Scrimmage notes

Scrimmage notes

I can’t add much to what Jeff posted earlier, but a couple extra thoughts…

Pat Paschall looks like he’s becoming a really tough runner.  He’s always been a slasher, but he fought for some extra yards Saturday and seems very comfortable with contact which I did not always see in previous years.

Nick Mertens had a very strong start to the scrimmage, which had to be encouraging to the coaches.  He hit Gary Williams with a nice touch pass on a deep ball, but then on a 2 point conversion found the tight end in traffic in the middle of the field.  Please read again the last 8 words of the previous sentence. 

Dante Perez had one bad pass, an interception at about the 10 yard line, and while that was a bad play, no doubt, he’s also shown a nice ability to put the ball in tight windows for completions.  He seems pretty accurate in the few occasions I’ve seen him.  Compared to Mertens and Jensen, he looks really small, but is pretty elusive in the pocket.

Jensen got some work late in the scrimmage and did some nice things.  QB’s were fair game for contact in this scrimmage which was interesting, and Jensen tucked it in and ran for a nice first down.  He’s no Bolt, but appears to move very well.  Completed his only pass if memory serves.

Offensive line looks to be coming along.  Jeff mentioned Ojuri and Segers, and they did some nice things, but it looked to me that they had some good holes to run through.  Mike Fairbairn told us earlier in camp that the interior 3 guys, Foster, Buckman, and Richard are the best 3 interior guys he’s worked against since he’s been at NDSU.

Pretty basic offensive stuff.  There’s been some rumbling about QB’s running more, etc. but we didn’t see any of that.

Defense appeared to have a pretty disappointing day, coaches not happy with the big plays.  Tackling looked to be pretty sound, though.

And just a comment here…I don’t see any way that Mertens doesn’t start at Iowa State…very familiar with the offense and Bohl is going to want as few distractions as possible going into that one…Doesn’t hurt that he showed well on Saturday, either.

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Scrimmage Notes

Scrimmage Notes

Took in the football scrimmage this morning.  Saw all but the first 10 minutes or so.  Boy did it feel like football weather.  Some assorted thoughts/observations:

DEFENSE: generally, the defense had the best of it.  Several 3 and outs.  Offense did score a couple TD’s, but was working on a short field most of the day.  The 2 defensive tackles – Fairbairn and Gratzek are really, really good.  Defensive ends looked OK, but didn’t make a ton of plays that I saw.  Linebacker corps had Kittelson, Henry, and Evans, with Anderson running on 2nd team.  Little surprised that he hasn’t worked his way into the starting 3 but they do rotate a lot of guys so maybe it doesn’t matter much.  That being said it looks to me like Kittelson may not be the blue chip recruit, but seems to be in the right spot all the time — something to be said for that.  DB’s didn’t stand out, but didn’t get burned either.  Bowman had a couple nice open field tackles.  Colvin was runnning with first team on the other side.  I don’t think I saw Kyle Belmont out there = he may be kept out of contact stuff this spring.  Today, defense was way ahead of the offense, but Bohl says it has not been that way exclusively.  Matt Phillips and Yuen give some nice depth in the middle of the line, that is the best position group on the team.  Phillips is bigger than I remembered. 

OFFENSE: overall some good things but the defense probably had the better day.  Was very interested to watch Nick Mertens since I have this funny feeling he’ll be better next season, but overall didn’t see anything that made me say – wow.  But he was under pressure a lot and that didn’t help.  He did a nice job of looking off receivers and generally speaking didn’t force too many balls.  He took every snap – not sure if Fabry is still with the team or not, but maybe the work is what he needs.  He did complete some nice throws, but missed some too.  Thought he was just OK, again maybe didn’t have the best group in front of him.  Which leads me to the OL.  It looked like some guys were in new spots – either that or they were moving guys around to see what they could do.  The interior guys had trouble with the DT’s which there is no shame in.  The offensive calls today were very conservative, dump-offs, lots of rushing plays, very little downfield in the middle third of the field that I saw, but again I missed a few plays at the start.  The defensive blitzes seemed to work very well, so that will be something to work on, too.  The RB’s looked pretty good.  It’s easy to say, well Roehl would have done this or that but just looking at what they have, they have some good options.  I’m going to start calling Matt Voigtlander "Mr. Something" because he always seems to do something on the field.  Couple nice runs, including a little sideways cut in the middle of the defense that got him a few yards.  He just seems to do everything pretty well and is very consistent.  I was very impressed with DJ McNorton.  He really accelerates out of his stance and is hitting the hole quickly.  He’s got great vision, cuts well, and has a nice burst of quickness.  Blincoe had a nice run today, but I dont’ know how he will fit in with those other 3 and Sam Ojuri coming in.  Receivers didn’t do much, although Gary Williams made a nice catch, then got rocked by Cyrus Lemon.  GW left the field with his arm in a sling so don’t know if it’s a shoulder or collarbone, or how serious.  Sidney Haines has nice size and moves well but did not look to be in synch with Mertens, and like I said they just didn’t open up the offense much.  Matt Veldman has a chance to be a very special tight end.  He’s really gotten big, and moves very well.  I heard he had a nice TD catch early on, and just missed another where the officials ruled pass interference.  He’ll be a nice red zone target.  Was nice to see Josh Horner, the local kid, getting a chance to play.  He had a couple nice carries, too.

