The Citadel Bulldogs marked the unofficial end of fall camp on Saturday with a 90-minute morning scrimmage at Johnson Hagood Stadium. The Bulldogs battled through a heat index above 100 degrees as Head Coach Brent Thompson continues to evaluate his team’s overall depth and make decisions on the depth chart two weeks out from the Sept. 2 opener against Newberry.
A week after the defense set the tone early in last Saturday’s scrimmage, offensive rhythm and big plays highlighted much of the 100-play practice. Despite the heat and fatigue from a long two weeks of camp, Thompson got most of what he wanted from the team’s final scrimmage of the fall.
“I thought it was extremely productive,” Thompson told the media afterward. “It was warm, but we got a lot of reps out of it. I think the ones got about 40-45 reps. I told the team, I’m not as concerned about my legitimate one starters, I’m worried about the backups at this point. Who can play for us and who can take some reps off of those guys?”
Sophomore quarterback Jordan Black (Vidalia, Ga.) turned heads throughout, leading one impressive touchdown drive and scrambling for first downs and a touchdown after the pocket collapsed. Black took advantage of limited snaps for starter Dominique Allen (Richmond Hill, Ga.) including leading an impressive drive early against the starting defense. Grant Drakeford (Atlanta, Ga.) weaved his way for a 23-yard run on a sweep. Receptions by Rod Johnson (Ninety-Six, S.C.) and Josh Leblanc (Houston, Texas) set up an 8-yard TD run by Black.
“He’s a huge changeup for us,” Thompson said of Black. “The one thing he can do is extend the life of a play. If it breaks down, and I saw it a couple of times today, it’s impressive. One thing he needs to work on is when he breaks down in space and becoming more of a power runner.”
Allen played only a few series, but did connect with Johnson for a 66-yard catch-and-run for a big play in the passing game. Freshman Ryan McCarthy (Cumming, Ga.) connected with Curt Nixon (Folkston, Ga.) for a 32-yard TD pass to cap another drive. Sophomore running back Lorenzo Ward (Columbia, S.C.) had 35 yards rushing on the drive.
Thompson mentioned a pair of standout efforts by freshmen Wally Wilmore (York, S.C.) and Willie Eubanks III (Augusta, Ga.). The two defenders both played with the second team and caught Thompson’s eye with their physicality and playmaking. Freshman running back Keyonte Sessions (Myrtle Beach, S.C.) broke loose on a 33-yard run and Raleigh Webb (Acworth, Ga.) had a tough catch in traffic to set up a first down inside the 10 on the Black TD drive.
Punter Gage Russell (Florence, S.C.) booted a 47-yard punt with good hang time and kicker Jacob Godek (Longwood, Fla.) pushed a 43-yard field goal attempt wide right, but with plenty of leg.
The Bulldogs are off on Sunday and will practice following Monday’s eclipse. Classes start Wednesday for the cadets before the team moves into a game week schedule next weekend.
-per The Citadel Athletics