As I wrote in my article for Sunday’s Gazette, I thought the defense controlled most of Saturday’s controlled scrimmage.
The defense had trouble stopping the quarterback draw and there were some missed tackles, but for the most part I thought it had the better of the offense. Anyway, here are some quick-hit thoughts from the final day of spring practice:
-Liked the way freshman tailback Kyle Lumpkin ran with the ball on one possession late in the day. He had six carries for 40 yards, including a 10-yard touchdown, on the 60-yard drive.
“He had the one fumble today, which I think is unacceptable, but he’s got a little shake to him, and I just love the kid,” Air Force coach Troy Calhoun said. “Attitude-wise, you’re around him as a kid, it’s contagious with the kind of determination he has and how much he loves football.”
-The defensive line played extremely well, led by Ben Garland, who forced and recovered a fumble, and Jake Paulson. Also thought sophomore linebacker Myles Morales stood out. He had a sack and a couple tackles for losses and always seemed to be around the ball.
-Thought freshman receiver Kevin Fogler played well. He made a bunch of grabs and in the situational part of the scrimmage (when the first-team offense would run three straight third-and-2 or third-and-6 plays) he hauled in a 46-yard strike from junior quarterback Shea Smith.
-That was Smith’s finest moment of the practice. He stood in the pocket and launched the ball just before absorbing a big hit. It was impressive enough that he put a deep ball on the money. More impressive that he did it knowing he was about to get stung.
-While quarterback Eric Herbort was really hard on himself after practice, I thought he had a few good moments, specifically the 60-yard touchdown pass to Anthony Hemphill.
-Hemphill again flashed his potential with that grab but it was balanced out by a pair of drops.
-This just in: Ryan Harrison is good.
-Junior tight end Keith Madsen made a great catch in traffic for a 14-yard gain. But the tight ends were relatively quiet otherwise.
-Spoke to senior-to-be nose guard Jared Marvin in the tunnel prior to the scrimmage. Marvin, one of five returning defensive starters, tore both the ACL and MCL in his right knee early in spring practice and had surgery on March 17.
Calhoun had told me that Marvin would need five to seven months of rehabilitation, and I’ve been told that’s pretty much standard for the type of injury he suffered. But coaches rave about Marvin’s toughness and work ethic, and Calhoun said Marvin likely would be back “sooner than it’s supposed to be.”
Marvin thinks so too.
He was doing some exercises when I saw him, and he said his rehab was going well, and he is getting his range of motion back in his leg. According to my math, five months from March 17 is August 17. So I asked if he would be back in late August.
“What?” he said. “Early August.”
It was impossible not to believe him.
-As I’ve written before, defensive line coach Ron Burton is one of my favorite coaches to watch during practices because of his intensity, energy and attention to detail. He’s also one of the more entertaining guys on the field.
Saturday he stopped freshman defensive end William Dallas as Dallas ran onto the field with the third-team defense. Dallas, you see, was wearing around his waist one of those hand-warmer pouches that you’ll often see quarterbacks, receivers and kickers using. Burton obviously didn’t approve.
“What are you doin’ with that mess on?” Burton asked. “Makes you look soft.”
Dallas shed the hand-warmer and tossed it to a manager before lining up with his teammates.