In spite of pouring rain and a 50 km/h wind, the University of Saskatchewan Huskie football team went through the paces for their annual spring scrimmage on Sunday.
As one would expect, the offence relied heavily on the running game, something the defence was prepared for, at least for the first two series. The passing game was very limited, with only about eight passes completed on the day thanks to slippery footballs that gave both quarterbacks and receivers problems.
The conditions notwithstanding, the scrimmage and entire camp gave the Huskie coaching staff a good idea of the team they will be putting on the field this fall “I know one thing,” said Head Coach Brian Towriss of the weekend. “I know we’re further ahead of where we were last year, for sure. It was tough to evaluate today, but we confirmed what we already knew.”
Quarterback Drew Burko started against the first string defence and wasn’t able to do much against them as they were expecting the running plays and quick outs. When Burko did try to throw the ball down field, it slipped through the receivers hands or was intercepted, with halfback Braxton Lawrence intercepting a pass early on.
The pass rush was excellent, with Joel Seutter and Levi Steinhauer breaking through and catching the quarterback on a couple of occasions. When Chase Bradshaw and Jahlani Gilbert-Knorren took their series under centre, they were able to move the ball with more ease, but both were facing a defence with more new recruits cycled in and both used their scrambling abilities to gain first downs when nothing else was working.
“Every one of those guys has their strengths,” said coach Towriss of his top three quarterbacks. “We have to find out who is the most consistent as we go. Chase (Bradshaw) has a decision to make, at this point in time, as to what he is going to do.” Bradshaw has yet to decide if he is committing to the Huskies for the fall.
Things started opening up for the offence as the scrimmage wore on, with, Gilbert-Knorren engineering the only major of the morning, throwing a six-yard strike to Josh Huschi. Running backs Jarvis James, Jeremy Andrew, Drew Bexson, Devin Sapara and Devin Logan all showed they are ready to take on a greater role with good runs. Adam Bachiu had a nice catch on the touchdown drive, holding on after getting hit hard by Joey Todd, while linebacker Brad Kotania stepped into running back Kent Rempel for a big hit later in the scrimmage.
Quarterback Matt Bonaca looked much more poised than one would expect from a high school recruit. He marched the ball down to the goal line, thanks to big plays from WJ Mouat teammates Deion Bain and Devin Logan. The defence stood tall, however, with Glen Joorisity stopping Logan from one yard out, and then the secondary giving Bonaca nothing to throw to on second down, forcing a sack.
While it wasn’t a great end to spring camp, the Huskies were able to see some of their great young talent at work, and were generally happy with what they saw. They will want to get their injuries sorted out, specifically with the receivers, as three regulars (Jerit Lambert, Mitch Stevens and Braeden George) sat out some or all of camp. Most signs are positive, however, and the added experience and depth should make the 2012 Huskies better and more competitive than last season.