Spring Scrimmage No. 2 Notebook: Observations & Thoughts
On Friday evening, Colorado held its second of four “spring showcase” scrimmages, with the offense running a total of 70 plays. It was a much more in-depth affair than last Friday’s scrimmage, which ran about 20-25 plays and focused only on redzone offense and defense.
CU’s second scrimmage thus had significantly more to observe and report and below is a rundown of what transpired.For starters, in terms of non-participants, sophomore tailback Jarek Broussard was the most notable among that group of previously unknown banged up players.
He did not partake in the action Friday, nor did junior wideout Maurice Bell.
Junior tight end Brady Russell was another no-go during Friday’s scrimmage, as was sophomore offensive lineman Frank Fillip.
Freshman tailback Ashaad Clayton might be best labeled as a limited participant; he spent a good chunk of the scrimmage stretching out on the sidelines before getting inserted fully into things.
Clayton wound up seeing action with both the first and second team offenses, recording a short, 1-yard touchdown from the goal line in similar fashion to the scores he racked up last fall against Arizona.
Aside from that, he posted an impressive rush of about eight yards and had a few catches out of the backfield.
In terms of players of the game, undoubtedly both of them were on offense.
Junior tailback Alex Fontenot had a terrific scrimmage, running with authority and displaying a strong physicality — you can ask sophomore safety Mark Perry about the latter, as he absorbed a few crackling hits by Fontenot trying to bring him down.
Fontenot busted out a run north of 30 yards that may well have been the offensive highlight of the game, while in total, with his yards on the ground as well as a few receptions, he was in the realm of 100 all-purpose yards on the day.
Freshman wideout Montana Lemonious-Craig was the other standout of the game. On the drive that Fontenot moved the offense upfield by about 30 yards, Lemonious-Craig reeled in a touchdown pass from about 15 yards out for the first score of the scrimmage, via junior JT Shrout.
Lemonious-Craig also had a nice catch and run in the flats and up the right sideline. All in all, it was an impressive showing for the freshman.
On the defensive side of the ball, Na’im Rodman, Jalen Sami and Lloyd Murray all recorded sacks, as did junior OLB Carson Wells, who played very well during the game.
Last week, with a limited amount of snaps and observing the scrimmage from the opposite end of the action, it was hard to get a good look at things from a defensive point of view.
That was not the case tonight.In terms of the first-team defense, Rodman, Sami and junior Janaz Jordan were up front, with junior Jon Van Diest and grad transfer Robert Barnes at inside backer.
On the note of Barnes, he does appear to be playin the traditional ILB position as opposed to seeing reps at STAR or doing some hybrid things with respect to coverage; from what I saw, he was next to Van Diest on every snap.
Given what we’ve heard about junior Mekhi Blackmon moving to nickel this spring, next to freshman Christian Gonzalez it was sophomore Nigel Bethel at starting cornerback.
Perry and sophomore Ray Robinson saw the lion’s share of snaps with the first unit at safety.
As would be expected, Wells and freshman Joshka Gustav starred at outside linebacker, with freshman Devin Grant noticeably seeing a lot of action there, too.
As is to be expected during a spring scrimmage, it was a revolving door in terms of personnel changes.
But from what I saw, sticking with the defense here, freshman Tyrin Taylor and sophomore Jaylen Striker ate up the reps at cornerback, while junior Isaiah Lewis and Trustin Oliver handled safety duty.
Lewis had a highlight on defense, as he intercepted a bad ball thrown by Shrout early in the scrimmage.
Notably, at ILB, the second-team unit featured early enrollee Zephaniah Maea as well as recently converted outside backer Alvin Williams.
Now, for the offense.In similar fashion to last week, Shrout and freshman Brendon Lewis split the first-team reps.
After an early interception, Shrout redeemed himself, hitting Lemonious-Craig for the aforementioned touchdown and adding another on a beauty of a ball to junior wideout Daniel Arias from about 31 yards out.
Regarding the offensive line, with Fillip being another inactive player, joining an already lengthy list, from left to right, the first-team unit looked like this: Gerad Christian-Lichtenhan, Jake Wiley, Kary Kutsch, Colby Pursell, Josh Jynes and Jake Wiley.
A number of walk-ons made up the second-team offensive line, as Jack Seavall (RT), John Dietchman (RG) and Dominick Cate (LG) joined Carson Lee (C) and Valentin Senn (LT).
Fontenot and sophomore Joe Davis were the main tailbacks utilized for first and second-team reps, with both having some nice runs on the day.
As mentioned, Clayton did get involved later in the scrimmage, during which he scored a short touchdown.
At wideout, Lemonious-Craig subbed in with the first-team (well-earned, as it would turn out), joining sophomore Dimitri Stanley and Arias. Stanley had a couple nice catches across the middle while Arias’ main highlight of the day was the touchdown he caught in the left corner of the endzone.
Tight end saw grad transfer Matt Lynch handle the first-team duties.
Also on the note of the tight ends, it was nice to see freshman Caleb Fauria factor in.
He had a touchdown catch, coming from fellow freshman Drew Carter and made another reception before all was said and done.
Carter did indeed get his first snaps in Friday’s scrimmage and looked pretty good for it being his opening live action.
He was teamed up with freshman tailback Jayle Stacks, who continues to present a scary sight for defenders who have to bring him down.
All in all, for the hodgepodge group of OLs in front of him, Carter performed nicely.
Point being, with a banged up o-line and Carter playing behind numerous walk-ons, some sort of asterisk needs to be placed by his overall performance, which, frankly, wasn’t bad at all.
Case in point though — on Carter’s literal first snap, Gustav blitzed off the left edge untouched and had it been a full-contact scrimmage in which the quarterbacks were being tackled, Carter would have been in for a brutal blindside.