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Demon Deacons conduct first scrimmage

Posted Wednesday, August 18, 2004

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Exactly halfway through preseason camp, the Demon Deacons took a mid-term of sorts, participating in the season’s first scrimmage on Wednesday morning. The full-contact scrimmage lasted ninety minutes at Groves Stadium.

With returning starter Cory Randolph on the sidelines nursing a mild hamstring injury, redshirt freshman Ben Mauk directed the first-team offense on three touchdown drives against the second team and scout defense. The first touchdown was a 45-yard pass up the sideline to senior Jason Anderson. Anderson out-jumped freshman Alphonso Smith for the grab and the score. On the next possession, however, Smith broke up a pass intended for Anderson on a 3rd-and-5.

Some of the loudest contact of the morning came from an unusual source. Sophomore Willie Idlette caught a Mauk pass on a shallow crossing route. With his momentum carrying him toward the sideline, Idlette turned up field and barreled through cornerback Riley Swanson. Swanson held on, however, for the tackle. The play prompted enthusiastic applause and cheering on from both offensive and defensive players.

The second offensive touchdown came on a screen pass from Mauk to redshirt freshman Micah Andrews, who escaped a trio of defenders and cut against the grain for the score. On the third scoring drive, Mauk hit Kevin Marion and Delon Lowe for big gains before D’Angelo Bryant plowed his way into the endzone from inside the five-yard line.

Chris Davis made a great catch on a long seam pattern. As he made the grab, Davis was de-cleated on a clean hit by defensive back Robert Simmons, but held onto the ball for a first down. Moments later, he scored a touchdown on a 20-yard end orbit sweep.

Defensive highlights included true freshman Jeremy Thompson stripping Mauk of the football with a strong pass rush from the defensive end position. James Adams made a good tackle behind the line of scrimmage on Andrews. Warren Braxton executed a good open field tackle after a short Zac Selmon reception. Finally, Eric King separated the ball from John Tereshinski with a devastating hit in the left flat.

The Deacons also worked on kickoffs during the morning session. Matt Wisnosky and Ryan Plackemeier took turns kicking off and Micah Andrews, Kevin Marion and the 239-pound Bryant rotated as returners, eliciting on-lookers to refer to the returners as “Thunder and Lightning.”

The scrimmage wrapped up with the team’s four placekickers rotating from 42 yards away off of each hash mark and from down the middle. Wisnosky and Plackemeier were each 4-for-6 from that distance. Jon Temple and Sam Swank were both 1-for-3. One of Swank’s attempts was blocked by Jamil Smith.

The Deacons will have an afternoon session from 3:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. on campus.

On The Sideline: Greg Adkins (ankle), Cornelius Birgs (knee), Caron Bracy (knee), Jeromy Jones (concussion), Jerome Nichols (knee), Cory Randolph (hamstring) and Matt Robinson (groin) did not participate in the scrimmage. None of the injuries are considered to be serious.

Upcoming Practice Schedule: Practice continues this week on the campus fields with a 2:45 p.m. sessions on Thursday. The Deacons have two sessions on Friday. Saturday will be a busy day for the team with a 9:00 a.m. scrimmage and Fan Fest at 6:00 p.m. Both events will take place at Groves Stadium.

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