JACKSONVILLE — Jacksonville State went through its second of three preseason scrimmages Saturday night at JSU Stadium, and it's safe to say the defense dominated.
When a collection of backups were in the game, the offense managed to find the end zone, with freshman quarterback Jake Wisener rushing for a pair of touchdowns and fellow first-year quarterback Chappell Wade scoring once.
But the defense took control otherwise.
"We corrected the mistakes we made from the first scrimmage," JSU linebacker Quan Stoudamire said. "I want to say we dominated today. We still have corrections to make, but we played real good."
Five fast facts about Saturday's scrimmage:
1. Sideline coach
Players say it made a difference that defensive coordinator Andrew Warwick coached from the sideline. In the first scrimmage last week, he was in the press box.
"I think have Coach Warrick on the sidelines helped us out because of his presence," defensive lineman Connor Christian said. "Play calls came in great. We were able to set up formations. Everything turned out really well."
Head coach John Grass said that the Gamecocks are trying it with Warwick on the sideline and the press box. For the season opener in Montgomery against North Carolina A&T on Aug. 25, Warwick will coach from wherever is best for him and the team, Grass said.
Sophomore Zerrick Cooper and redshirt freshman Zion Webb are competing for the starting quarterback job, and Grass said both made some plays Saturday.
"We had some drops that really hurt in some situations," Grass said. "It's kind of tough in scrimmages like this when they're limited run-wise. When the quarterbacks are not 'live,' it takes away a certain percentage of our game. There are some plays there that they could've made with their legs that you don't see, which is OK."
3. Next Man Up
Jacksonville State's defense didn't look like a group that had lost five All-Ohio Valley Conference performers from a year ago.
"We understand we lost some big names on defense, but the defense doesn't change," Christian said. "Whoever's on the field for the Gamecocks will be a starter and will represent well."
4. Kick at 6
Grass scheduled Saturday's scrimmage for 6 p.m. because that's the kickoff time for the season opener against North Carolina A&T. He said that's how he usually does it each season. Having a relatively cool evening was a bonus.
"We always have this as a gametime scrimmage, so that's our rationale for why we were scrimmaging at 6," he said. "Hopefully, it's about the same weather we're going to get in Montgomery two weeks from now."
5. Closed gates
JSU closed Saturday's scrimmage to fans, although a few managed to sneak through an opening somewhere in the stadium. The previous week's workout was open, but Grass wanted fewer distractions this time.
"We usually let parents and folks come," he said. "We don't really publicize it. I felt like we had too many folks at the last scrimmage, so we kind of shut that down a little bit."
Next week's scrimmage will be a "dress rehearsal type of scrimmage, getting on and off the field and things like that," Grass said, and the parents will be allowed back in the gates.