The Bison defense makes a tackle during Wednesday's scrimmage.
Aug. 17, 2011
LEWISBURG, Pa. - There were some new colors out on the Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium field mid-day Wednesday. Referees in black and white striped shirts joined the orange-and-blue-clad players and coaches as the Bucknell football team held its first scrimmage of the preseason under a hot sun. The scrimmage consisted of a number of different situations, including red zone, coming out, four-minute and two-minute drills.
The scrimmage was not scored and instead of the team dividing into two squads, the offense occupied one sideline and the defense the other.
"I really thought we started well on both sides of the ball," said Bison head coach Joe Susan. "As the scrimmage went on, our defensive enthusiasm and emotion started to lag. It is one of the hotter days we have had compared to some of the rain we have experienced. It's been humid, but it hasn't been sunny and humid like today. I think we did some things from an offensive standpoint where it looks like we have matured a bit. Obviously, I am going to see the film and decide from there. The big thing is we came out of this thing healthy. Of course, there are the bumps and bruises, but if you are too healthy, then you aren't hitting hard enough."
The defense seemed to have the upper hand during the two-plus hour scrimmage. Senior DL Josh Eden was a mainstay in the backfield when on the field, while freshman DB Jordan Dudas had a couple of nice pass breakups. Another freshman, LB Evan Byers, made a goal-line stop on third down early in the scrimmage, forcing the offense to kick a field goal.
"Usually in the first scrimmage you can expect the defense to be ahead of the offense," commented Susan. "I think the defense is ahead in terms of polish. Offensively, we have challenged them with a fairly substantial install and now we have all of our offense in and we can now come back and polish and really focus on what we can do well."
An acrobatic catch by sophomore WR Victor Walker after a Dudas tip, a touchdown catch of better than 50 yards by Walker and a 30-yard Burke Batten-to-Josh Brake strike on third down were some offensive highlights during the scrimmage. Additionally, sophomore QB Brandon Wesley found junior TE Nick Gatto for a touchdown, while junior RB Jeremiah Young sprinted down the left sideline for nearly 20 yards at one point.
The practice session concluded with a few wind sprints before Susan dismissed the team to the ice cold tubs sitting just off the field.
Bucknell is scheduled to complete its fourth of five two-a-day sessions Thursday. The Bison will be on the grass practice field at 9 a.m. and will follow with a 3:30 p.m. practice inside Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium. Bucknell's next scrimmage will take place Sunday, Aug. 21, at 6 p.m. The Bison will go through a complete pre-game routine and kickoff time will mimic the start time of Bucknell's first four games of the 2011 campaign.
"Our practices are primarily situational," mentioned Susan. "It's going to be interesting in the upcoming days because the freshmen start to go through orientation on Friday and when they come back it's like they come from a different planet. Sunday's scrimmage will be a little more game than situational. We will have a true pregame and we'll have both sides of the ball on the same sideline."
The Bison are now just over two weeks from their season opener, a Sept. 3 home contest against Duquesne.