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We are back in Bragg Memorial Stadium and there are two very important things to note. First of all, it is football season and Curtis Pulley is no longer around. He had a great run while he was here, but now it is time for some new blood to step up. Second, it is extraordinarily hot. This is not football weather at all.
But I digress, football is back on the Hill and that’s reason enough to be happy. The Annual Orange and Green game is a chance for young players to show what they are capable of and for older players to solidfy their spots as leaders on the team.
A player to watch will obviously be redshirt sophomore Martin Ukpai. This quarterback stepped onto the scene at the Florida Classic and torched the Wildcats with relative ease. He had some help from veteran running back Philip Sylvester, but the team was his, at least for that night.
Obviously he’ll want to recapture some of that Classic magic before the season starts. A sophomore team leader is a great base to build on for future years.
Which brings me to my next point. This team is extremely young. 28 seniors said good-bye last semester, 17 of which were starters. Youth, but not necessarily inexperience, runs the team now.
From the experience standpoint we have senior quarterback Eddie Battle. This man was the starter before Curtis Pulley and now hopes to reclaim his job after a right shoulder injury sidelined him last season. The injury came after Pulley went down, so he had his chance to start again and it was snatched away.
Kickoff is in about 10 minutes, stay tuned, there’s more commentary to come.
Jerrell Stewart is not Leroy Vann. Vann would sometimes muff kickoffs and punts and still turn them upfield. Stewart muffed and sulked.
The Green team is doing a nice job moving the ball without having to use an aerial attack. Ukpai has only thrown one pass so far. The rest has been a mix between Ukpai scrambles and Sylvester runs. Ukpai’s center obviously needs some more experience though. Shotgun formation is a problem because every snap has been too low for Ukpai to really handle.
Lavontae Page looks pretty recovered. Two runs, two first downs and the Green team is on the 12 and ready to strike.
Ukpai is running the offense like an old pro. This could partly be because every time someone so much as sneezes near him, the refs whistle the play dead.
I think there is a reason why people do not usually blog scrimmages. They are kind of boring. This is really just an extended practice. No one is doing anything particularly unexpected. Outside of a few big hits, nothing really huge has happened.
No, I do not count a 20-yard field goal as huge.
3-0 Green team with 13:26 left in the half.
I am not impressed with freshman quarterback Austin Trainer. The Tallahassee native looked extremely uncomfortable in the pocket and tried to force way too many throws. His reward was an interception by Alexander Ajayi on the Orange team’s 12 yard line.
Only a field came from the interception. The Orange team will need to take better care of the ball though. Hopefully Trainer has a short memory.
6-0 Green team with 11:04 left in the half.
Ronald Smith, another freshman quarterback, finally made the game interesting. He just ran for 13 yards and forgot to bring his left shoe with him. The Orange team is finally sustaining a drive behind Smith. A touchdown would give the Oranges a lead despite two Green scoring drives.
I said the Oranges would have to take better care of the ball. Trainer threw his second pick of the game, and Anthony Shutt made him pay for it. A pick-6 is not a stellar way to start your career off here at Florida A&M, hopefully this is just a sign of growing pains.
Trainer also needs to try being a little nicer to his receivers. They are making the catches, but they are sacrificing their bodies to do so. If Trainer keeps laying his receivers out across the middle they’ll just stop catching.
13-0, Green team with 2:00 left in the half
Halftime, anyone else think it’s weird that the Green team (also known as the first team offense) has not scored a touchdown yet?
The Orange offense that looked anemic in the first half is looking effective and efficient to start of this half. Trainer is still forcing passes, and he will probably pay for it again soon, but for now he is putting together a sound drive.
As if to ruin my confidence in them, the Orange squad decided to stall out as I was typing that last paragraph. Not fair at all.
Speaking not fair, the Oranges need to learn some discipline on special teams. Laying out a return man before he even gets the ball is a little on the illegal side.
Trainer needs to realize that Ajayi is not on his team, at least for today. Ajayi has touched the ball more than the receivers after it leaves Trainer’s left hand. The Green team did not need any extra momentum and now they have the ball on the Orange four yard line.
Ukpai decided to join in interception fun. Every Rattler quarterback has at least one pick, except for Eddie Battle. Ukpai needed to show some more composure in the red zone. Coming away with nothing is not acceptable.
Two minutes left in the third and we might finally see our first offensive touchdown by the Greens.
We had to wait until the start of the fourth quarter but the first team finally managed to score a touchdown.
20-0 Green team with 13:28 left in the game.