Addazio and the Eagles held their final scrimmage of fall camp and although I didn't attend, EagleAction's Austin Tedesco did a fine job of breaking down what happened both in his recap and on Twitter.
Here are some of the more salient takeaways from the scrimmage:
All of the running backs got reps during the practice. Tyler Rouse, Myles Willis, Marcus Outlow, Jonathan Hilliman and Richard Wilson all got some touches. According to Tedesco, Wilson showed that he can be a very physical back and was difficult to take down. Addazio kept both Rouse and Willis's touches limited to prevent them from wearing down before the opening game. I have the feeling that the sophomores Rouse and Willis will get a majority of the touches, but it's good to see that we have some physical backs in there too for goalline and short yardage situations.
If you had listened to our radio show last night, the player that we hyped the most would be true freshman WR Sherman Alston. The diminutive receiver might be the secret weapon of this offense, and according to the reports today he continued to make big plays. Tedesco was also quick to note that even though he is the smallest player on the team, he didn't shy away from contact. Again, it was mentioned last night, but this may be a kid that everyone is going to be talking about for the Eagles.
In terms of the quarterback play, Tyler Murphy was much improved. He hit Charlie Callinan for a touchdown pass as well as a deep throw to Thadd Smith. Darius Wade was back from a hamstring injury, but Addazio was hesitant to let anyone hit him because of risk of being reinjured. The report said that the shoulder injury to Braxton Miller was something that was talked about on the sidelines. Clearly you want to keep Wade fresh and not risk a needless injury, because if Murphy goes down, he's going in.
On the defensive side of the ball, the most interesting development to note is the battle for playing time at linebacker. Steven Daniels did not line up with starter Josh Keyes. Instead, Mike Strizak and Sean Duggan saw first team reps. I wouldn't read too much into this though as it appears that Don Brown will actually have the luxury of cycling in players for specific packages and give rest when a player is gassed. This may be one of the few positions on the team where the coach has that luxury.
Mehdi Abdesmad was back on the field and looks ready to go against UMass. That is a huge lift, because he is going to be a key to that defensive line, a healthy Abdesmad is vital to the production of that line. If he can continue where he left off before Nick O'Leary's asshattery took him out, the senior could be poised for a breakout season. After missing the last scrimmage, Brian Mihalik was back on the field as well.
Finally, it looks like I jumped the gun on the Eagles' starting placekicker for 2014. Tedesco said that even though it appeared that Mike Knoll was going to get the start, Alex Howell has jumped ahead of him on the depth chart and will be the Eagles starting FG kicker. Just goes to show how fast things can change in a coach's mind from one scrimmage to another. Honestly, this is probably a good thing. Howell has been around the team for a few years now and hopefully the pressure of the college game won't affect him as much.
Thus concludes the final scrimmage of the summer for the Eagles as Addazio has chosen to rest them and get them ready for UMass. For the full break down and more analysis from today's scrimmage, make sure to check out Austin's full report.
We are only ten days away from kick off. It's almost here.