August 12, 2007

Scrimmage awards publisher Chris Karpman and staff writer Taylor Price were in attendance at Saturday's Camp Tontozona scrimmage. Here are their picks for some of the biggest highlights on the day.

Best catch: There were at least three really good catches on Saturday: Kerry Taylor making essentially a one-handed grab over the middle with several defensive players in the vicinity. Mike Jones had a Willie Mays-styled over the shoulder grab on the sideline on a well defended play. Brent Miller caught the only touchdown pass from Rudy Carpenter, leaping in the back of the end zone with Travis Goethel there to make the hit. Karpman's pick: Jones. Price's pick: Miller.

Best run: Ryan Torain had workmanlike carries of 16 and 20 yards were he dragged defenders along for the ride but the two real standout runs on the day were by Jarrell Woods, and Keegan Herring, respectively. Woods busted a 20-yard touchdown run up the gut against the defensive reserves. Most impressive about the carry was how he exploded and separated from defenders that had an angle on him once he broke through the line. Herring's carry started out outside the tackle box on the right before he cut back completely across the field with [big freshman defensive tackle db]Jonathan English[/db] (yes, Jonathan English) in pursuit. Herring was still trying to make something on the play at the end when he was hit and knocked out of bounds. Karpman's pick Herring. Price's pick: Herring.

Play of the day: Freshman defensive tackle Jon Hargis jumped at the line of scrimmage to deflect a pass from Rudy Carpenter, and as he fell to the ground on his back afterward, the ball came down and landed on him for an interception. It seemed as though nobody even realized (not even the refs) it was an interception for a split second, and then it became clear the ball never hit the ground. Karpman's pick: Hargis. Price's pick: Miller's touchdown catch.

Best special teams play: Clearly, the best play here was Kyle Williams' 39 punt return. What is impressive about Williams is that he's as quick and agile as he is fast, and he gets up the field while being able to simultaneously make breathtaking, sharp and aggressive lateral moves. Karpman's pick: Williams. Price's pick: Williams.

Best hit: Littrele Jones absolutely devastated Rodney Glass on a little swing pass or an out route. Jones was waiting in what looked like zone coverage and when the ball was delivered to Glass, Jones pretty much flattened him like a steam roller. The hit busted Glass' chin strap and knocked him out of the scrimmage, as he needed stitches to close the resulting gash. Karpman's pick: Jones. Price's pick: Jones

Offensive MVP: There was no clear-cut top performer on either side of the ball. Torain had 60 yards on eight carries and probably would have rushed for well over 150 yards if given the ball enough times. He had carries of 16 and 20 yards and looked very close to breaking off a much bigger run on several occasions. But Taylor's performance is hard to overlook. He ran very crisp routes, found the open space and made easy, fluid catches in traffic. He and Williams looked like they were clearly the top two receivers on the field. Taylor finished with five catches for 87 yards. Karpman's pick:. Taylor Price's pick: Torain

Defensive MVP: Questions may have lingered about the health of Robert James heading into fall camp but the helmet to helmet collision he intentionally delivered on Ryan Torain on an inside carry should put that to rest. James popped right up, went right back to the huddle and was ready for the next play. He was all over the field on Saturday, blitzing off the edge and coming up on the run. Meanwhile, Michael Marquardt was doing a great job occupying the middle so that the linebackers behind him, including James, were able to make plays. Karpman's pick: Marquardt. Taylor's pick: James

Most impressive offensive freshmen: Two weeks ago, we didn't even know who he was but coming into Saturday's scrimmage, walk-on kicker Zach Richards was pushing Thomas Weber for the starting place kicking job. Richards made three 47-yarders and missed a 42-yarders, showcasing a powerful leg that can easily make kicks from beyond 55 yards. In fact, Richards told us after the scrimmage that he's even made a 68-yarder in a workout. He looked better than Weber on the day. Was it a better performance by a freshmen than Kerry Taylor? Perhaps. Karpman's pick: Taylor. Taylor's pick: Richards

Most impressive defensive freshmen: Omar Bolden started with the first-team at cornerback and certainly didn't embarrass himself, or even look out of place for that matter. That alone is probably enough to earn our praise. But Bolden wasn't the only impressive freshman on defense. James Brooks earned more playing time than he otherwise would have due to Tranell Morant going down with a knee sprain early on, and he took full advantage. Brooks has great size and athleticism and he's only just now playing in a 3-point stance for the first time in his life. He showed great activity and was in on several plays. Karpman's pick: Bolden. Price's pick: Brooks

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