The Citadel Bulldogs scrimmaged for the final 45 minutes of Saturday’s practice as second-year head coach Brent Thompson and his staff continue to try and establish their depth chart as the Sept. 2 opener against Newberry draws near.
The defense was ahead early, controlling the opening few series of the 50-play scrimmage, forcing three-and-outs by both the first and second string with the offense backed up. The offense broke through with three long touchdown runs in the second half to balance things out, much like the Bulldogs trying to wear down an opponent into the fourth quarter.
Thompson liked some of what he saw in the scrimmage, but he also saw a team a little tired from 10 straight days of camp.
“I think we thought we got what we thought we were going to get,” Thompson said after the scrimmage. “You’re not going to go out there after nine days of practice and be sharp in every facet. Now, we need to go evaluate the film and figure out where we’re at right now. We’re only 10 days in.”
Senior Cam Jackson ripped off a 32-yard touchdown run to start the scoring for the offense on a short field. Jackson broke a couple of tackles in the backfield and broke to daylight for the first points of the morning. Quarterback Ryan McCarthy broke free moments later for a 41-yard score going back against the grain on an option keeper. Junior Rod Johnson ripped off a 40-yard run on the only play of a drive for the final touchdown by the offense.
Other offensive highlights included an early 17-yard run by Lorenzo Ward and a couple of impressive runs by Brandon Berry, who powered his way to a few of the initial first downs, which were tough to come by in the opening half. Berry’s size and power seemed to catch
everyone’s attention and is garnering some notice from the Bulldogs coaching staff.
“Brandon is a guy that we’ve put on a little bit of a fast track,” Thompson added. “He’s 235 pound and runs hard. He doesn’t know exactly what he’s doing yet, but he’s a load once he gets going in the right direction. He and Rainey are two guys we’re really going to count on.”
The defense quickly turned back the Bulldogs’ offense after a couple of first down runs by Berry. A Noah Dawkins stop in the backfield and a sack on second-and-long stalled the offense’s best early drive. On special teams, Gage Russell boomed a 50-yard punt into the wind and a blocked punt highlighted the early parts of the scrimmage.