The public got its first look at the 2000 version of the Cornell football team on Saturday night, and it saw a squad ready to challenge for an Ivy Title.
The scrimmage, held Saturday night on Schoellkopf Field, showed that the first-team offense was not only capable of moving the ball through the air, but has incorporated a new ground game into its attack.
The running game showed its promise immediatly when on the second play from scrimmage, junior Evan Simmons took off on a long run that ended up in the endzone. Simmons took the ball off-tackle to the right, and won a foot race to the end of the field.
“The running game is always a priority for us, and something we are trying to improve on,” heach coach Pete Mangurian said. “The opportunity was there to make a play and Evan [Simmons] made a play, and that’s what you want to see.”
However, the practice was not so much a track-meet as it was a battle of the trenches. After Simmons’ run, Mangurian put the first-string defense back in, which made a nice stand.
“Our [first-string] defense came in and did a good job,” Mangurian said.
The running game was not the only bright spot for the Red, as Mangurian noted his approval of the team’s passing game.
“I’m pleased with what our receivers have done in training camp, and I’m pleased with what Ricky has done,” he said.
Shortly after the touchdown, Mangurian rested his projected starters in order to get the rest of the squad practice in game-like situations.
“The [first-team] only took about 12 plays, and the [second-team] got quite a bit of work, and we got our young guys in there, but less than the [second-team],” he said.
With the second-team in the contest, the officials had to take a more active role in the scrimmage. Mental mistakes, such as delay of game, and jumping offsides stymied the non-starters.
“There were things like not lining up properly and getting in the neutral zone too early, which you need officials here to call attention to,” Mangurian said.
As the team wrapped up its two 15-minute quarters of play, Mangurian was happy with the effort on the night and how the squad looks three weeks before its season-opener at Bucknell.
“Overall, I’m pleased with where we are. Obviously, we are not where we need to be yet, but we are on schedule,” he said. “We still have a ways to go. Usually the biggest improvement you make is between the first time you scrimmage and the second time you scrimmage, and I would hope that that holds true.”
And while the team now has over 50 plays on film to analyze, Mangurian was most excited about something else.
“Obviously, the most important thing [is that] you get all that work and nobody got hurt.”
Archived article by J.V. Anderton