Dawgs look sharp in annual Soap, Shampoo and Towel scrimmage
By TJ MAXWELL
All the second-guessing, hearsay and conjecture is over and it’s time for football.
The prognosticators have made their predictions of who will finish where but all that goes out the window when the pads are strapped on and the collisions begin.
The Bulldawgs kicked off their 2017 campaign on Saturday with their annual Soap, Shampoo and Towel and both sides of the line looked be in full swing on their second day in pads.
“We did a lot of good things for being in the second day of pads,” Copperas Cove head football coach and athletic director Jack Welch. “I could go after what was glaringly wrong but I’ve got to overlook that from the standpoint that we just got out here in pads.
“We had some signs of sharpness. I thought the running backs ran with authority and Jaylen (Smith) threw the ball real well. I thought the two back up quarterbacks played pretty well also. They just need to pick up on it.”
Senior quarterback Jaylen Smith saw a lot of good things from his side of the ball on Saturday.
“Offensively, I thought we played pretty well today,” he said. “We had a couple fumbles and interceptions but, other than that, we played pretty well.”
He acknowledges the timing and route running could be crisper but, for just a week in and just two days in pads, he feels they are moving in the right direction.
“Our chemistry is coming along well,” he said. “We’ve only had two days in pads and we were looking good so the chemistry is looking good right now.”
The offense is typically the strength of the team and that seems to hold true for the 2017 Dawgs but the defense is showing signs of life with seven turnovers on the day.
“Defensively, we’ve got to think about creating turnovers so that was a very positive thing to have five interceptions,” said Welch. “It shows you they are breaking on the ball, reading the ball and getting to the ball.”
Brandon Russ, quarterback of the defense, likes what his squad accomplished on Saturday but knows he must be on top of his game to make sure his team performs at their best.
“Our defense played pretty good,” said the middle linebacker. “We’ve only been in pads hitting for two days so we missed some tackles and a couple of busted coverages.”
“Me personally, as leader of the defense, I have to work on my getting my calls right so the whole defense is on the same page. Here at the Soap and Towel scrimmage, the coaches are on the field helping us. During the games I’m not going to have that so I’m going to have to do it all by myself.”
They Dawgs showed sparks early and often on offense.
A 57-yard run by junior Shontez Simmons showed flashes of the offensive prowess but the next drive showed that quick-hitting ability as Smith found senior two-way player Floyd Connell all alone for a one-play 75-yard touchdown pitch and catch.
The defense then showed they were there to play as well when Russ snagged a tipped ball for the first of five interceptions. The defense was the recipient of another interception when defensive back Troy Johnson undercut the throw of junior back up quarterback Trevor Troy.
Two drives later, Bryce Ives was in the right place at the right time for a tip drill interception.
The offense got past the defense once again for another 70-plus yard touchdown pass from Smith the senior Zaye Pettit.
After Russ picked up another turnover for the defense on a fumbled snap, the offense again scored on a one-play scenario on a pass from Smith down the numbers to Connell for another long score.
Senior quarterback Easton Simpson got in on the fun with a long touchdown pass to Isaiah Hawkins.
Senior running backs Tim Edwards and Myles Alexander then scored on a couple touchdown runs from 27 and 7 yards, respectively.
Alexander pounded in another three-yard run and Smith found senior Caleb Honts for a 15-yard touchdown score to close out the scrimmage.
The Dawgs will get a little better idea of where they’re at when they host the Abilene Eagles in a scrimmage on Friday.
“I think we’ve got a chance to compete and that’s the bottom line,” said Welch. “I think our defensive and offensive lines are bigger. I think overall we’re stronger than we were this time last year.”