do it. They ran this scrimmage tonight as close to a live game as I've seen in any other scrimmage. In the very first series the 1st string offense gets in the red zone and with 16 seconds they trot out the fieldgoal unit. They were out of time outs but with 16 seconds on the clock there could have been time for a few more quick/safe plays. Instead Lider is iced and misses the kick. It's spring ball but if they want to practice and simulate real game stuff now that was maybe a bad decision. Also there's some head scratching stuff, probably due to personnel issues, using Marlon Miles as a power runner? Not a good idea, all 5-8, 180 of him lost yards a few times trying that, he's more designed to be a scat-back guy not a 4th and 1 lets pound it guy. This is just little stuff but the last coach that got this team to the national championship was guy who cared about these little things.

------

I think that about sums it up. It was a good night for the offense, I see they piled up 465 yards! JJ passed for 202 and Brady for 130. Berland had 90 yards, Henderson 85, Haynes 83. Canada ran for 53 yards on just 5 carries. I see my suspicion was right, Van Ackeren led in tackles with 9.

Soon summer workouts begin and before we know it it's fall camp. It's been a good spring camp, I think there's lots of good things in store for this team.
 
In that first series, Lider made a field goal but the defense called timeout late. He then missed the next attempt. To the bigger point, this field goal attempt was made on third down. They need to let JJ play and lead the team to a touchdown versus seeing how their kicking game is going. If they kick a field goal on third down in a real game, MD should be looking for a new job or an easy chair. JJ, Henderson, Berland and Ginn all caught my eye tonight. JJ was back in excellent form. Ginn put a couple crunching hits on RBs. The future is bright with the young players.
 
JJ's gonna be a difference maker this year. We've said it all along, but just him being out there makes me feel so much better. :thumb:
 
JJ was finding the open receivers tonight...very patient. He ran well in the red zone when he needed to get it done. There was even a slant pattern or two run in the scrimmage and TEs over the middle. Lots of yards after the catch by the receivers tonight! My concerns about the O were put to a rest tonight.
 
granitegriz said:
JJ was finding the open receivers tonight...very patient. He ran well in the red zone when he needed to get it done. There was even a slant pattern or two run in the scrimmage and TEs over the middle. Lots of yards after the catch by the receivers tonight! My concerns about the O were put to a rest tonight.

Great reports and great news men! I'm going to drink another beer to celebrate. Okay, I would have had another anyway, but now I'm drinking with exuberance!
 
“Jordan Johnson’s a difference maker,” Gregorak said after the junior quarterback completed 10 of 19 passes for 202 yards. “No one’s happier to have him back than the fellow in my shoes. He makes us better on defense because he’ll keep us off the field. I think he’s that impressive of a player and as a person.”






Read more: http://billingsgazette.com/sports/college/big-sky-conference/university-of-montana/football/johnson-griz-offense-step-up-in-nd-spring-scrimmage/article_dd24bfe3-42a2-59b0-abed-a18dc98d7706.html#ixzz2R07Tpbqe" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
 
Sounds like my boys Henderson and Dennard had solid performances again. It also sounds like the safeties are still giving up "game changers" :roll: And... ah.....the kicking game is something that will probably roast us at one point this year.(a real shocker ) AWESOME to have J.J. getting up to snuff :D Based on reading the comments all spring I'd have to set the over/under on our wins at 9. :egriz:
 
The O looked great but we will have some serious problems if they don't do something with Hermi and Tully the we're getting there as$ handed to them AGAIN all night long, they can't read, tackle or cover. WTF
 
JJ's the man in charge no doubt about it. Was so glad to hear good things about Jesse finally, was beginning to think he was a bust. Love the report, sounds like most of the things are coming together. Good spring can't wait till fall.
 
I'm always impressed with how you can see so much in a play brint. You must have the numbers memorized. We out of town guys spend more time looking at the program to see who was doing what. That said, your analysis is right on the money. The only thing I can add is to stress the improved play of the QB play over last year. Our two starters from last year will not see the field over 10 and 3. 3 (gufstufson) can run this offense just fine. Kicking game is very suspect. It seemed like the scrimmage was more business this year and less glitz. Coach D was very animated at times. It is going to be a good season. How good? Hmmmm. Better than last year but there are areas to be improved. It is spring ball and I look for fall practice to bring things together. JJ makes it a much better team already.
 
Who are the injured guy(s) who can play WLB? That would free Van Ackeren to move to SS which sounds like is needed.........
 
Is Owen a weak side guy? I am guessing that Kanongata'a is one of the injured guys? What about Gamboa at Safety....they need to give him a look if Tully and Hermy aren't cutting it.
 
PlayerRep said:
“Jordan Johnson’s a difference maker,” Gregorak said after the junior quarterback completed 10 of 19 passes for 202 yards. “No one’s happier to have him back than the fellow in my shoes. He makes us better on defense because he’ll keep us off the field. I think he’s that impressive of a player and as a person.”
Read more: http://billingsgazette.com/sports/college/big-sky-conference/university-of-montana/football/johnson-griz-offense-step-up-in-nd-spring-scrimmage/article_dd24bfe3-42a2-59b0-abed-a18dc98d7706.html#ixzz2R07Tpbqe" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Hope that statement doesn't get TG fired.
 
I enjoyed how much the corners were jamming the receivers on the 2 minute drive. If it wasn't for a delicately floated JJ pass to Henderson the drive would have stalled due to the blitzing and jamming. Doing it in real game-like situation is another thing though.
 
JP (#52) played last night, but as I recall, #37 and #52 didn't play a ton of reps. BC was not suited up. I don't know what is meant by injuries to LB's other BC, but he is the middle linebacker. Not to downplay what JJ did last night because he was going against he first team defense and made big plays against them marching the O down the field.
 
I think it is time to give JJ back Alpha's moniker of "Playmaker".

Welcome back JJ. Good to see him making a lot of big plays out there.
Why is this staff so "stuck" on Tully and Hermanson (sp?) at safety? Come on Mick, open up the safety job to all for the 1st week of camp! Maybe pushing Tully and Hermanson for their position would improve their play too. I just don't understand how they can continue to get bad results, and continue to see the field?
 
ALPHAGRIZ1 said:
Its amazing how many people have jumped on the JJ bandwagon :roll:

Sent from my DROID BIONIC using Tapatalk 2

How many people ever jumped off the JJ bandwagon?

Sent from my SCH-I535 using Tapatalk 2
 
mtgrizrule said:
I think it is time to give JJ back Alpha's moniker of "Playmaker".

Welcome back JJ. Good to see him making a lot of big plays out there.
Why is this staff so "stuck" on Tully and Hermanson (sp?) at safety? Come on Mick, open up the safety job to all for the 1st week of camp! Maybe pushing Tully and Hermanson for their position would improve their play too. I just don't understand how they can continue to get bad results, and continue to see the field?
Because maybe they're still the best we have. I don't know why people are assuming that if we put someone else in, they're going to automatically be better.

Also, you're getting mad at the wrong person. This is on Gregorak.
 
Kodiak said:
Who are the injured guy(s) who can play WLB? That would free Van Ackeren to move to SS which sounds like is needed.........

I think KVA will stay at linebacker. They just moved Richards to TE, there are 6 linebackers on the roster (Coyle, JPK, #37, Kose, Owen, Lebsock). They recruited 6 defensive backs and 1 linebacker.
 
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