A week after an exciting Homecoming day scrimmage, the Stetson football team was back at work on Saturday afternoon in what was likely the final scrimmage of the fall for the Hatters.
Unlike the previous week, the Hatters were a little flat on offense, turning the ball over eight times, seven on interceptions, with the defense also piling up a total of 13 tackles for loss (three sacks). Three of the interceptions were returned for defensive touchdowns.
“This is the toughest part of the year,” Hatters coach Roger Hughes said. “After the last two weeks, with the highlight last weekend with a crescendo, but we got some good work overall. It is easy to forget that these guys have been at this now for 12 weeks without getting to play any games. It is not unexpected to have a little bit of a letdown.”
Early on it was the offense that moved the ball well. Three of the first four possessions resulted in touchdowns, with Jerami Singleton (Clermont, Fla.) scoring on a one-yard dive to start the scoring. That was followed by a touchdown pass from Alex Marsh (Longwood, Fla.) to Kegan Moore (Marietta, Ga.) that covered 62 yards.
After a punt on the next possession, the offense got back into the end zone when Nick LaSala (Boca Raton, Fla.) connected with Chris Crawford (Lauderdale Lakes, Fla.) for a 14-yard TD strike.
From that point, the scrimmage became very defensive.
Dave Lazear (Newark, Del.) started the defensive turn when he intercepted a pass from Jonathan Jerozal (Canyon County, Calif.). Casey Woods (North Redington Beach, Fla.) was next, getting picked by Glenn Adesoji (Memphis, Tenn.), deep in his own territory. Adesoji returned the interception for the first of three defensive scores.
Woods surrendered another interception later, this one to Adam Vinson (Safety Harbor, Fla.), who returned the pick 40 yards for a touchdown.
Justin Slaven (Deltona, Fla.) was victimized by the Stetson defense three times, with the third pick returned 75 yards for a touchdown by Donald Payne (Fayetteville, Ga.).
“Most of those interceptions came on screen plays,” Hugh said. “The thing about our defense is that they have seen those plays so many times this fall so they are sitting back and waiting for it. Still, we have to do a better job of protecting the screen. The offensive line has to do a better job of protecting and we have to do a better job on the perimeter with our blocking. We are not happy with the interceptions, but it is a great opportunity to learn from it.”
The offense did finish the day on a high note when Ian Leggett (Davie, Fla.) hit Louis Tuszynski (Germantown, Wisc.) for a six-yard touchdown.
“Overall, I saw some spurts of good things,” Hughes said of the day. “We caught some deep ball, which was good to see, and, defensively, we created some turnovers. I thought the hitting was good, we are starting to come up and mash people. I didn’t think the running game was as aggressive as we need to be inside. Toward the end of the scrimmage I wanted to see that. We need to be able to run the ball inside and be physical on both sides of the ball. We are going to continue to work on that.”
Statistically, the Hatters’ seven quarterbacks completed 25 of 47 passes for 283 yards and three touchdowns. LaSala was the top passer, completing 6-of-13 for 98 yards. Marsh was 4-of-6 for 95 yards. The top receivers were Rob Coggin (Palm Harbor, Fla.), with four receptions for 76 yards, and Moore with three catches for 63.
On the ground, the Hatters ran the ball 57 times for 222 yards. That total includes the 83 yards in losses on tackles behind the line of scrimmage. Singleton was the leading runner, carrying the ball 11 times for 36 yards. Harrison Stone (Fallston, Md.) also ran well with six carries for 35 yards.
With just one more week of practice before the end of the fall camp, Hughes said he wants to go back to basics.
“We want to make this next week our first week of spring practice,” Hughes said. “What I mean by that is we are going to go back and work on fundamentals and do less physical work. As we tried to get into a game type of tempo this fall, we spent more time scheming and less time on fundamentals. We want to go back and work on those fundamentals to make sure that we leave the fall in a position where we can pick right up in the spring and keep going.”