"That was exciting to see our offense move the ball and score. I kept a total that gave the defense points for making stops, and the offense got their normal scoring. It was 38 for the offense, which is a pretty good day, and the defense got 32, so it was very competitive and balanced," said Thomas. "We had 105 plays in 90 minutes. It's up tempo so we're getting great conditioning out of that pace. It's very exciting right now and it's only going to get better."
The session was the 11th of spring practice, which concludes next Saturday at noon in Turpin Stadium with the 24th Annual Joe Delaney Bowl spring game.
Wickman, vying to replace graduated senior John Shaughnessy, added 29 and 22-yarders and was wide right on a game-ending 57-yarder. Izzy DePlaza nailed a 41-yard field goal. Touchdowns came on a 6-yard catch by Trevor Goodie on a Keenon Gibson pass, a 4-yard Rob Walker run and a pair of 1-yard plunges by Chris Dever and Ethan LeGarde.
The Demons threw for 189 yards on 26 of 45 aim, and ran for a net of 96 yards, including 50 negative yards by three quarterbacks. Redshirt freshman Daniel Hazlewood ran the No. 1 offense and completed 11 of 19 passes for 65 yards, while sophomore Grant Chiasson was 8-16 for 47 yards, Gibson (a sophomore) threw for 50 yards on 6-9 aim and Cody Jones hit a 27-yard halfback pass.
Rumeall Morris led all rushers with 47 yards on four carries. Daniel Taylor caught four passes for 15 yards, while Brandon Monrose snagged three for 23 and Louis Hollier had the top yardage total by catching the 27-yard halfback pass.
Redshirt freshman safety Adam Jones had a game-high seven tackles, including a sack, and forced and recovered the only turnover of the morning, a fumble. Tyler Roussel, a junior linebacker, also made seven tackles.
The Demons started drives from their own 38, the opposite 45 and 40, and had six plays on the goalline producing a touchdown and a field goal. The workout ended with a two-minute competition with the defense prevailing five times. The offense was forced to punt only three times.
"Most importantly we played with controlled emotion. We were too loose in our first scrimmage, and we made a point this morning in our meetings to say let's play with an even keel, and we did that," said Thomas. "We saw a lot of carryover from practice to game-like scenarios. The intensity was very good. Do we have a lot of work to do? Yeah, we do. But overall, it was a pretty good second scrimmage."
Wickman's 51-yarder capped one of three drives of eight plays or more. The long kick came early in the scrimmage when the offense scored on two of the opening three series.
"That kick was impressive. We wanted to put our guys under stress, in some difficult situations, to see what they are, and that was impressive," said Thomas. "At the end we wanted to see since he'd made a 51-yarder, let's see if he could do it from 57 on the last play of the game, instead of throwing it in the end zone. It wasn't a bad effort."
The Demons will stage three practices next week going into the Delaney Bowl. Thomas is pleased with the progress the team has shown while learning entirely new schemes for offense, defense and special teams.
"We're right on pace where we need to be. I feel good about what we've installed offensively, and we want to continue to add some in through next Thursday and then focus on the game next Saturday. We're right on pace for installments in all three phases," he said.