|« Bucking a Trend: ISU is one of the few football programs to have a black coach and black coordinators||Bison enter with ‘unproven’ tag »|
Kemp makes most of opportunity in Griz scrimmage
It looks like Saturday is the day quarterback Gerald Kemp got his legs underneath him for the Montana Grizzlies, after he ran for 53 yards and two touchdowns in their first fall football scrimmage.
“That’s probably the most reps I’ve got this fall,” said Kemp, a 215-pound redshirt freshman. “I just had to come out here and try to improve, try to get better."‘
That was the goal for most of the Griz inside Washington-Grizzly Stadium: The younger tier of players had the lion’s share of the snaps.
Walter Payton Award candidate Chase Reynolds had just one rep, though it was memorable: He came down on punt cover and put the hit of the day on return man Brandon Dodson.
It was the scrimmage’s second play. Reynolds then went to the sideline and watched Dan Moore (8 carries, 26 yards, one touchdown), his brother Tel Reynolds (4 carries, 11 yards, one TD), Peter Nguyen and Thomas Brooks-Fletcher take over.
The Griz ran 28 times and threw it 19. Brooks-Fletcher caught the day’s lone passing touchdown, a 3-yard dart from junior Andrew Selle.
“A quick little play action down at the goal line,” said Selle, who was 5-for-8 for 59 yards. “You come around and flash the ball, turn around and if he’s open in the flat, it’s our job to get the ball to him.
“I didn’t want to mess up the throw; I just wanted to make sure he got that one.”
Selle looked comfortable running the offense, and Oregon transfer Justin Roper also made some strong throws. Roper was 3-for-7 for 53 yards, with 29 coming on a diving catch by tight end Dan Beaudin.
Selle’s longest gain was a 22-yarder to Sam Gratton, who had two catches for 28 yards.
“It felt good out here,” said Selle. “Great weather. It’s good to get out and have some live tempo, and pass the ball around in some game-type situations.
“There were some good things, but obviously we’ve got a lot of work to do. We’re 11 days into camp, and frankly we’re still two weeks away from that first game. We have work to do. That’s our mind-set.”
Hauck didn’t say much about either junior QB.
“I’ll have to watch the film,” he said.
Counting 12 special teams plays, and four sacks - linebacker Brock Coyle and linemen Bryan Waldhauser, George Mercer and Bobby Alt made those - the scrimmage lasted 63 plays, and 66 minutes.
There was a down moment on the day’s fifth play, a kickoff, when freshman receiver Aaron Roberts went down with an apparent knee injury.
“We just don’t get many (special teams) reps and we had an injury on one of those, which is why we don’t do much of it,” said Hauck. “That’s a pretty safe drill. That shouldn’t be where you get people hurt, and we did.”
New punter Sean Wren averaged 40.3 yards on six attempts. A second batch of kickoffs netted returns of 45 yards for both Nguyen and Moore, with kicker Russell Schey making the stop each time.
Jabin Sambrano returned the final kickoff 95 yards.
Levi Buckles had three catches for 36 yards to lead the receivers, but the day belonged more to the runners, including Kemp, who tore off scoring runs of 8 and 30 yards.
“I was just looking downfield and you don’t have much time to think about stuff,” said Kemp, who could also figure into UM’s special teams. “I saw my guys were covered and … I hit that clock and just went.”
Hauck took the good with the bad.
“I thought the backs did a good job today,” he said. “Their vision was good.
“I thought our youth showed up today, I thought our fatigue showed up today and like I’ve been saying, I think the jury’s still out on this team.”
The Griz have film study Sunday, and hit the practice field (twice) again on Monday. A second and final scrimmage is set for Thursday morning at 9 inside the stadium. Montana opens its 2009 season on Sept. 5 against Western State of Colorado.
By Fritz Neighbor