Some good, some room to improve as first McNeese scrimmage is in the books

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LAKE CHARLES – McNeese Football tackled its first scrimmage of fall camp on Saturday morning, getting a good look at the first three units in different situations including a two-minute period; third-and-long, medium and short; as well as an overtime session.

The two-hour, roughly 105-play scripted scrimmage included around 80 live tackling plays.

“It wasn’t clean, but I didn’t expect it to be too clean,” said head coach Lance Guidry. “The offense did some good things but when they got into the red zone, they didn’t get any touchdowns. Then we missed a couple of field goals.

“Defense had the upper hand. They played with a lot of emotion. I thought we could’ve tackled a little bit better but we did run to the football. There were a bunch of big hits out here.”

Transfer defensive back Jovon Burris and senior linebacker B.J. Blunt were involved in several of those big knocks.

“We bended a bit today but we didn’t break,” said Burris who was running with the No. 2 defense. “We had a few minor mistakes but we played really fast. When we got into the red zone, we knew we had our back against the wall and had to fight back. We bounced back no matter what the situation was.”

Quarterback James Tabary began the scrimmage completing his first five passes for 32 yards to lead the offense to the 33-yard line in the two-minute drill. The defense held the offense to a 50-yard field goal attempt by Gunnar Raborn that fell just short of the crossbar.

During live action, the offense drove inside the 20-yard line twice, but both times the defense was able to make a stand to hold the offense to one field goal, a 38-yarder by Bailey Raborn.

The most impressive drive of the day was assembled by the No. 1 offense and Cody Orgeron behind center with the unit for the first time on the day. The junior QB completed 6-of-7 passes while running back Justin Pratt ran for 13 yards in the series to drive the ball from their own 34 to the defense 12-yard line in 11 plays. But the next three plays produced just two yards and the offense was forced to attempt a field goal, which was pulled left from 27 yards out.

Orgeron ended the day 8-for-13 passing for 68 yards.

Tabary, who completed 10 of 14 passes for 72 yards on the day, looked solid most of the day but especially in the overtime period where the drove the Cowboys to the 2-yard line but then had to settle for a 24-yard Gunnar Raborn field goal.

“That was one of the problems we had last year was executing in the red zone,” said Tabary as the offense was held out of the end zone all three red zone appearances. “We have to fix that and finish drives. That was the main concern for me today was not putting points on the board.”

After the first live series where the offense was left stranded at the 37-yard line following a failed 4th-and-1 attempt, the DWA dominated the next four series, holding offense to three three-and-outs while a fourth series was ended when Barbe High School walk-on freshman Andre Lee intercepted a Matt Keller pass and returned it 42 yards for a score. It was the only touchdown on the day.

“What a great kid,” said Guidry of Lee. “He’s got a wonderful smile and works hard all the time. I was a walk-on as well so I like to see good things happen for the walk-ons.”

“I feel like we played well today but we missed a lot of tackles and had too many busts,” said defensive lineman Cody Roscoe who led the DWA with four sacks.

Freshman quarterback Cam Smith was impressive in his first action as the ran the No. 3 offense. Smith completed all five of his passes in the series for 66 yards, two of those to Bodey Borill on completions of 11 and 16 yards. But Smith showed signs of still learning the offense with a broken play, mishandled snap and took a sack. But despite that, the offense managed to get some points on the board following Bailey Raborn’s 38-yard field goal.

Then after Orgeron’s 14-play drive with the 1s, Blunt and the rest of the defense locked in and only allowed the offense to get one first down in the final five series before the third-down and overtime periods.

Blunt made his presence known in the last two series with the No. 2s as he recorded a sack, two tackles for a loss and forced a fumble. He ended the scrimmage with two sacks, four tackles for a loss, a pass break-up, and forced two fumbles.

“I love BJ,” said Burris. “He says what the coaches think about before the coaches say anything. He communicates. He keeps the energy up. He makes me a better player.”

“We had a few busts today but we’re going to clean it up,” said Blunt. “But we were getting to the ball great today. I looked up a few times and didn’t see anybody walking and that’s a great thing.”

The Cowboys will have Sunday off from practice for media/picture day at 5 p.m. in Cowboy Stadium then will return to the practice field on Monday at 9 a.m. to begin their final week of fall camp which will conclude next Saturday with another morning scrimmage scheduled.

UNOFFICIAL SCRIMMAGE STATS

PASSING: James Tabary 10-14, 72; Parker Orgeron 8-13, 68; Matt Keller 2-7, 26, Int; Cam Smith 5-5, 66; Zach Hayes 2-3, 2

RECEIVING: Lawayne Ross 3-30; Tre Roberts 3-16; Ryan Ross 3-11; Trevor Begue 2-27; Bodey Borill 2-27; Danuel Oscar 1-26; Justin Pratt 1-19; Jacob Logan 1-16; Nate Briscoe 1-16; Dade Dieterich 1-11; Trey Conerly 1-10; Trevor Moye 1-5; Kylon Highshaw 1-4; Draysean Hudson 1-4; Josh Batiste 1-2

RUSHING: Ryan Ross 6-18; David Hamm 6-15; Justin Pratt 4-13; Mac Briscoe 3-10; J’Cobi Skinner 2-8; Quincy Cage 1-7; Reggie Williams 2-(-3)

SACKS: Cody Roscoe 4; BJ Blunt 2; Enos Lewis 1; Darius Daniels 1; Trent Winbush 1

TACKLES FOR LOSS: BJ Blunt 4; Cody Roscoe 4; Enos Lewis 2; Harris Tafah 1; Jonta Jones 1; Johnathon Hageon 1

INTERCEPTIONS: Andre Lee 1 (returned 42 yards for a TD)

PASS BREAK-UPS: Jovon Burris 3, Calum Foster 2, BJ Blunt 1, Chris Livings 1

FORCED FUMBLES: BJ Blunt 2, Andrew Hyancinth 1

FUMBLE RECOVERIES: Jovon Burris 1, Andre Sam 1

PUNTING: Alex Kjellsten 4-142, 35.5 avg, 2 Inside 20, long 41

FIELD GOALS: Gunnar Raborn 2-4 (made 34, 24; missed 50, 27); Bailey Raborn 1-1 (38)

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