Bucs wrap up preseason work with final scrimmageAugust 22, 2003
By CSU Sports Information
|Freshman Antoine Thomas led all rushers in scrimmage|
CHARLESTON, SC - Charleston Southern wrapped up preseason practice with a 90-minute scrimmage and will now begin preparing for their 2003 season opener on August 30 against The Citadel.
The scrimmage, sluggish at times due to penalties, saw only one touchdown scored as the CSU defense dominated most of the play. The offense was penalized nine times and committed three turnovers.
"There were some rough spots offensively," said CSU head coach Jay Mills. "We were not as consistent as we were in our first scrimmage. We had a number of penalties and some problems with ball security that we had not been having leading up to today. Our tempo offensively was disrupted quite a bit by those mistakes, and we certainly have to work hard this week to become a sharper unit."
Mills, however, was impressed by the play of the defense and with the special teams.
"I was most pleased with the improvement we showed on special teams, especially since that was a major disappointment in our first scrimmage," said Mills. "I thought the defense really got their legs under them after the offense scored that touchdown. We had a lot of guys on the first and second units making plays and disrupting the offense."
Among the standouts defensively were linebackers Bowe Butler, Martin Arce and Steven Lee. Linebacker Torri Barber and safety Javon Bryant recorded interceptions. All total, the defense rang up seven sacks and several additional tackles for loss.
Senior Don Phillips returned a kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown in the kicking phase of the scrimmage but the Bucs showed dramatic improvement in kick coverage and in the punting game.
Starting quarterback Clint Chappell completed five-of-15 passes for 74 yards and scored the only touchdown of the scrimmage on a one-yard run. Freshman Collin Drafts completed six-of-13 passes for 78 yards and freshman Jeff Crisp completed five-of-nine passes for 47 yards.
Freshman third-team tailback Antoine Thomas had his best performance of the fall, finishing with nearly 70 yards on 10 carries. Seniors Travis Mays and Sheldon Evans combined for about 65 yards on 14 attempts in limited action.
Among the receiving corps, junior Jomare Turner led the way with four receptions for 44 yards. Senior Aaron Dunklin caught two passes for 40 yards, including a 32-yard catch to set up the only touchdown of the day.
Now the focus turns to the season opener and to the start of the Jay Mills era. The coach feels the excitement of his team as kickoff approaches.
"The encouraging thing is we are planning to get a number of guys that have been banged up and have been sitting out back out on the practice field," said Mills. "I sense the excitement of the players as they look down the road and see the first game coming in a week. If nothing else, I have been very pleased and impressed with their attitudes and their work ethic. We have a lot of improving to do, but this team is working extremely hard to get better everyday."