The Charleston Southern Buccaneers held their first scrimmage of spring practice on Thursday afternoon at Buccaneers Field. CSU scrimmaged for about 70 plays in only their seventh practice – fifth in pads - of their 2013 spring season.
As is usually the case with the first scrimmage, the defense controlled throughout as the Bucs' offense struggled to find a rhythm. First-year Bucs head coach Jamey Chadwell saw about what he expected in his first scrimmage as the Bucs' head coach.
"I thought our defense played with a lot of passion and a lot of energy," Chadwell said following the scrimmage. "Offensively, we had too many missed big plays. We dropped passes and put the ball on the ground. Usually at this point in time, your defense is ahead of your offense. If they weren't, I'd be a little scared. Overall, I'm only disappointed with the turnovers."
The defensive line spent a lot of time in the backfield disrupting the Bucs' new spread attack. Chadwell was quick to praise his defensive ends, Will Hunt and Dylan Black. Black had a 38-yard fumble return for a touchdown late in the scrimmage.
Chadwell also pointed out safety Demaris Freeman, who returns to the Bucs' secondary after missing 2012 due to injury.
"Will Hunt is a guy that has been here and knows how to cause problems for an offense," Chadwell said. "Dylan Black made a great play on the fumble return for six. I also thought our secondary tackled very well, led by Demaris Freeman, who has a chance to be an all-conference kind of guy."
Chadwell was quick to pull his offense aside after the scrimmage and point out that it was only their seventh practice in his spread offense, telling them they would only get better. He also liked what he saw out of junior-college transfer Christian Reyes, a stocky running back who joined the Bucs at the semester.
"Reyes has been a good addition at back there," Chadwell added. "He runs hard and competes. He's a guy who is going to add some things to our backfield."
Senior quarterback Malcolm Dixon opened the scrimmage with a 13-play drive that stalled inside the 20-yard line on a false start penalty. His green jersey also slowed the drive. He was touched down by reaching tacklers a number of times on option runs.
Wide receiver Ethan Adams had a diving 40-yard catch that was the highlight of the day for the passing game. The passing game struggled to click on a windy day, as Buc quarterbacks missed open receivers and wide receivers were guilty of a couple of dropped passes.
Quarterback Briar Van Brunt, who missed most of his freshman season after suffering a leg injury against Illinois, broke off a 24-yard run on the final drive of the day. Reyes added a 15-yard run on the drive.
The Bucs will take Easter weekend off before returning to the practice field on Monday. CSU's next scrimmage is Saturday, April 6 at 10 a.m. The spring game is Saturday, April 13 at 11 a.m.