March 26, 2012
Cullowhee, N.C. - Western Carolina reached the midway point of its annual spring drills on Saturday (March 24), conducting the most extensive intra-squad scrimmage to date. The Catamounts practiced for right at two hours, holding a 163-play scrimmage at E.J. Whitmire Stadium / Bob Waters Field.
Running out of the shotgun spread formation, the Catamount offense excelled again during Saturday afternoon's scrimmage. The unit tallied at least seven plays of 30-yards or more from scrimmage and finished with 11 combined touchdowns in a variety of set-up scenarios.
Four quarterbacks took charge of the offense with junior transfer Eddie Sullivan seeing the most time in the backfield. The Boca Raton, Fla., native unofficially threw for 279 yards on 18-of-30 passing with a touchdown and an interception. Sullivan connected with two-sport athlete Garrett Brown for a 70-yard scoring strike on a fake bubble screen. Brandon Pechloff also recorded a scoring strike on 5-of-6 passing for 91 yards, connecting with wide receiver Jeff Moore on a 59-yard touchdown pass.
Freshman Michael Helms finished 6-of-11 for 41 yards through the air, adding a rushing score while redshirt freshman Jawan Simmons went 2-for-5 for 48 yards.
Rising senior wide receiver Gary Green led the 12 different players to catch passes during the scrimmage with eight receptions for 50 yards. Classmate Jacoby Mitchell had five catches for 113 yards, but did lose one fumble after a 33-yard pitch-and-catch from Sullivan. Moore finished with 83 yards receiving on four catches including the 59-yarder.
Three tight ends were also targeted on Saturday with Conner Orr, who returned to the lineup this spring, making a 33-yard catch while Nate Stephenson (3-for-37 yds) and Phillip Chavis (1-for-5 yds) also catching passes.
WCU's ground game accounted for nine scores including four rushing touchdowns by Michael Vaughn as the rising senior took it in from 22, eight, six and three yards out. Vaughn amassed 154 yards on 17 carries during the scrimmage, adding 15 yards receiving. Shaun Warren rushed for two TDs of 22 and 60 yards, carrying the ball a team-high 22 times for 141 yards while Michael Johnson scored twice, toting the ball 15 times for 143 yards on the ground with one catch for 20 yards.
Highlighting play of the defensive unit was converted defensive back, Isaiah Johnson. The redshirt freshman recorded a fumble recovery and an interception while also breaking up another pass play. He unofficially led the squad with eight tackles, matching defensive back Christon Gill on the day while Elijer Martinez had six stops. Linebackers Rock Williams was credited with 7.5 tackles while Nathaniel Sedergren had three tackles for loss.
Four different players recorded quarterback sacks along the defensive front as seniors Bevans Robbs and Eric Banford, as well as Pete Balthrop Jr., and Julian Johnson all got to the signal caller in the backfield. Johnson as well as Andre Whitmire, Ben Watkins and Sean Adams all recorded tackles behind the line of scrimmage for the defense.
The only special team to see live action on Saturday was the field goal unit. Banford and Balthrop Jr., both blocked field goal attempts during the scrimmage.
WCU is scheduled to practice twice this week with sessions on Monday afternoon and Wednesday evening under the lights before the annual Spring Break which commences this weekend and continues through April 8. The squad is scheduled to practice four-straight days leading into the final day of practice on Saturday, April 14.
Remaining Catamount Football Spring Practice Schedule:
(Practice schedule subject to change)
Monday, March 26 - 4:30-6:30 pm
Wednesday, March 28 - 6:00-8:00 pm
- WCU Spring Break: March 31-April 8
Wednesday, April 11 - 4:30-6:30 pm
Thursday, April 12 - 4:30-6:30 pm
Friday, April 13 - 4:30-6:00 pm
Saturday, April 14 - 1:00-3:30 pm