JONESBORO, AR (ASTATE) – The Arkansas State football team used its ninth fall camp practice to conduct an extended full-contact scrimmage Saturday morning at Centennial Bank Stadium.
The Red Wolves, set to open their 2015 season Sept. 5 at No. 10 USC, saw productive moments on both sides of the ball during the scrimmage which focused on multiple game-based scenarios in various starting field positions and included special teams work.
The offense recorded four touchdowns, including touchdown passes by senior Fredi Knighten and redshirt freshman James Tabary and a four-yard rushing score by running back Johnston White.
Knighten connected with sophomore receiver Dijon Paschal on a 40-yard pass for the first touchdown of the day, while Tabary later found junior wideout Chris Murray and sophomore tight end Brandon Brockman on scoring passes covering 55 and five yards, respectively.
Including the long touchdown passes, the offense accounted for a number of explosive plays. Senior receivers Booker Mays and J.D. McKissic both caught a pass that went for at least a 23-yard gain. Freshman quarterback D.J. Pearson connected with freshman receiver Darveon Brown for a 45-yard gain, while running back Warren Wand, also a freshman, posted a 20-yard rush.
"We had some really big plays offensively, but we had a few opportunities to go score some touchdowns and had to settle for field goals," said A-State head coach Blake Anderson. "We took some shots down the field and just didn't connect. I know we had a few (plays) where guys stepped out of bounds, but if you are going to be aggressive and take shots in those situations you have to come up with points. That is an area where we have to improve."
The defense was able to force several three-and-outs, came up with big plays behind the line of scrimmage and created turnovers, including an interception by sophomore cornerback Blaise Taylor deep in the offense's territory. Junior Chase Robsion, senior Chris Stone and redshirt freshman Marcus Hudson were among the A-State players to post a sack during the scrimmage.
"I thought the defense did a really good job," said Anderson. "They had several short-field situations and they forced the offense to kick the ball, which is something we talk about all the time. I thought they did a nice job in those areas."
The lengthy scrimmage not only provided the Red Wolves the chance to work on different schemes in a full-contact situation, but also allowed the coaching staff the opportunity to get a lot of players on the field and evaluate personnel.
"Guys like Warren Wand and Chris Murray stood out to me, but there will be others once I watch the film," Anderson said. "A guy like (freshman linebacker) Kirk Louis made a few plays in the open field as well. It is hard to tell, but I'd like to think that there is competition at every spot on the field."