ASU Defense Dominates Early; Offense Scores Late in Scrimmage

MONTGOMERY—Alabama State University held its final scrimmage of the preseason, and like last week, the defense dominated early with the offense scoring late.

During the 65-play scrimmage, the defense only allowed 282 total yards with 153 of those yards coming on the final four possessions of the scrimmage.

There were 13 drives in all, and the defense forced six three downs-and-out possessions, while also turning the ball over on downs and stopping one early drive with an interception.  Three of the drives were stopped with minus yardage in the drive.

The offense finally put together a seven-play 59 yard drive on the fifth possession of the scrimmage.  Demetric Price was the quarterback in the drive and culminated the drive with a 15-yard touchdown pass to Landon Jones.  Price finished the scrimmage completing seven of his 11 passes for 72 yards and one score.

Devin Dominguez stepped in for his turn at the quarterback position and struggled early.  He was intercepted by Brandon Roberts on his first pass attempt and missed on his first three passes.  During his third possession he led the offense on a six-play 60 yard drive that ended with Ronald Belser scoring on a 36-yard touchdown run.  Belser broke four tackles on the fourth-and-one play.

Dominguez finished the scrimmage three-for-seven passing for 35 yards and the interception. Rashard Burkette directed the final three possessions of the scrimmage, including the final two which ended in scores.

The offense scored on a seven-play 45-yard drive with Quendarious McKibbons scoring from three yards out.  The final possession of the day was also the best.  It went 11 plays and covered 60 yards with the final three yards covered by a scoring pass to Jones, his second of the scrimmage.

Burkette finished the scrimmage with six completions among his 11 attempts for 63 yards and a score. Belser led the team in rushing with 52 yards on four carries while McKibbons and Andrew Pitts each had 12 yards on seven carries.

Tim Clark, Maurice Tate and Marcus Solomon all had four tackles to lead a balanced defensive effort.  The defense also registered seven sacks on the day and broke up two passes to go along with Roberts' interception.

The kicking game was once again solid with Andrew Lyons connecting on all four extra points.  He also attempted a 57-yard field goal that fell just short during the scrimmage.

Anthony Speight had a good scrimmage punting the football.  He was actually able to flip the field on several of his punts as he averaged 40 yards per punt.  Lyons also had two punts and averaged 43 yards on his punts.

Even though the offense struggled during some of the possessions in today's scrimmage, offensive coordinator Melvin Spears saw some good things coming from the offense.

"We were able to finally kick it in a little late during the scrimmage," Spears said.  "We spent a lot of time today working with our second tier guys.  We played them a lot today and it showed."

"We have to work on getting the offense to jell a little more and to play with more tempo.  We want to play at a high level on each play and to do that we need to get in better shape."

Head coach Reggie Barlow echoed a lot of Spears comments. "Once again we had several individual players that did some good things," Barlow said.  "We played with a lot of young players, especially on the offensive line, and did not play some of the older players as much.  We need to see how the young players are going to help us this year and see how they step up and compete."

"I am pleased with our wide receivers and our running backs.  The backs ran the ball hard and the receivers can make some big plays, but we have to get the offensive linemen in shape."

All three quarterbacks were able to take around the same amount of snaps again in this scrimmage, and once again the offense was able to score under the leadership of each quarterback.

"We will take a long look at evaluating our quarterbacks," Barlow said.  "All three played behind a young offensive line today as we played all of those young players.  It showed as there were several sacks out there.

But sometime for the quarterbacks to be effective it is not all about stats, but the way the team plays for them, how they handle adversity, how they organize the team and their sense of urgency.  All three have shown a lot of positives so we will carefully evaluate them."

The Hornets will study film on Sunday and take Monday off.  Tuesday they will hit the practice field at 3 p.m. as they begin final preparations for the first game against Mississippi Valley State University on Sept. 4 at 7 p.m.