The offense tried to establish the run and at first had varying success with Adam Hine and Nate Carter toting the rock. The offense came out a little rusty and execution lacked in the passing game to start the scrimmage. It wasn’t until a few series in that the first team offense got going on.
Hill hit Jamaal Williams out of the backfield and, after breaking a tackle or two in what was a tough run for around 11 yards, the offense got a little fired up. After a shifty run of his own, Hill would hook up with Kurt Henderson in the corner of the end zone despite great coverage by Trent Trammell. Trammell was in perfect position for a pass breakup or interception but as the two fell to the ground it was Henderson who collected the ball.
“The defense played well I thought,” said safety Kai Nacua. “We wanted to try and stop the run first and I thought we did a pretty good job of that, except on some plays. The offense did make some great plays through the air though like the touchdowns they scored on the outside.”
The second team offense under the leadership of quarterback Christian Stewart would also begin to find some rhythm. After a tackle for a loss by safety Grant Jones, Stewart would get things rolling. He would run for a little over 20 yards on his own power while hitting receivers like Devon Blackmon on two plays for a combined 15 yards. After hitting Henderson on a quick pass, Stewart would be sacked by linebacker Michael Alisa. Another sack would follow from on the edge by freshman Fred Warner forcing a punt.
“We had some guys really step it up today,” Nacua said. “We had guys flying around out there. We have a lot of guys fighting for playing time so there is a lot of competition and guys want to make plays.”
A few guys that made some nice big plays were running back Adam Hine and wide receiver Devon Blackmon. Hine was one of the highlights of the scrimmage as he ran rampant, both through and around the defense. He would bust out on one specific play that he nearly took to the house from deep in the offense’s own territory. If it wasn’t for the recovery speed of Michael Shelton enabling Shelton to trip him up, Hine would have ran nearly 80 yards for a touchdown.
“I felt like I had a pretty good day today,” Hine said. “There’s always room for improvement but I think overall it was a good day. It just gets a little frustrating when you make a big run and get caught from behind like I did. That’s something that I need to work on so that doesn’t happen again.”
Hine would follow that sprint down the sideline with another eight yard run up the middle. Two plays later, Hine would tear off another eight yard run.
“I felt really comfortable out there today,” Hine said. “I felt pretty good about today. We had certain goals today for third down [conversion percentage] and completion percentages. I think the defense was on today but our offensive line was so on today. A couple of runs that I did really well on we had a pulling guard or tackle so it was nice.”
Quarterback Christian Stewart would eventually find the end zone. After a completion to Blackmon for a gain of around five, and a tackle for a loss by Kavika Fonua on Nate Carter, Stewart would hit Trey Dye for a large gain over the middle. Dye made a great catch, made a cut, and then turned it up field as a safety barreled down on him for a big hit.
Dye shook off the hit as the safety fell to the ground. Dye would maintain his feet and head up field again before being tackled. The catch put the offense in good field position. A big run that chewed up more yards on a scamper by Jamaal Williams up the middle would put the offense in scoring range. Finally, Stewart would take it in for the score on his own.
Execution-wise the offense did struggle a bit with penalties and miscues. The first string offense put themselves in a bad long and third down situation after consecutive penalties. Algernon Brown almost made up the 30 yard difference but came up five yards short on a swing pass.
“I think execution-wise we need to fix some things,” said Hine. “We had a lot of calls today and so we need to go back and look at the film and some things fixed.”
Receiver Mitch Mathews has a different take on why there was so much laundry on the field.
“I think a lot of it was because of the new referees we had for this scrimmage,” said Mathews. “We had new referees that we didn’t have all fall camp, so I think a of the problems that we had today was because we were used to doing things that weren’t being called on us all fall camp long.”
Adam Hine was clearly the workhorse today in the absence of Jamaal Williams on the first team offense due to Williams’ suspension. He powered his way through and around the defense all night long. Hine has matured as a runner and it’s now showing. He’s patient and aggressive hitting the holes as they form. Having him and Jamaal Williams in the backfield at the same time should be a pick your poison situation for a defense if he continues to run the way he did today.
There were some defensive playmakers during the scrimmage as well. True freshman Fred Warner made blitzed on one specific play from the outside and tackled Nate Carter for a loss. Also as mentioned above, Warner would collect a whistle sack on Christian Stewart during the scrimmage.
As he has been doing all fall camp long, middle linebacker Zac Stout turned in another good day’s performance, especially in the run game. Stout is a tough run-stuffer and makes very good reads to make the play. On a quick read, Stout got past the O-line to tackle Nate Carter and Adam Hine at the line of scrimmage.
From the defensive end position, Graham Rowley played very well. He scrapes along the line of scrimmage adeptly and was able to be in on multiple tackles at the point of attack in the trenches. He even made a great play on Jamaal Williams for a tackle for a loss.
Michael Alisa made a nice interception, jumping the route, on what was a bad throw. Alisa made a nice acrobatic catch in traffic to reel in the turn over.
Post Scrimmage Audio
Manoa Pikula, Mitch Mathews, and Austin Heder give their thoughts and perspective on the blue and white game scrimmage in the audios below.
Manoa Pikula Audio
Mitch Mathews Audio
Austin Heder Audio