reigns in scrimmage
football team concluded spring drills Saturday with confidence
and high hopes for next season.
Jerome Braziel hasnt quite achieved household name
status as a defensive back in his first three seasons
with the Horned Frogs, but he could be well on his way.
In Saturdays Purple-White scrimmage that marked
the end of spring drills, the senior cornerback set the
tone with an over-the-shoulder interception on the scrimmages
third play. The early pick paved the way for a 60-minute
defensive-struggle, featuring a combined five turnovers
and nine sacks, between the first and second-team defenses.
Braziel said the impressive interception was nothing more
Our defense is real fast, he said. When
the ball is in the air, I go get it and thats exactly
what I did.
In front of a couple thousand fans at Amon Carter Stadium,
the first-team won 7-3, despite scoring the scrimmages
lone touchdown on the second-to-last play of the contest.
Although Braziel didnt have a role in that touchdown,
he feels hes made the most of all his opportunities
I didnt feel that I had to prove anything,
just make the plays that coach Patterson and his staff
think I can make, he said. They brought me
in to make plays, and this was my time to shine.
Braziel wasnt the only Frog who shined in the secondary
And that is great news for the entire team because if
there was one glaring weakness the Frogs needed to address
this offseason, it was the secondary.
In fact, all the cornerbacks performed so well during
spring drills that head coach Gary Patterson said this
could be the best unit hes ever had.
They have made us a lot better because of the competition,
Patterson said. We probably have a chance to be
the best at the corner position since Ive been here.
Braziel attributes the secondarys great team speed
to the units vast improvement since last season.
We play real fast, Braziel said. We
came out here just to make plays, and we pride ourselves
on that. Our defense is real fast and flies to the ball
and makes plays.
As great as the defense played Saturday, the offenses
performance was the exact opposite, gaining just 201 yards
on 79 plays.
Both offensive teams struggled to move the ball down the
field and looked out of sync for most of the scrimmage.
Sophomore running back Robert Merrill led the scrimmage
with 42 rushing yards and junior quarterback Tye Gunn,
who completed 12-27 passes, led the way with 132 passing
yards. Gunn also threw two interceptions.
But Patterson is not stressing over the poor offensive
(Our defense) knew every play out of every formation,
he said. Its hard to tell how everything goes
because weve played each other so much and are so
familiar with it.
For Gunn, who missed spring drills last season with a
knee injury, the statistics arent as important as
getting repetitions and being healthy.
I still have a long way to go, he said of
his comeback from two injury-riddled seasons. Overall,
its just a learning process I have to go through.
(Spring drills) keep you sharp enough, then I can build
Senior quarterback Brandon Hassell was left out of the
scrimmage as a precautionary measure; he is recovering
from a stress fracture in his foot.
Patterson still denies the Frogs have any sort of quarterback
controversy brewing, however.
Id say Brandon and Tye are the guy,
he said. Its not a controversy. They both
just havent been able to practice. They play a lot
alike and manage the clock well. Thats what we want
from our quarterback.
Whether it is Hassell or Gunn, Patterson thinks the Frogs
have a lot to look forward to next season.
Im excited with what we have in front of us,
Patterson said. Weve never had the best players
here. We just try to put together the best teams.