Football Encouraged After Spring Finale'

April 21, 2012
By SUU Strategic Communication

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Easton Pederson looks to block for Henna Brown
Easton Pederson looks to block for Henna Brown
Courtesy: SUU Strategic Communications

CEDAR CITY, April 21 - Southern Utah wrapped up its 2012 spring football session Saturday with its annual Red/White Scrimmage, a 60-minute offense vs. defense affair that left everyone pleased and excited heading into the summer and the University's first season in the Big Sky Conference next fall.

Quarterback Brad Sorensen completed 10-of-14 passes for 139 yards and two touchdowns - both to wideout Fatu Moala - while the defense was able to tally four sacks and stymie the offense on numerous occasions, leading either to field goal attempts or changes of possession. Aside from controlled situations at the beginning of the workout there were no punts or kickoffs.

The team moved the ball through the air and also had some success on the ground, rushing for 82 yards on 22 attempts. Brian Wilson led the way with 10 carries for 43 yards, while Henna Brown had four rushes for 19 yards and added another 22 yards on three receptions. In all, five running backs had carries.

"I thought it summed up all the hard work we've put in over the five weeks of spring ball," Sorensen said of the scrimmage. "It's pretty exciting, when everything is good, when the pass game, run game and defense are all playing well it's a great sign that shows we've got a good team."

"All spring our emphasis has been to run the ball better and to stop the run," Head Coach Ed Lamb said. "The offense was able move the ball today because we did run it efficiently. Brad was really accurate with his throws and that helps even more, for the offense to speed it up.

"The point of these scrimmages is to get some good live tackle action on the video, and then we can go look at the video," he added. "In this case the players will probably be looking at this video all summer until we report to training camp in August."

A handful of players co-led the team with four tackles, including two-time all-Great West Conference defensive tackle Cody Larsen. Cornerbacks LeShaun Sims and David Brunson each had four stops, including a sack for Brunson, while linebacker Rickey Clark and safety Anthony Fagans also finished with four.

"The defense made some big plays too," Lamb added. "They made plays and held the offense to a lot of field goal attempts. In terms of the work, the effort, they physical dedication, I'm really pleased with the team."

Larsen praised the play on both sides of the ball, noting "we had a great scrimmage, on both sides of the ball you saw a lot of strengths. On offense you saw Brad and the receivers connecting, passing the ball, and the defense was able to make some plays too, stop the run and put pressure on the quarterback."

"Cody Larsen is a warrior in there on the interior for us but I've been really pleased with our end play overall," Lamb noted. "We've had some young ends step up, James Cowser, Austin Anderson, Kouri Jones, and of course we've got a returning starter there in Jeff Tukuafu too, all those guys have had a nice spring."

Cowser, a redshirt freshman who is in his first semester back in school after returning from an LDS mission, was in on two of the team's three sacks and notched another tackle, and Jones was in on a sack as well.

Miles Killebrew, Tommy Collet, Jr., and Gordon Garrett all broke up passes from their defensive secondary positions.

Moala led the receiving corps with four receptions for 54 yards and the afternoon's only two touchdowns, but the team's quarterbacks, including Sorensen, JJ Mayer (who completed 6-of-14 passes for 51 yards) and Kenny Schmidt (4-of-5, 45 yards) completed passes to 10 receivers.

-- SUU --