Defense Steps Up In Second Scrimmage
Mean Green Close Second Week Of Fall Camp With 110-Play Scrimmage
DENTON — Fall camp continues to be one of give and take, as the North Texas football team wrapped the second week of fall camp with a 110-play scrimmage on the practice fields Saturday morning. Like the first scrimmage, Saturday’s scrimmage also included red zone, tight red zone and two-minute drill periods, as well as special teams work.
“We went 110 plays without any major injuries in the scrimmage,” head coach Dan McCarney said. “We had some guys miss today but that’s normal when you have had two weeks of camp. There’s not a team in the country that doesn’t have guys missing practice when you have had two weeks of physical practice.”
After a first scrimmage that featured much success for the offense, the defense stepped up with one of its best days of practice, keeping the offense out of the end zone for much of the day, highlighted by a goal-line stand by the first-team defense against the second-team offense in the first period of the scrimmage.
The defense forced six three-and-outs. Big plays on that side of the ball included sacks by junior defensive end Dakota Smith, a junior college transfer from Trinity Valley CC, and senior linebacker Blake Bean, a transfer from Buffalo, as well as interceptions by junior linebacker Sed Ellis and junior cornerback Chad Davis.
Offensively, during the regular scrimmage periods, senior quarterback Andrew McNulty led a drive into the red zone, while junior quarterback Josh Greer led two drives into the red zone, drives that included a combined four third-down conversions.
“The defense improved today, no question about it,” McCarney said. “Our plan to win is to play great defense. It’s not to play average defense, or below defense, or so-so defense, and we had too much of that in the first two weeks. Today, they grew up and improved. Our tackling was better. It looked like we had fewer missed assignments. It looked like our communication was better. It wasn’t total domination by the defense, but clearly they played better.”
The offense found much more success during red-zone work, as they found the end zone on all six drives that each started from the defense’s 14-yard line, including touchdowns on each of the first three plays of the scrimmage period.
Sophomore wide receiver Turner Smiley took a reverse sweep 14 yards for a score, followed by a 14-yard touchdown pass from Greer to junior wide receiver Darvin Kidsey and then a 14-yard touchdown run for redshirt freshman A.J. Ezzard to open the period.
On each of the next three drives, McNulty, Greer and junior DaMarcus Smith threw touchdown passes, highlighted by Greer’s 14-yard touchdown pass to redshirt freshman O’Keeron Rutherford, who skied for the ball in the corner of the end zone.
“It’s just like it has been,” said McCarney of the quarterback completion. “It’s McNulty one, Greer two and the other two rotating with the three’s. We’ll grade this tape, but that’s where it is right now. I doubt there’s going to be any movement on the depth chart based on what I saw standing there.”
The Mean Green return to the practice fields Monday, as players also begin classes. They will continue team work and player evaluations, before starting to prepare for SMU toward the end of next week.