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Scrimmage Notes

Scrimmage Notes

Miscellaneous from this morning’s first scrimmage:

1.  They gave Shamen several cracks at punt return.  I thought he looked pretty close to the old Shamen.  Good cuts, good acceleration.  Bohl said afterwards he’s not convinced that he’s all the way back though.  Still, Shamen at 95% of what he was is still darn good.

2.  First play one offense versus two defense, Roehl gets a massive hole and goes 50 yards for a score.  The first time I’d seen Roehl break into the open like that this fall, and I was impressed.  Good acceleration, good foot speed.  Bohl said afterwards that his 40 time is actually faster than Steffes was last year.

3.  Paschall did not get many big lanes to run through so no great highlights, but Bohl said afterwards that he’s had a few big runs in practice.  Bohl said he’s really taking things seriously and will definitely play a role this fall.  Nice 1-2 punch with Roehl for sure.

4.  Wurzbacher looked quicker off the line than I remember him last year.  Made a nice catch for a TD.  Bohl raves about his improvement and has told coaches to expand his role in the offense.

5.  Second team offense looked really sloppy I thought.  Penalties and limited gains.

6.  Mertens has a cannon for an arm.

7.  Shamen looked good catching the ball today.  Just missed a bomb from Mertens.  Would have been a tough catch, just off his fingertips.  Made several nice grabs, a couple in traffic.

8.  Parsons also made some nice catches including a TD.  Looks just as comfortable catching the ball than running the option offense.  In order for that change-up offense to work, he has to be able to complete a pass or two or nobody will respect the pass and will load up against the run.  Only tried one pass out of that formation today and didn’t complete it.

9.  Nobody got hurt and I guarantee you that’s how Bohl measured success today. 

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Scrimmage notes

Scrimmage notes

Notes from yesterday’s football scrimmage in no particular order of importance:

1.  Drago boomed a couple huge punts.  Sure appears to have the stuff to make NFL people take notice.

2.  Speaking of NFL–spoke to Justin Frick and Craig Dahl, who were watching (weird to see them not on the field by the way) Frick says not much chance of getting drafted and hoping someone will give him a free agent look.  His agent is trying to get him some CFL exposure, but he’s not real keen on that right now.  Dahl is being told that there’s a legitimate chance to get drafted in the late rounds.  He’ll spend the weekend with his family in Mankato.

3.  Back to the scrimmage.  Watched some pass route drills before the action, Shamen and Gary Williams both struggled to catch the ball and adjust to the passes when they were off line.  Bohl says Shamen is really coming on at the receiver position so maybe I just caught him on a bad day.  Schultenover had a really nice catch on a deep out from Ryan Parsons.

4.  Speaking of backup QB’s, I can’t really tell who is the better of Parsons and Mertens.  Both did some good things, both struggled too.  Mertens did fire a nice TD pass at the end of the scrimmage, Parsons made a couple nice throws too, but both were under big pressure a lot as coaches rested Safe and Harrington a bit.

5.  Pat Perles told me after the scrimmage that Harrington is even, and maybe slightly ahead, of where Rob Hunt was at this point of his career.  That’s a big statement.

6.  Blincoe and Roehl looked good running the ball, I thought.  Seemed decisive on where they were going and ran tough. 

7.  Joe Lardinois made a great play splitting a double team block and slowing up a runningback, nearly made the tackle.  Impressive play anyhow.

8.  The ball seemed to really jump off Shaun Bibeau’s foot.  He could be in for a really nice year.

9.  Bison first team defense looked solid.  SS Kyle Belmont had a couple good plays and then one that left Willie Mack saying " You gotta make that play Belmont".  Alex Belquist got away from him on a slipped tackle.

10.  Steve Walker looks a little leaner than I remember him last year.  Could be just my imagination, I’ll have to ask him about it, but Perles says he’s really developed athletically from last year.  Probably just a good offseason where he didn’t have to rehab a knee.

  

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