CHARLESTON, S.C. – Charleston Southern held its second scrimmage of fall camp on a steamy Sunday afternoon at Buccaneer Field. The Bucs scrimmaged for two hours in a live-game environment but did not tackle to the ground as they look to stay sharp and healthy with the season opener fast approaching.
CSU's defense dictated play in Tuesday's scrimmage and the unit shined again for much of the day, creating disruption up front while making plays in the back end. Offensively, quarterback Shane Bucenell continued a strong camp as he competes for time behind starter Kyle Copeland.
Striking a balance between simulating a game setting and maintaining optimum health was a focus for CSU head coach Jamey Chadwell and his staff entering the session.
"We've got a pretty mature team so we wanted to get one huge scrimmage where we tackled, where we did as much live stuff as we could and we did that Tuesday," Chadwell said. "We're not in the position where we can afford, this close to the game, to really lose anybody for a significant period of time. We wanted to make it as close as we could to a game physically without tackling."
"We did it last year and we thought it helped us out pretty well so we decided to do it again," Chadwell continued. "Some young kids maybe could use the tackling and maybe a running back would have broken a tackle here or there but we're not trying to beat each other. We're trying to make sure we're all together when we kick off in two weeks and that's what's most important."
Bucenell, London Johnson and Robert Mitchell got plenty of reps at quarterback with the staff confident in Copeland's experience and pleased with his progress in fall camp. Bucenell highlighted the offense's production with a long touchdown pass to wideout Jared Scotland and a pretty touch pass on a wheel route to sophomore running back Kelan Fraise.
It was more of the same for CSU defensively as the unit looks to continue the success that made them one of the country's best units in 2015. Senior cornerback Troy McGowens commented on the group's mentality.
"Being the second scrimmage of camp, we really just focused on ourselves," McGowens said. "Coach (Chad) Staggs came up with a game plan for our offense and we just need to keep working at getting better at what we can control. Pretty soon, it's time to get ready for North Dakota State so we're excited for that."
CSU is off practice tomorrow before returning to the field for its final two-a-day on Tuesday. The Bucs will turn their attention toward the Bison later this week and Chadwell is hoping they can iron out some details as game one of eleven creeps closer.
"I think now that we're through our second scrimmage, you start gearing up for your first opponent here relatively soon," Chadwell said. "After tonight, as we watch the video we'll solidify our depth chart and figure out who can we count on, who's gonna be traveling and who can help us, at least early on, until they gain some more experience. That's what we have to evaluate tonight and then we'll starting preparing all our practice toward that first game."