Intramural scrimmages mean every good play that takes place has a counterpart. A good play by the defense signifies the offense did not execute as it had hoped.
During Saturday’s scrimmage on the ICCU practice field, Idaho State head coach Mike Kramer rode the rollercoaster of emotions and its evil mirror image for a full 90 minutes. Half of him was pulling out his proverbial hair and the other jumping for joy.
“My gum is chewed out,” Kramer said.
While last week’s scrimmage was an exercise in frustration for the offense, Saturday saw the Bengals getting in the end zone on numerous occasions. Still, Kramer was not satisfied by the No. 2 players.
“I want to see great improvement by guys who have not played,” he said. “I know how good our starters are and they’ve made significant progress. But I want to see guys who are planning on playing play like a varsity level player. We did not transfer Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday’s work into Saturday. We have to bring it during a scrimmage.”
Kramer says the Bengals get nervous during scrimmages as people are in attendance to watch.
“We come across the street like it’s practice. And at practice I’m not barking,” he said. “But in a scrimmage I’m barking because I’m simulating 11,000 people screaming and yelling. I’m on our guys when they make mistakes they shouldn’t make, just like a fan would.
“We get 25 people sitting on the grass and all the sudden it’s different. And it is different because the head coach has a different tempo on scrimmage day, and we’re not quite used to it.”
Quarterback Justin Arias, who will be the starter for the second consecutive season this fall, continued his stellar play.
“We executed well on some things, some long third downs, but we had a bad snap and a few drops,” Arias said. “We had some good and bad. For the most part we scored when we were in the red zone and that’s what it’s all about, being more efficient in the red zone. Whether that’s field goals or touchdowns, you have to get points.”
On the other side of the ball, the defensive line had a monster day. The pressure it put on the quarterbacks led to numerous interceptions and a fumble recovery.
“I’m happy our defense played well, especially our nose tackles,” Kramer said. “Tyler (Kramer) was really unstoppable. Mitch Beckstead played really well and Taison Manu showed that he can really start coming now as a safety and make us a lot better as a defense.”
“We still made some minor mistakes. But we’re still maturing as a team,” said senior cornerback Vai Peko. “We just have to get back at it and keep capitalizing on when we get turnovers. We’re doing pretty good.”
The Bengals have three spring practices remaining and will hold their spring game next Saturday. There is plenty of improvement the team must make before packing things up for the summer.
“We’re not where we’re supposed to be in practice (No.) 11 or 12,” Kramer said. “Part of it (is) I’m frustrated by the 2s on offense. I’m OK with our starters on defense and I’m OK with our starters on defense. We’ve got to find a way to start generating drives. I’ll alter practice quite a bit this week so we can do drive generation. I’ll put us in some situations that will make us better next Saturday.”