Final Scrimmage Pleases Erickson
Aug. 25, 2001
CORVALLIS, Ore. - Jonathan Smith passed 40 yards to Seth Trimmer for one touchdown and Steven Jackson ran 18 yards for another Saturday afternoon in Oregon State's final football scrimmage of the fall. After the 67-play workout on Prothro Field's natural surface, OSU head coach Dennis Erickson was pleased with what he'd seen.
'I thought it was probably the best scrimmage we've had, overall, with that first group,' Erickson said of the starters' series. 'And we got them out of there and the second and third groups got a chance to play, and we found out who our backups are.
'I thought it was a good last scrimmage, and we won't know how good we are until we play next Sunday, basically.'
The Beavers (ranked No. 11 Associated Press, No. 12 ESPN/USA Today) now focus their efforts on the Sept. 2 season-opener at Fresno State.
Saturday's scoring also included a 43-yard field goal by Ryan Cesca. OSU's offense passed for 254 yards as five quarterbacks combined to complete 19 of 36 passes without an interception, Oregon State's defense allowed just 77 yards rushing and an average of 2.5 yards per carry.
In Oregon State's three scrimmages this fall, the total scoring consisted of three touchdowns and three field goals.
'If our defense isn't ahead of our offense, then we've got problems,' Erickson said. 'I think any team will say that.
'The good teams I've had, the defense has always dominated the offense in fall camp and spring football, and that's what's happened, so maybe that's a good sign.'
Running back Ken Simonton, the Beavers' Heisman Trophy candidate, picked up 13 yards on five carries in his brief appearance while backup Patrick McCall had 13 yards on four carries. Jackson had 38 yards on eight carries.
'I thought Steven Jackson ran real well and he did some good things,' Erickson said of the true freshman, whose score came on a burst up the middle. 'And (quarterback) Derek Anderson finally came in and showed some of the things we thought he would show, and that was really good to see.'
Anderson, another true freshman, was 7-for-11 passing for 83 yards. One of his completions came after he scrambled to his left, got himself squared up and dropped a 27-yard pass into the hands of George Gillett on the left sideline.
Smith was 5-for-10 passing for 102 yards while backup Nick Stremick was 3-for-4 for 29 yards. Fifteen different receivers caught passes, including Hawkins' three catches for 51 yards, Gillett's two catches for 32 yards and tight end Mark Walsh's two catches for 22 yards.
The Beavers' kicking game also showed improvement over Wednesday's scrimmage. James Newson had a kickoff return of 59 yards and James Newson had one for 52 yards, Cesca had a pair of field goal attempts from 43 yards out and hit one of them, and OSU's interaction between snapper, holder and kicker were smoother.
'I thought our kicking game was better, and our return game has been pretty good,' Erickson said. 'As we switch it on and off, it's hard to tell. I thought the snaps and holds were a lot better. Until you do it in front of 50,000 people, it's a little different our here, but I like what they're doing.'
Ryan Cesca 43 field goal