Defense Steps Up in Second Scrimmage: QB Battle Continues

Defense Steps Up in Second Scrimmage: QB Battle Continues

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JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – The Carson-Newman Eagles held their second scrimmage of fall camp on Friday morning, working out for about 90 minutes in Burke-Tarr Stadium.

After getting run through by Nate Inman (Fitzgerald, Ga.) and the Eagle offense in the fall's first scrimmage, the Eagle defense responded in a big way on Friday, allowing just one touchdown drive to the first-team offense.

Junior Brandon Baker's (Miami, Fla..) 43-yard touchdown run toward the end of the first team's action was the lone highlight for the offense.

"I was glad to see the defense more determined today than they were (on Wednesday)," C-N head coach Ken Sparks said afterwards. "The offense was a little sluggish, but we had three-a-days Tuesday and Thursday, so we've got some heavy legs."

While All-SAC selections like defensive end Zeke Andrews (Eastman, Ga.) and Oliver Davis (Acworth, Ga.) both contributed big plays, including an interception and a number of pass break ups by Davis, Sparks mentioned a few newcomers that will be a factor in his defensive front seven.  

"Larry Lumpkin is coming on at Mike (middle) linebacker," Sparks said. "And it's been great to have Jamar Neal back at defensive end. They'll both do some things for us. (Defensive tackle) Luis Doray is a player. We're really glad to have him, we needed one at defensive tackle. He fills a void and adds depth for us in a big way.

Lumpkin forced an early fumble by the first-team offense to end a Johnny Foster-led drive as it entered the red zone, while Doray clogged up the running lanes that Inman sprinted through for over 200 yards on Wednesday. Inman only carried the ball a few times during Friday's scrimmage, but had a 25-yard run.

The battle for the starting quarterback spot continues. Jason Brown (Plant City, Fla.) and Johnny Foster (Roebuck, S.C.) each led sustained drive that broke down in scoring positions. Brown scrambled for a number of first downs, just as he did in Wednesday's scrimmage, and moved to wide receiver when Foster stepped under center. He also returned a kickoff.

Junior Brandon Haywood (Rockmart, Ga.) and freshman Philip Juhlin (Maryville, Tenn.) each took snaps with the first-team offense as well. Haywood also played at wide receiver.

"We've got four guys that'll take two steps forward and then one step back," Sparks said of his four-man qb battle. "By the time you get confidence in one, he'll make a freshman mistake that scares you to death like laying the ball on the ground or missing a read, but we've got four guys that will eventually all be good quarterbacks. Which one will get there soon enough? I don't know."

The Eagles will practice three times Saturday and attend church as a team on Sunday. The final scrimmage of the fall is Wednesday evening at 6:30 p.m. in Burke-Tarr Stadium.

The Eagles open the 2011 season on Sept. 1 at Glenville State (W.Va.). Kickoff is at 7 p.m.