Posted: Aug 17, 2019
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — Cal Poly's final scrimmage of Fall Camp featured three touchdowns, several long plays of 20 or more yards, a solid job by the new group of kickers and three turnovers forced by the defense.
The nearly two-hour scrimmage inside Alex G. Spanos Stadium wrapped up the second week of Fall Camp. One more week of preseason practice remains before the Mustangs prepare for their season opener at home against the University of San Diego on August 31.
Slot back Xavier Moore took a pitch from Jake Jeffrey and scampered 85 yards around right end and down the right sideline for a touchdown.
Fullback Duy Tran-Sampson also took a pitch, this time from Jalen Hamler, and scooted 58 yards around right end for the second touchdown of the scrimmage.
Hamler also played a role in the third Mustang touchdown of the day, hitting wide receiver Ryan McNab on a 75-yard pass play.
Each of the three touchdowns were scored during the situational phase of the scrimmage as the coaching staff set up first-and-10, third-and-short, third-and-medium and third-and-long plays for the first-, second-, third- and fourth-string groups.
No touchdowns were scored in the regular phase of the scrimmage when the first-string offense played against the first-string defense, second vs. second and so forth.
The fourth-string offense, led by Conor Bruce at quarterback, produced the longest drive, marching to the defense's 15-yard line before true freshman linebacker Aarmon Euwing recovered a fumble.
The third string's drive started with a 56-yard run by quarterback Kyle Reid, but ended with an interception by junior defensive back Caden McCloughan, a transfer from Foothill College. Both McCloughan and Reid are Los Gatos High School graduates.
The second string failed to get a first down and the first string ran just three plays, the last one ending with a sack by sophomore linebacker Aaron Cooper and bringing the scrimmage to a close as well.
The defense, which drew the most praise from 11th-year head coach Tim Walsh, also featured pass breakups by Matt Shotwell and Daniel Fox, tackles for lost yardage by Myles Cecil, Matt Wright and Laipeli Palu and sacks by Shotwell, Cooper, Corey Thomas and Brandon Davis.
"The speed that we played with defensively, especially when we got to the ones vs. ones, really caught my eye," said Walsh. "The difference between the offense and the defense was the speed the defense played with. They played with great intensity and great speed and caused a lot of turmoil. I was really pleased with the effort of what I saw defensively.
"Offensively, when we were doing the situationals, we played really well and had some big plays, but it didn't carry over into the the last couple scrimmage opportunities that they had," Walsh added.
"But we're still two weeks away. It's not the end of camp yet. We've got a week to fix some things. There could still be some changes on the offensive line -- the offensive line is not a done product yet -- and neither is quarterback. There are a lot of ifs out there still on the offense and, because we're playing a lot of different groups, that hurts our continuity and consistency too."
In addition to the three touchdowns and the run by Reid, big plays by the offense included runs of 25 and 47 yards by Drew Hernandez, a 23-yard pass from Cole Powers to Jacob Naschke and a 32-yarder to Nick White, a 22-yard run by CJ Cole, a 28-yard pass from Bruce to Naschke and a 30-yard keeper by Jeffrey.
Jeffrey also hit J.J. Koski with a 37-yard pass and Moore with 20- and 36-yard completions. Reid connected with Eli Shelton on a 27-yard pass and Bruce added a 22-yard run.
From the kickers, Colton Theaker was 4-for-5 in field goals, connecting from 20, 27 and a pair of 32-yarders, and concluded the scrimmage with 48- and 52-yard three-pointers. Matthew Hoffman added a 48-yarder of his own along with three short field goals while Mitch Souza exceeded 40 yards on each of his three punts, including a 48-yarder.
Cal Poly opens its 2019 season against the University of San Diego on August 31 at 2 p.m. inside Alex G. Spanos Stadium. Children 13 and under receive free admission on Youth Day. In addition, free clear bags will be distributed to the first 3,000 fans in attendance.
For tickets, click here.
Photo above of Drew Hernandez courtesy of Alexander Bohlen | Alexander Bohlen Photography