Derek Dooley identified several good lessons coming out of yesterday's scrimmage, the most important of which was that the team needs "to learn not to get frustrated when things are down and learn not to get complacent when things are good." That's a reference to the fact that the defense pretty much had its way with the offense early, but the offense kept their collective chins up and the defense got fat and happy.
Nick Stephens had a Clawfense kind of day, going just 3-9 for six yards, much of which was him being jittery but some of which was attributable to the defense playing well. Dooley credited defensive back Janzen Jackson with "just a great, phenomenal play" in picking off Matt Simms, and linebacker Austin Johnson intercepted Tyler Bray in a two-minute drill. Johnson was apparently the defensive unit's star of the day, leading in both tackles with eight and tackles for loss with 2 for minus six yards.
But then the offense picked themselves up, dusted off their britches, and evened things up a bit.
Simms and receiver Zach Rogers beat Jackson for a 22-yard touchdown reception, and running back Tauren Poole, according to the players, had the play of the game when he took a sweep 60 yards for a TD, making several players miss along the way. Poole finished with 94 yards on nine carries, and David Oku and Toney Williams had 23 yards on 14 carries and 12 yards on seven carries respectively. And no, no word on or from Bryce Brown, thank you very much.
All of this is to be expected, I suppose. Although we have plenty of great running backs, we also have a brand new offensive line. Although we have a seasoned corps of wide receivers, we have a pretty green stable of QBs being protected by that same offensive line. Add to that that the defense is generally ahead of the offense at this time of year, and yeah, no over-worrying at this point. And that the offense didn't get down and made some headway late is a good sign for them and a good lesson for the defense.
Check out Dooley's post-scrimmage comments, via UTSports.tv.