FROM THE PRESS BOX: Scrimmage Time!

by Joel Lamp

On Saturday at Noon, the 2010 JU football team will march on to the field for its first “game” action of the season.

Many of you are asking what’s so important about a scrimmage?

This year, the scrimmages will be very important for the Dolphins as they acclimate the younger players to game action – trying to simulate game-day atmosphere, timing and play as much as possible. Experience is something the younger guys are lacking, so this is the best way to give them experience.

The scrimmages are similar to a test in class, giving the coaches a good measuring tool of who is excelling and picked up the material as well as who needs work and in what areas.

With that serving as the background, here’s the three things I’ll be watching at the scrimmage tomorrow:

1. YOUNG DEFENSIVE LINE vs. EXPERIENCED OFFENSIVE LINE: This will be one of the premier matchups of the scrimmage. Due to injuries, Rolando Fines is the only Dolphin with starting experience on the defensive line. The coaching staff has raved off the recruiting class on the defensive line, but they face a tall task going against what Coach Bell has called the best offensive line he’s had since coming to JU. Some of the youngsters to keep an eye on are Juan Pimienta, Charles Dowdy and Luidji Michel.

2. JOSH PHILPART vs. YOUNG DEFENSIVE BACKS: The best news for the young defensive backs for JU – they probably won’t face a better receiver all season than Josh Philpart. The bad news – they have to go against him every day in practice. It’s a great opportunity for the defensive backs to set themselves apart if they can fare well against him, because he’s put up major numbers against defenses around the country.

3. KICKING COMPETITION: If you get to the scrimmage early, you should be able to take in the first phase of the kicking competition between Josh Hostetler and Alex Jones. While it may not seem important, the kicker is a crucial part of the Dolphins as they will be called upon to finish off drives that stall deep in opponent territory. The winner of this position battle will be the one who is the most consistent during camp.

As I close this preview, I want to encourage you to watch the scrimmage in a different way on Saturday. During games, you can get caught up in watching the ball and the result of the play – but miss the little things that go on during the play that make big things happen.

Start by watching the battles between the offensive line and defensive line. Then pick out a receiver and watch him battle with one of the defensive backs. When you watch the individual matchups, it will amaze you at all the little moments in a play that can make or break it.

I look forward to seeing you at Fletcher High School on Saturday. It should be a lot of fun.