Lengthy scrimmage highlights ASU football's 16th practice

JONESBORO (8/20/09) - The Arkansas State football team held the longest scrimmage of its fall camp thus far on Thursday, spending almost its entire 16th practice running over 100 full-contact and unscripted plays inside ASU Stadium.

The scrimmage featured four segments and allowed the offense to try and sustain drives during each one.  Three different groups on both offense and defense saw action during each segment, allowing a large number of players the opportunity to get plenty of reps.

"I was pleased with a lot of things that went on tonight," said ASU head coach Steve Roberts.  "I thought we made some big plays offensively and I thought we made some big stops defensively.   It's tough out here when you have a big hit that leads to a turnover, you are excited...but you are upset because you turned the ball over.  When you are going against yourself, it's tough to be excited.  We had some big plays offensively and we were glad to see that, but you can't give up the big plays defensively."

The first segment spotted the ball at the offense's 30-yard line to start each drive.  The defense allowed just three first downs, gave up only one play that covered more than 10 yards and also recorded a sack and a tackle for loss.

The offense had more success during the next segment, which spotted the ball at the defense's 35-yard line to start each drive.  The offense scored two touchdowns, both on pass plays from senior quarterback Corey Leonard to senior wide receiver Taylor Clements, and made two field goals on six drives. The defense also made some big plays during the segment, getting sacks from sophomore linebacker Demario Davis and sophomore defensive lineman Dorvus Woods, a tackle for loss by redshirt freshman Timothy Starson and an interception by junior defensive back Walter Moody.

"I thought Corey was extremely sharp," said Roberts.  "Especially after the first series.  The first time the first offense stepped out there against the second defense they went three-and-out back-to-back times, but after that, they made some big plays against the first and second team defense. They were able to rebound from a lackluster start and be successful.  We had some guys that haven't been getting a whole lot of reps that got a lot of reps tonight, and you could see that they have been paying attention.  I thought they filled in and did a good job for us."

"Taylor has done a good job in fall camp and he has got to figure more into our plans this fall than he did last fall," said Roberts.  "We are real pleased with the way he is playing and performing right now."

The third segment started each of four drives from the offense's 25-yard line. The offense's only score during the segment was a 16-yard field goal by redshirt freshman Brandon Parker on the first drive, which featured three plays that covered over 10 yards.  The defense recovered a fumble on the first play of the second drive and forced a three-and-out on the next series.  The offense was able to achieve two first downs on the final drive, but saw it end at the defense's 47-yard line.

The Red Wolves worked on red zone during the final segment, starting each drive at the defense's 18-yard line.  The offense scored on its first six drives of the segment, starting with a Leonard completion to senior tight end Trevor Gillott for an 18-yard touchdown on the first play.  Sophomore Ryan Wilbourn made field goals from 40 and 19 yards out to end the next two drives, Parker made a 30-yard field goal on the fourth drive, redshirt freshman Andre Smith rushed for a two-yard touchdown on the next series and freshman Seth Tripod threw an 18-yard touchdown pass to sophomore wide receiver T.J. Burk to wrap up the scoring.

"I was also very pleased with the effort of our kickers," added Roberts.  "We missed on one attempt from 49 yards, but they were good on all of their others, and there were more than 10 attempted out here today."

ASU will hold one practice Friday at 5:45 p.m.

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