While pass game develops, runners are on their marks
Running backs Keith Dawson (20) and Jarrius Lindsey (28) work up some strategy with coach Kerry Webb. Play Video
Running backs Keith Dawson (20) and Jarrius Lindsey (28) work up some strategy with coach Kerry Webb.
With a little breathing room, and some film study, between Saturday’s scrimmage and the start of two-a-days Monday, JU coach Kerwin Bell somewhat borrowed a line from former coach Herm Edwards to assess some of the offense.

“We are who we thought we are in the run game,’’ Bell said. “These young linemen are going to be able to move some people and really be able to run the ball downhill a little more than we did last year which is encouraging.’’

The four main running backs, Keith Dawson, Jarrius Lindsey, Johnnie Hicks and Frantz Caudio ran for a combined 285 yards on 57 carries in the scrimmage which lasted 158 plays.

While the run game was stout, pass protection wasn’t as the team keeps experimenting with different players in different positions.

“Our pass protection wasn’t there and a lot of that was our tackle situation and we’re changing some things there we think will help us on the edge,’’ Bell said. “We’ve got four or five great pass rushers on defense on the edge so we’ve got to have our full strength to handle those guys.’’

One of the most watched battle still is working itself out as the team tries to find a replacement for graduated Josh McGregor.

“It’s still up in the air,’’ Bell said. “I thought Kade’s (Bell) play was extremely productive. If I can get him out of third and long mistakes, sometimes you have to punt, after that interception he really played well after that and stayed away from sacks.’’ Kade Bell tossed the interception on a third and long.

Bell was 10 of 17 for 156 yards.

“Steven Hughes played well except for a couple of bad reads where he threw interceptions and with Trevius (Folston), we have to have more protection because he’s a pocket guy,’’ Kerwin Bell said. “We’ve got a long way to go offensively.’’

On defense the coach is encouraged by the freshmen the Dolphins have picked up.

Three newcomers, Rolan Milligan, Trey Barnes and Marquise Dixon all have flashed.

“Milligan might be having the best camp of everybody out here,’’ Bell said. “One thing you see on film, and we see in practice, is we haven’t missed on any defensive players, freshmen especially. And on offense, too, this class is special and along with the transfers we have upgraded our team in a lot of areas and gained a lot of depth.’’

The encouragement goes beyond the play. “We’re not just talking play well, but mentally and for freshmen that’s unusual especially the first scrimmage,’’ he said and pointed out linebacker Barnes had 12 to 15 tackles. “It’s going to be hard to keep him off the field. “We’re really happy with our freshman class, the depth, the energy and the athletic ability they are bringing.’’

- Jim Nasella