FAYETTEVILLE — After the first scrimmage on Saturday, Aug. 14, Sam Pittman felt the defense had the better day.
However, following the second preseason scrimmage on Saturday Pittman was pleased at times with both sides of the ball.
“I thought it was a very physical scrimmage,” Pittman said. “Last week, I believed our defense outlasted our offense. I don’t believe that this week. I think the offense in the second half, I think the offense came back and did some really nice things. It was a pretty even scrimmage. Maybe the defense got the better of the offense a little bit in the first half, and I believe the offense responded, which I didn’t feel like they did last week. Special teams, I thought we were good. We have to get better kicking field goals, though. We weren’t quite as good today with our field goal game as what we had been in the past.”
Since the offense rallied in the second half of the scrimmage is it fair to assume the pass protection was better this week?
“The pass rush was still very good,” Pittman said. “The pass protection was much better. There was still some things the defense was doing to us where we need to get the ball out of our hands, and I thought we got better in the second half of that scrimmage than we were in the first half. If I had any disappointment, I thought we did a pretty good job of turnovers today but had a couple of tipped balls that ended up in interceptions, and we had an exchange with the threes and put the ball on the ground.
“Anytime you practice ones, twos and threes and you have a 120-play series, you have to kind of break it down in your mind of what really did happen and what didn’t because you have so many kids playing. Some of them are just getting ready to play in a game and they aren’t quite there yet. It would be very hard to go, ‘Well, we had this guy, this guy.’ You know we always play ones versus ones, twos versus twos and we start ones versus twos and all that. You guys have been to the scrimmages in the spring, so you know how we work. I believe the only way you can get consistently better is to play good on good. I know you have to be worried about other things, but I don’t know if that answered your question or not.”
As far as the defense, did anyone flash on that side of the ball?
“Well our defensive line, they’ve been very good throughout the camp,” Pittman said. “They certainly had their share of pressures. Again, how many sacks did they have? I don’t know. Some of them we called that weren’t. Some of them we called that might have been because the quarterback’s not live. Are they letting up? You know what I mean.
“I thought they did good. I thought our linebackers played well. It seemed to me like our coverage was pretty good, especially with the older guys. Our scheme, we’re able to do more. You’re only able to do more when you have the people that can do it. And we have the folks who that do it. We have a defensive coordinator and defensive staff that are very, very, very knowledgeable. And so we can give you a lot of looks and we can execute the looks and that’s made us better.”
After the first scrimmage Pittman wasn’t pleased with the penalties on both sides of the ball. How was the second one?
“Much better,” Pittman said. “Our jumping offsides on defense and our illegal procedures on offense were much better. That was kind of one of the goals that we gave to the team going into the scrimmage. I’m not telling you that we didn’t have them, I’m telling you we certainly cut that situation down.”