QB unsettled, but Mavs solid in scrimmage
Colorado Mesa University may not have a starting quarterback yet, but the offense has ended the defense’s intrasquad scrimmage dominations of the recent past.
The Mavericks’ offense produced four touchdowns in their final scrimmage Saturday night at Stocker Stadium. Mesa opens the season Sept. 7 against Menlo (Calif.) College, an NAIA team, at 7 p.m. at Stocker Stadium.
The Oaks opened their season last week against Carroll (Mont.) College in Cheney, Wash. The Carroll Saints, ranked 12th in the nation in NAIA, defeated Menlo 51-7.
“I was happy with the way the scrimmage went,” CMU coach Russ Martin said. “The first offense and defense did some good things.
“We got a lot of the backups time. We got a lot of guys quite a bit of playing of time.”
Many of the regulars played a handful of series or less, giving way to the younger players, including the freshmen.
Martin wanted the freshmen to get more time under the lights at Stocker Stadium because most of them, if not all, will redshirt this season.
Otherwise, the scrimmage was intended to finalize special teams substitutions and tune up game management.
One of the players who shined in the scrimmage was running back Ricky Trinidad. The University of Nebraska-Kearney transfer had a handful of carries on the first series, including an elusive 22-yard jaunt and a 1-yard touchdown run.
“I was actually pretty gassed,” Trinidad said of the first series. “I’m trying to get in that game-shape mentality. It takes that one game to get in game shape.”
Otherwise, Trinidad was pleased with the offense’s production.
“The offense is rolling,” he said. “It only took a couple plays, and we scored. O-line was opening those holes for me.”
Trinidad rushed for more than 1,000 yards last season in eight games for the Lopers. He will split carries with returning All-RMAC running back Jake Cimolino and redshirt freshman Jerreon Dennis this season.
Martin held Cimolino out of the scrimmage, and Dennis was resting a minor injury.
“(Trinidad) will give us extra depth and lightning-quick speed in the backfield,” Martin said. “He’s a good pass blocker and really is a good receiver.
“We’ve got two guys already that have rushed for more than 1,000 yards (in college). Jerreon Dennis is capable of 1,000 yards with carries. Tonight we worked DJ Hubbard in there. He’ll play a lot of slot for us.”
Redshirt freshman quarterback Kyle Duran guided the Mavericks’ offense on the first series of the scrimmage, completing three passes.
“I’m feeling more comfortable and confident,” Duran said. “I feel like the offense is a lot easier to understand.
“Whoever is playing, I expect us to come out and run the offense the way it’s supposed to run. I feel like we can run any play at any point and score at any time.”
Nebraska-Kearney transfer and redshirt freshman Aric Kaiser took the snaps on the second series, but the defense forced a punt.
Senior Jason Haferman quarterbacked the third series. Although he had two incomplete passes, the Mavericks scored.
Martin said the coaching staff will make a decision about the starting quarterback early in the week.
“We want to talk to the QBs,” Martin said. “Coach (Phil) Vigil does breakdown with them every day. We’ll talk them through that.
“Pretty sure you’ll see at least two of them play in games. I feel very good at the QB spot. That’s the biggest thing. I don’t think it makes a lot of difference who it is.”
Several players expected to see significant playing time didn’t play in the scrimmage because of injuries.
Defensive end Will Harvey, linebacker Marc Palacios, Dennis and defensive backs Nick Yeros, Tyler Winder and Frank deBraga all sat out.
Slot receiver Zach Adair injured a knee again and is out for the season. He missed last year with a torn anterior cruciate ligament.