Upon review, Ash pleased with scrum

BOZEMAN — Facing what he calls the most grueling segment of his team’s 2013 fall camp, Montana State coach Rob Ash saw plenty to like while reviewing film of Saturday’s first fall scrimmage.

“I was pretty happy with the offense’s execution,” Ash said on Sunday, “especially the ones. The quarterbacks combined to complete 78% of their passes, and that’s very solid.”

With some new offensive concepts put to the test for the first time in the fall, Ash was pleased with his offense’s progress. “There were some different wrinkles on offense. I think you can see we tried to move (quarterback) DeNarius McGhee around more and stress the defense with his ability to pull it down and run,” Ash said. “Coach (Tim) Cramsey has some cool ideas in the passing game.”

The Bobcat defense also drew praise from Ash on Sunday. “We lost some great pass rushers off the defense in the last couple of years,” Ash said, “but we’re getting good production from (Brad) Daly and (Preston) Gale and, at times, Taylor Sheridan. I thought the one defense played very physical and very sound. The twos are pretty young and there are a lot of assignments to clean up, but I thought they flew around. Rob Marshall showed up and played well for Eryon Barnett (who was injured). He showed he should be able to step in if we need him.”

Ash calls the six days ahead the “hardest week of camp.” The Bobcats practice at 9:15 a.m. every day from Monday through Saturday, except for Thursday, and also at 4 pm on Monday, 3 p.m. on Wednesday, and 4 p.m. on Friday.

“This is a very grueling week of practice,” Ash said. “The pace of install is high, and this is where you sometimes separate the young guys. This is a grind even for the veterans, but the new guys have a lot of information coming at them for the first time.”

READING TIME: Ash said the continued installation and polishing of the offense’s read-action concepts, added to the offense by new coordinator Tim Cramsey, will be both a challenge and boost to the offense. “We’ll continue to work on the communication and the vocabulary,” he said.

QUARTERBACK PLAY: Statistics don’t always jibe with what coaches see on film when evaluating games and practices, but Ash said the gaudy numbers thrown up by Bobcat quarterbacks in Saturday’s scrimmage reflect what he’s seen throughout camp. “I think Tim (Cramsey) has done a great job with the quarterbacks,” Ash said. “That is a good group of players, and they’re starting to get comfortable.”

Preseason All-America DeNarius McGhee is entrenched as the starter and Jake Bleskin established as the backup, but Ash liked the two players who have yet to see game action. “(Redshirt freshman) Dakota Prukop did a good job Saturday, he’s having a nice camp. And I’m impressed with Quinn McQueary. He wasn’t right all the time (Saturday), but he played like he was right. He played with confidence and poise, and he’s going to be a good player.”

STOPPERS: While Ash was pleased with his offenses progress Saturday, he said the other side of the ball showed one constant from past defenses in the scrimmage. “It’s still hard to run on our defense,” he said.

GUNNING: Ash indicated after Saturday’s scrimmage that freshman running back Gunnar Brekke has stood out enough to play on the varsity in 2013, and Sunday he added flesh to that comment. “Gunnar is really playing fast. He has picked things up well, and when you understand what’s going on you can play fast. That’s where he’s at right now.”

— MSU Sports Information

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