JONESBORO (4/18/09) – The Arkansas State football team wrapped up its 2009 spring camp Saturday at ASU Stadium, holding its annual spring scrimmage that featured 94 plays and saw the offense top the defense 47-27 using an alternate scoring system put in place by the Red Wolves’ coaching staff.
The offense came out on top in the spring scrimmage for the second time in the three years that ASU has used the scoring system which allows the offense and defense to not only score points in traditional ways, but also by other methods such as “explosive plays”, stringing together three consecutive first downs, forcing a three-and-out series, causing turnovers and creating sacks. The defense won last year’s scrimmage by a 52-36 score, while the offense picked up a 56-46 victory in 2007.
The scrimmage consisted of three different segments, the first starting each drive from the offense’s 30-yard line, the second focusing on red zone situations and third spotting the ball at the offense’s 25-yard line to begin each offensive series.
The offense marched down the field on the first drive of the scrimmage, picking up three explosive plays (runs of 12 yards or more and passes for at least 16 yards) and putting together three consecutive first downs for additional points that gave it an early 11-0 lead. Senior quarterback Corey Leonard, who completed 7-of-19 passes for a team-best 91 yards on the day, hit junior Anthony Robinson on a four-yard touchdown pass to cap the drive.
The defense got a sack from sophomore linebacker Demario Davis and an interception from junior cornerback Leroy Trahan, while also forcing back-to-back three-and-out series during the next three drives to pull within 11-7. Davis finished the day with three tackles, two tackles for a loss, two sacks, a forced fumble and one pass break-up, while Trahan was responsible for the defense’s only turnover.
The offense led 24-22 after the end of the red zone segment, which saw ASU make all three of its field goal attempts on the day. The score remained the same for the first two drives of the final segment, but the offense scored touchdowns on two of its final three possessions to pull away. Redshirt freshman quarterback Ryan Aplin found redshirt freshman receiver Taylor Stockemer on a 15-yard pass for the first touchdown. Redshirt freshman quarterback Andre Smith hit junior wideout Jonathan White on an 18-yard completion for the second score that ended the scrimmage.
“I’m excited to go watch film and see who got better today,” said ASU Head Coach Steve Roberts. “I think the competition was pretty good. We’ve got a corp group of leaders on this football team with some experience at some critical positions and I feel like we’re going to have the ability to make some plays offensively and do some things defensively to give some people some problems. We’re looking forward to getting this team back together at fall camp and continuing our preparation for the 2009 season.”
Leonard’s 91 yards led the ASU passing game, but Aplin added 72 yards, Smith 47 yards and sophomore Neely Sullivent 20 yards through the air. Sophomore Jermaine Robertson rushed for a team-high 53 yards on 15 attempts, also a team high. Redshirt freshman Don Jones followed Robertson with 32 yards on nine carries, including a one-yard touchdown run. White, who led the receivers with three catches for 56 yards, was one of nine players with at least one reception.
Defensively, junior safety M.D. Jennings and junior Isaiah Shepard had a team-high seven tackles. Senior defensive lineman Khari Mays and redshirt freshman defensive lineman Otto Collins joined Davis with a sack each.
“We had 13 or 14 guys out today and had some guys that didn’t get a whole lot of work after all the action our second-and-third team players saw today,” said Roberts. “I’m excited to go watch film and see who got better today.”
The Red Wolves held their annual Family Day Cookout following the scrimmage, moving it from ASU Stadium to Grace Baptist Church due to the chance of bad weather. Roberts recognized the players for their hard work on the field and performance in the classroom. Five players received the Academic Excellence Award, two the “I WILL” award, two the Most Improved Player Award and one the Hustle Award and Weight Room Excellence Award.
The award winners were:
ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE: Cody Prater (Freshman), Adam Gaston (Sophomore), Isaiah Shepard (Junior), Alex Carrington (Senior), Brian Flagg (Fifth-Year Senior)
MOST IMPROVED: Jarriel Norman (Offense), Kelcie McCray (Defense)
HUSTLE AWARD: Jahbari McLennan
“I WILL” AWARDS: Alex Carrington, Corey Leonard
WEIGHT ROOM EXCELLENCE AWARD: Stanley Wakwe