North Texas held its first scrimmage yesterday morning (Saturday) in front of a small crowd. It went about as you’d expect a first scrimmage to go. At times it was very sloppy. At times there glimpses of hope for both the offense and defense.
Thoughts & Observations:
- Alec Morris is the real deal. He is a top 5 QB in CUSA and possibly a top 3 one. That is not some hyped up outlandish statement. The QB play in CUSA isn’t top tier to begin with. Morris was in complete control of the offense. He displayed pretty good accuracy. He didn’t make mistakes. He didn’t hold onto the ball and wait for guys to be open. He knew where guys were supposed to be and he delivered it. I will say that his arm strength isn’t great, but its adequate. He has a chance to put up really good numbers and possibly set records around here. Morris was 21-30 and below is his passing chart. He did have a few dropped passes and passes that ended up as interference calls.
- Rico Bussey was one of the starting WR’s and I thought he looked solid for a FR. He didn’t look lost and ran good routes. He was able to release really well against press man. He did quit on a deep route pass from Morris. It would’ve been a TD. He will learn from that. He may end up being the consistent WR’s.
- Terian Goree struggled, but he still has the goods to be a great WR. He almost made a fantastic 1-handed catch on an under thrown ball from Morris.
- O’Keeron Rutherford looks like a beast. His size and physical stature is not hard to miss. If you didn’t know much about NT football you’d pick that guy out in warm-ups and say we need to watch out for him. He had a few drops, but overall he was the most explosive WR. My initial thoughts are that Rutherford is a guy who has a chance to lead this team in receptions. It was good to see him capitalizing on some of his potential.
- Kenny Buyers was out there with the first team. He didn’t get many targets, but he looks quicker as a WR than he ever did as a DB.
- Thaddeous Thompson was playing inside WR. He didnt get many targets, but he is big body receiver. Both he and Kelvin Smith split time at the Y receiver position.
- Kelvin Smith was moved all over the place. He wasn’t open as much as the spring game, and had a drop on a contested pass from Morris.
- The starting OL was Rice, Murray, Woodworth, Keenan, and Gunter.
- The OL’s play overall was mediocre. I thought they were better in pass protection than they were in the spring game. They did a decent job picking up the blitzes. If they keep Morris clean in the pocket he will find the open guy. The one area I thought they struggled with was run blocking. Early on when the offense tried to run there wasn’t a lot of space. The defense did a good job swarming to the ball. Later on the OL was able to open up a few holes up the middle. Take what you want from that. I believe what I saw was a defense that showed it athleticism, and showed that it still is vulnerable up the middle.
- Even though NT is going to run a 3-3-5 defense they will give looks of 4 to 5 guys near the line of scrimmage. Opposing OL’s might struggle with recognizing the blitz. I believe NT is going to blitz a lot this year.
- The DL was play was mediocre like the offensive line. At times they had a good push. At times they generated no pass rush. Combs and Roberts stood out. Roderick Young started at NT. TJ Tauaalo was the second team NT. English got time at the 3rd team DL.
- Josh Wheeler (OLB) is a guy who really could help this team. They need a dynamic pass rusher. I wouldn’t say he is dynamic, but he can make a few plays coming off the edge.
- Peters and Ejiya proved the LB core with some size and athleticism. Not sure either one with be a standout starter, but its nice to have these guys for depth.
- There were a couple of DBs out with injury, but I thought the guys out there did a decent job of covering passes. Morris wasnt throwing to wide open guys, he had to show some accuracy. There were a couple of passes that should of being picked off.
- Speaking of picking off. Finney was able to intercept Mason Fine after he stared down a WR over the middle. Cortney Finney had a nice showing. Thought he flowed to the ball well. Seems he has finally made the transition to FBS football.
- Mason Fine is probably the back-up QB right now. The freshman is the real deal. I dont want to over hype him, but he is worthy of a scholarship. He is pretty accurate. He has stronger arm strength than Morris. For being 5-11 he does a good job of finding throwing lanes. Again his biggest knock is his size. He did look small out there. They called a couple of QB draws for him. To me that is just asking to get the kid hurt. Jaried Combs came up behind him on one of those and barely bumped him. Fine went to the ground immediately. I do think Fine could step in and play this year if NT needed him too. The FBS game isn’t to big for his competitive nature. The kid can play and is better than any NT QB in the past 2 years.
- There were lots of dropped passes. Mostly on WR screens. It was simple as the WR’s trying to run first without catching the ball. The screen game wasnt very good, and not just because the WR’s couldn’t catch the ball. The defensive pursuit blew those screens up most of the time. The best screen was a when Willie Robinson made a guy miss and took it the house. It should’ve a tackle for a loss.
- Devin O’Hara performed nicely. He made a couple of nice throws, and scored a TD on a QB scramble. He is behind Fine right now, but he has enough talent to catch up.
- You guys already know Jeffrey Wilson is good. He didn’t have many chances to make plays.
- Willy Ivery showed his explosiveness on a few runs.
- Anthony Wyche should be able to contribute right away. He had a nice TD run when he ran over freshman LB Corey Mann.
- Wyche is also the starting PR. Its a lock in my opinion.
- I thought Andrew Tucker showed some good patience when he ran the ball. He is probably 5th on the depth chart, but he deserves some snaps.
- All the RBs deserve snaps. Its clearly the best and deepest position group for NT.
- Punter Eric Keena can really boom the ball.
- Trevor Moore struggled with kicking the ball, but nailed a FG during the 2-min drill when it counted the most.
- FR walkon Michael Lawrence had a nice TD catch.
I understand I didn’t have a lot about the defense in there. Its hard to really focus on multiple groups without the rewind button. I wanted to focus on what the offense was doing. Im hoping to make it out to the scrimmage next Saturday to provide y’all with another update.
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