CSU's offense shows progress in spring practice


CHARLESTON, S.C. - First year head coach Jamey Chadwell put his prospective 2013 team through a second spring scrimmage, leading up to next Saturday's annual spring game, on Saturday morning. The coach saw marked improvement in his team's offensive execution.

"We struggled a lot in terms of consistency in the first scrimmage but it was better today," said Chadwell. "We had a few good drives and put some points on the board. We let some young guys get out there and mix it up some and we saw some positive things. We still have a long ways to go but what I saw today was that a lot of the guys are starting to figure out what we're doing. Now it's just cleaning up a lot of the details moving forward."

The offense scored twice on long drives and once in a goal line situation. Junior quarterback Malcolm Dixon was efficient in the passing game, completing six-of-11 passes for nearly 100 yards, but emphasis was on establishing the running game.

"The goal today was to come out and sort of establish the run, really put an emphasis on that," said Chadwell. "We had some nice drives on the ground. We want to be able to run the football, regardless of the weather or the circumstances. We're trying to establish that identity that we're going to keep coming at you all day long. If we run it successfully, things open up in the passing game and we saw that on a few occasions today."

The offense had about 40 rushing plays in the meat of the 75-minute scrimmage. Quarterbacks Briar Van Brunt and Danny Croghan were especially effective in the option game with keepers. Van Brunt had 60 yards rushing on a nine-play, 70-yard scoring drive, including a four-yard scoring run. Croghan, a redshirt freshman, added several solid gainers but was intercepted twice.

"Malcolm has played so much more football so he has the edge in experience," said Chadwell. "We wanted to try to make sure that Danny and Briar got in there with the first group and we let them get hit some. Today was the first time they've been hit in live situations in a long time so this was good for them.

"If we started tomorrow, I would say Malcolm is the guy based on his experience but we feel like the battle is still open. All three of them did some good things today."

Defensively, walk-on corner Chris Nwanegwo returned an interception 40 yards for a touchdown. Safety Matt Hardy also had an interception. The defense tallied several tackles for loss, especially during the second-half of the scrimmage.

"Our defense continues to play solid, flying around a lot," said Chadwell. "We got two picks today. We are playing fast and with intensity. I like what I see on that side of the ball.

"It's a new defense so we're moving some guys around a little and piecing it together. We're a little thin in the secondary but we've seen some young guys step up and make some plays."

CSU will practice three days this coming week with the annual spring game set for next Saturday in the Stadium at 11 a.m.

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