The Citadel Bulldogs scrimmaged for the final 45 minutes of Saturday’s practice as second-year Head Coach Brent Thompson and staff continues to try and establish their depth chart with the Sept. 2 opener against Newberry fast approaching.
The 50-play scrimmage unfolded much like a typical opening scrimmage of fall camp would for the first half, and like a Citadel game plan for the final few drives. As is usually the case early in fall camp, the defense was ahead early, controlling the opening few series, forcing three-and-outs by both the first and second string with the offense backed up. The offense broke through with three of long touchdown runs in the second half of the scrimmage to balance things out, much like the Bulldogs’ trying to wear an opponent down into the fourth quarter.
Thompson liked some of what he saw in the scrimmage, but also saw a team a little tired from 10 straight days of camp.
“I think we thought we got what we thought we were going to get,” Thompson said after the scrimmage. “You’re not going to go out there after nine days of practice and be sharp in every facet. Now we need to go evaluate the film and figure out where we’re at right now. We’re only 10 days in.”
Senior Cam Jackson ripped off a 32-yard touchdown run to start the scoring for the offense on a short field. Jackson broke a couple of tackles in the backfield and broke to daylight for the first points of the morning. Quarterback Ryan McCarthy broke free moments later for a 41-yard score going back against the grain on an option keeper. Junior Rod Johnson ripped off a 40-yard run on the only play of a drive for the final touchdown by the offense.
Other offensive highlights included an early 17-yard run by Lorenzo Ward and a couple of impressive runs by Brandon Berry, who powered his way to a few of the initial first downs, which were tough to come by in the opening half of the scrimmage. Berry’s size and power seemed to catch everyone’s attention and is garnering some attention from the Bulldog coaching staff.
“Brandon is a guy that we’ve put on a little bit of a fast track,” Thompson added. “He’s 235 pound and runs hard. He doesn’t know exactly what he’s doing yet, but he’s a load once he gets going in the right direction. He and Rainey are two guys we’re really going to count on.”
The defense quickly turned back the Bulldog offense after a couple of first down runs by Berry. A Noah Dawkins stop in the backfield and a sack on second-and-long stalled the offense’s best early drive. On special teams, Gage Russell boomed a 50-yard punt into the wind and a blocked punt highlighted the early parts of the scrimmage.
Dawkins was also in on a near-interception early in the action, one of a few missed opportunities by both sides to flip the field or score.
“I wish we made some more plays offensively and defensively,” Thompson said. “We had some picks dropped and dropped some touchdowns too. We’ve got to take advantage when we have the opportunity to make big plays.
Overall, we’ve got to get better at just playing football and being in condition to play football. Twenty, thirty plays into the scrimmages, we lost a little of our fundamentals and started missing assignments due to our conditioning.”
-per The Citadel Athletics