BOWLING GREEN — While scrimmages are a good way to simulate game conditions, there's always one problem.
The Bowling Green State University football team's scrimmage Saturday at Doyt Perry Stadium made that concern clear: Any time your offense does something good, the defense seems to have a problem, and vice versa.
Photo gallery: BGSU inter-squad scrimmage
Take, for example, the first play of the scrimmage. BooBoo Gates fielded a kickoff, cut left through a hole and raced 97 yards for a touchdown.
It's a victory for the kick return team — or is it a concern for the kick coverage team?
Truth be told, it's a victory for the coaching staff, which can use the film from the two-hour scrimmage to show the team plenty of both good and bad plays.
The winner of the scrimmage probably was an offense that produced several touchdowns as well as a fair number of long, time-consuming and yard-eating drives.
"I thought our offense had a good day that could have been a great day if you take away the turnover and some of the drives where we self-destructed," BG coach Dave Clawson said. "We had some drives that stopped because receivers missed signals and offensive linemen jumped.
"For the first 80 percent of practice I didn't think our defense stopped our offense — I thought our offense stopped itself. I thought our offensive line looked good and ran the ball well."
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The offense put together a 16-play drive as well as drives of 10 and nine plays. But several long drives were ended by mistakes and penalties.
"I thought we had a lot of mistakes that need to be ironed out before we begin the season," junior quarterback Matt Schilz said. "I thought the offensive line played better and is doing great.
Sophomore running back Jamel Martin capped a 10-play drive with a 3-yard TD run, and Schilz found tight end Clay Rolf, an Eastwood grad, in the back of the end zone from four yards out.
Freshman QB Matt Johnson connected with junior Shaun Joplin from Southview on a 34-yard TD strike, and freshman James Knapke had a 3-yard touchdown toss to Jared Cohen.
"I felt good about our offensive line," Clawson said. "I thought those guys came out with a focus and played well as a unit. Their communication was excellent.
"That's probably as well as we've run the ball against our defense in three years."
While the last play of the scrimmage was a victory for the defense — freshman defensive back Will Watson intercepted a pass and returned it 28 yards for a score — Clawson was surprised that the offense had the better of play.
"If you would have asked me before the scrimmage, I would have said I thought the defense would get the better of the offense," he said. "So maybe it's a positve that the offense has come back.
"But we come out of this scrimmage with concerns about stopping the run. We've been working on it, and we've been doing it all camp. But here we didn't do it."
NOTE: Several running backs did not dress for the scrimmage. Junior Jordan Hopgood has been practicing with the team this fall after knee surgery, but Clawson said the goal is to limit his work. Redshirt freshman Andre Givens was dinged in practice late last week, but Clawson expects him to return to practice soon.
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