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UWA’s Gilliland finds positives in Sunday scrimmage

First year UWA head coach Brett Gilliland found some positives following Sunday’s first scrimmage of fall camp, but being “glad we don’t have to play tomorrow” was what made him the happiest.

Gilliland and his staff put the Tigers through a two-hour scrimmage on a steamy Sunday afternoon at Tiger Stadium. The defense controlled the tempo early and often before the offense managed to rally later in the practice.

“We have some things to work on, with ball security being the biggest issue today,” Gilliland said. “That, and substitutions on both sides of the ball, being able to get in and out with some urgency.”

Before the halfway point of the scrimmage Tiger defenders forced six turnovers, including four lost fumbles and interceptions by defensive backs Trey Rembert and true freshman Taderion Myhand.

“The turnovers we had are unacceptable. A lot of them were on center quarterback exchange,” Gilliland said. “We were trying some new things at center, but we will get it fixed and move forward.

“It looked like the defense was playing with about 15 players out there at times. I believe we have some guys who can really move around,” Gilliland said. “We are really talented on the backend of our defense. It is going to be a fight to get on the bus, which is a good thing.”

Following the turnovers, committed mostly by backups, senior quarterback Kyle Caldwell sparked the Tiger offense for several big plays down the stretch. He hit Chad Toocheck for 58 yards, completed a 38-yarder to Tyshaan Alston to set up one score and a 37-yard pass to Stephanio McNair to set up another. He also had a 65-yard touchdown run nullified by a holding penalty before completing a 31-yard pass to Randy Satterfield to set up another score.

“Kyle did a good job rallying the troops when things weren’t going well, stopping the bleeding and creating some spark when we needed it,” Gilliland said. “Rashaad Lee had a good day running the football and Tyler Rogers also did a good job.”

Lee and freshman quarterback Dezmon Huntley each scored two touchdowns and Rogers scored another.

With fall semester classes starting Monday at UWA, the Tigers have wrapped up training camp and will continue to work toward a Sept. 6 opener at Stillman College.