Enterprise staff writer
ItÕs usually not a good sign when the first pass of a scrimmage is completed by the third-string quarterback, particularly after the first two already have five combined drives under their belts.
But despite the slow start, the UC Davis offense picked it up as the annual Blue-Gold Scrimmage progressed at Aggie Stadium on Friday. Redshirt freshman QB Randy Wright started slow, completing only one of his first eight throws including an interception. But the first-year starter quickly turned it around, going 13-for-15 for 238 yards and three touchdowns the rest of the way.
No official score was kept as the Gold squad was on offense the entire time, but the Aggies scored five touchdowns Ñ all through the air Ñ while kicker Sean Kelley converted both his field goal attempts, from 49 and 33 yards.
ÒEarly on, offensively we sputtered a bit and you have to credit the defense,Ó said UCD head coach Bob Biggs. ÒI was really pleased when Randy came on and played well in the second quarter. He showed great composure and I was pleased with that.Ó
A good chunk of the focus, understandably, was on Wright to see what he could do eight days before the season-opener against Cal as he tries to fill the big shoes of last yearÕs starter Greg Denham.
Early on, it looked like Wright was in over his head. His first pass to Troy Yudin fell incomplete and his second went through the hands of top target Sean Creadick Ñ who also had a rough start Ñ and right to Kevyn Lewis for an interception.
On the second drive, a receiver had a step on his defender but WrightÕs throw was underthrown and a bit wobbly, and it was knocked down, then Creadick dropped a second pass. Wright then threw high of tight end Dean Rogers as the offense was forced to punt on the third drive. He completed his first pass, to Rogers, for six yards,
before tossing low to Yudin on third down, bringing up another punt.
But then the first quarter ended and aided by the wind at his back in the second, things clicked for Wright.
He found Anthony Soto for five yards, Stephen Dunstan for seven and Brandon Tucker for 12 on a screen. Wright was sacked by Victor Lee, taking a big hit, but didnÕt let it rattle him. After a five-yard screen to Tucker, he hit Creadick Ñ who made a good snag Ñ in stride for 44 yards down to the one, capping the drive with a touchdown to Creadick on a fade route.
The next time out, the defense blitzed on third-and-8. With the line holding, Wright didnÕt panic, stood his ground in the pocket and fired a bullet to Creadick over the middle. Creadick had a step on his defender and wasnÕt caught, going all the way for an 82-yard score. Creadick caught four balls for 135 yards and two scores.
ÒThat wind was blowing pretty hard out there starting off,Ó Biggs said. ÒI think some of the balls got up in the wind and kind of fluttered, but he settled down and threw the ball accurately after that.Ó
Biggs said that the scrimmage would help sort out that last couple position battles and solidify the depth chart.
Alongside Creadick and Soto, the third wide receiver slot is still open. Dunstan showed his big-play ability, catching a 38-yard pass from Wright early in the third quarter, then proved his worth in the red zone, hauling in a 10-yard touchdown pass on a fade route two plays later.
Yudin had only one grab for eight yards, but could have had a couple more had the throws been on target. Redshirt freshman Tom Hemmingsen, who was named the teamÕs outstanding redshirt last year, had a good showing, catching a team-high five passes for 87 yards and two scores Ñ 33- and 38-yard TDs from Sean Maraz and Austin Heyworth, respectively.
ÒSteven Dunstan, we think can be a big home run threat for us and can really run, and I was
really pleased to see him make the catch he did and get down the field,Ó Biggs said. ÒTroy Yudin got open a couple times and Tom Hemmingsen reminds me of (former UCD star) Charlie Enos and heÕs got great body control and catches everything.Ó
While he said it was tough to tell exactly how the defense did before watching film, BiggsÕ initial reactions were positive about a unit that had three interceptions, three sacks and two fumbles recovered.
ÒI though the pressure was good and there were a couple times when the quarterback would have gotten pelted pretty good,Ó Biggs said. ÒI thought I saw some good breaks on the ball by some of our coverage people, which was really encouraging, and we got some turnovers.
We gave up some big plays but then we made some plays defensively.Ó
Now, Biggs said, all eyes turn to Cal.
ÒWeÕre done beating each
other up and (for the next week) everything is about Cal,Ó Biggs said. ÒWe got through this and had some fun with it and itÕs been a great camp.Ó
Notes: Biggs stood on the field around 20 yards behind the line of scrimmage for most of the night. Last year he was forced to sit on the sideline and was on crutches after having his knee scoped. … Tim Ketaily and Sean Davies started at right and left guard, respectively, but they are two spots Biggs still has to finalize. … Running backs Marquis Nicolis, Joe Trombetta and Nick Aprile all sat out with minor hamstring injures but Biggs said he expected them back in practice on Monday.
Ñ Reach Conor Tekautz at firstname.lastname@example.org or (530) 747-8049. Comment
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