Bumped. GO BRUINS. -N
I had a great time at the scrimmage. I brought my son and best friend along for the ride. I kept stats last year, but this time around I had a 4 year old to keep track of. I didn't see anything posted yet, so I thought I'd fire off some notes real quick while the scrimmage is still fresh in my mind. Please remember my layman analysis here is based on one night's scrimmage. I haven't been attending practices. Also, this is all off the top of my head so no film or anything like that. So basically, just stop reading now.
-Kai Maiava is out for the season (probably). This is a huge tragedy for him and for the Bruins. The incident happened on the near sideline but I didn't have a good angle to see exactly what occurred. We are getting pretty thin on the offensive line. With how things looked at the end of 2009, I never imagined that I might be saying that. It is too bad that Jake Dean didn't hang around because we could probably use him about now. Going off the top of my head, we have lost Xavier Sua'filo, Nick Abele, Stan Hasiak, Jeff Baca (injured and currently ineligible though it looks hopeful), Mike Harris (one game only), and now Kai Maiava. That is 6 guys basically all of whom would have been either starting or part of the two deep. Ouch. Fortunately, we gained Casey Griffiths (transfer), Chris Ward, Wade Yandall, Micah Kia (back from injury), and Sean Sheller (he wasn't really 100% last year). Let's keep our fingers crossed. No more injuries please!
Overall, I'd say the team as a whole looks pretty fast this year. We have speed everywhere. While the speed is apparent it was hard to get a gauge on how physical this team is. The oline and dline looked pretty evenly matched throughout. The pass protection was decent, but I was uncomfortable with how long Brehaut had at times. It made me think our dline maybe wasn't getting the job done.
QB - Our backup Qbs were solid today. They were making good throws for the most part and didn't seem to have more than one bad throw in a row. Brehaut was great. Based on what I saw tonight, if we lose Prince this season, I don't think we'll see anywhere near the dropoff we saw with Brehaut in garbage time last year. He was a little bit a deer-in-the-headlights last season and I didn't see any of that today. He still holds on to the ball too long for my taste, usually gunning for the deeper routes if they are there (sometimes declining to throw some easy short passes), but tonight it was paying off for the most part. Bell was also solid, but tonight Brehaut was easily the best QB.
RB – Malcom Jones had the best run of the night. He broke a tackle in the interior and then broke the play outside for a big game. He has a good physical style to him. I'm thinking he might turn out to be a Toby Gerhart type guy by the end of his career, provided he continues to develop. Overall though, the running game seemed to come more from good blocking and the new blocking schemes and reads rather than from the running backs making plays out of nothing (Should we try Thigpen at RB at little more?). The Pistol does seem to open things up in our run game.
F – Why isn't this called H again? I like Presley and Barr at F. Barr had a better night, but he also seemed to be getting more opportunities. By the end there, you could see that Bell was looking for Barr first on several plays. Ramirez had one or two good plays, but I just don't think he is a natural receiver like the other two. Ramirez dropped one he should have caught, and his pass catching just doesn't look quite as fluid as Barr and Presley. Ramirez had good numbers, and after the catch he's fine, but I cross my fingers whenever the ball is flying in the air towards him. Maybe it is just me?
WR – Easily, this group was the best of the night. Rosario was PHENOMENAL(yes with Caps, Italics, Bold and Underline). On the second play of the scrimmage he ran a fade route down the sideline and caught it with ONE hand while he was totally buried in coverage. It was amazing. Then, a little while later, Brehaut (I think) just tossed the ball into the corner of the end zone and let Rosario jump for it over the corner. He came down with it and barely got a foot in bounds – another fantastic catch. On the downside for Rosario, they tried him on an end around. I'll be nice and just say Rosario is probably not the ideal candidate for end arounds. While none of the other receivers really stood out, as a group, I didn't notice any mental mistakes or balls dropped that really should have been caught from any of our top 5 or so receivers. They had just a great night overall. I wished I could have seen more from Marvray. I heard so much about him in the offseason, but he wasn't really a dominant presence tonight. The official stats have him at one catch that he came back hard to get (it was a solid play), but I could swear that he had 2 total, the other going for very short yardage.
Oline – they seemed to do their job tonight. I wish I could see good old Brian Price lined up against them so as to get a good gauge on their progress. As it was, I had a hard time getting a read on whether our Oline was better than last fall scrimmage, our Dline worse, or a combination of the two. Occasionally they looked a little slow when pulling and defensive penetration would mess them up, but for the most part they were getting adequate movement against the Dline on running plays. I also think the increased use of the pass was actually opening up some runs rather than the other way around. It might go that way this year. Our receiving corps is very talented and I'm thinking defenses will be leaning backwards instead of forward this year. Pass protection didn't seem to break down too often unless we blitzed line backers. Once or twice, the middle completely collapsed, but that might have been with our 2 or 3 deep in. We also had a couple false starts. I don't recall which guys were at fault on that.
Dline – like the Oline, they seemed ok... possibly sub-par. It was apparent to me from what I saw out there that losing Price and now Jones is going to be very painful. We don't have a dominant pass rusher on the defensive line right now. They clogged the running lanes well enough to slow down the running game and got there in there for some decent pressure on occasion, but I don't think we can expect a whole lot more than that this year. Chandler seemed to have a decent night and Epenesa (he had several friends and family there cheering for him) was involved in several plays in the middle.
LB – I have to confess I wasn't watching the linebacker play all that much, though I did notice Olaniyan make a fantastic play on one of the blitzes where he just destroyed whoever it was blocking him and sacked the QB in probably 2 seconds flat. It is fun to see that type of play from a true freshman. Ayers looked like his usual fabulous self and Westgate was mixing it up pretty good as well.
DB – The story of the night here is probably Thigpen. While he didn't do anything particularly mind blowing, he was in a lot, involved in a lot of plays, etc. He played on the edge with the backups and also at nickel back. They threw his way a lot and whether it was his coverage, a bad thow, bad catch, etc, nobody caught anything against him (that I remember). His technique looks poor, but man can he run. Also, he had trouble bringing down Umodu at one point. I'm thinking Thigpen might need help tackling some of the more physical runners. Hilliard had a nice pic as did Dye, but Dye had it ripped out of his hands by Barr soon after he picked it. From what I could see, Price did well in coverage, but Hester got caught out of position once or twice. I *think *it was him that got beat by Carroll on a play action. Brehaut underthrew Carrol badly with a complete quacker, and Carroll's catch looked more like a punt return. Carroll still caught it for 6. It looked like Hester must have bought the fake, which shouldn't happen from a NCAA Div 1 corner. They must have been keeping the ball away from Moore, because I didn't see him inolved in many plays.
That was a fun evening. I hope the Bruins give us another 13 or so fun evenings this season!
My kid before the scrimmage!