2011 Preseason Scrimmage Report: Defensive Line

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I am pleased to report that the tradition of tight, crisp scrimmaging that
was established last spring seems to have carried over in to the fall.
This scrimmage was very well organized, in my opinion and even though some
injuries occurred which caused some shuffling with guys taking snaps in
situations where they weren’t planned (IE: Maddy and Redman getting a lot of
snaps for Battle and Martin) the replacement players didn’t miss a beat and
everyone seemed to know where they were supposed to be.

Before I dive in with the defensive line report, I did want to mention
something I noticed with the offensive play calling and the offensive line play
during this scrimmage. This scrimmage seemed to be much more pass heavy
than opening fall scrimmages have been in the past, and I think that has
everything to do with the coaching staff trying to get both lines more
comfortable protecting and rushing the passer. If that is the case, I have
to really applaud the staff’s acknowledgement that pass protection and pass
rushing are critical areas of focus for this season. The young players on both
lines have got to work on their timing in scrimmages to be successful when the
season starts.

I also think they were takinga hard look at Leal and Ju-Ju in this
scrimmage and really wanted to see what those guys could do along with the young
receivers. Personally, I continue to be very impressed with Mark
Leal. Mike O’Cain says that Leal has some “savvy” in the pocket and I
really agree with that. He moves around very well and his poise is
terrific for a young player. I think he is going to be a tremendous backup
to Logan Thomas this year and next. I also thought the offensive line
showed MUCH better execution in this scrimmage than they have in fall scrimmages
in the previous years. The offense ran several running plays that relied
heavily on crisp blocking and timing (letting the defense over-pursue the play
into the backfield and creating cutback lanes) and the offensive line seemed to
be in synch, especially the 1st team. It was very encouraging to see those
big holes for the tailbacks, and hopefully there is a lot of good film for the
younger defensive linemen to learn from. The