Lincoln’s pass game stands out at scrimmage

It may have only been the first fall scrimmage for the Lincoln Blue Tigers, but this much is true: Starting quarterback Jacob Morris and the first-team offense already look locked in.

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Jacob Morris

Morris went 11-for-20 for 266 yards and three touchdowns through the air Saturday morning at Dwight T. Reed Stadium in the first look at the Blue Tigers in game-like action.

“He did a solid job,” Lincoln head coach Mike Jones said of his junior signal-caller. “He ran the offense well. He understands this is his third year, so this year should be his breakout year.”

Four of those incompletions were dropped balls. The ones that were caught, however, often went a long way. Morris completed six passes that traveled 10 or more yards, including all three touchdown passes.

“It’s always nice to have the big plays,” Morris said. “It makes you feel good and it helps give the offense a little bit of a confidence boost. That’s what we shoot for. We want consistency, but it’s also nice to have a big play thrown in there.”

It didn’t take long for the first big play. After two short completions to start the scrimmage, Morris hit converted quarterback Percy Turner for a 71-yard pass down the right sideline.

“Percy’s still learning how to play wide receiver,” Jones said. “He can do a lot of different things for us. Percy can stretch the field for us. He may be the best athlete on the football team, between him and Khiry (Draine).”

Before Morris threw his next touchdown pass, Lincoln found the end zone a couple times on special teams.

The first occurred on a muffed punt, as Draine picked up the loose ball and would have taken it to the house if not for a blown whistle.

The next occurred on a fake punt pass from punter Julio Segura to Draine, which again was whistled dead before Draine could reach the end zone, prompting the senior to exclaim, “Stop blowing the whistle so I can score!”

“We ran our first group (on special teams) against the scout team,” Jones said. “The fake punt was actually us doing the fake punt, so we’re all right.”

Morris hit the field again and connected with Andre Borney for a 63-yard touchdown on his first pass. Morris then closed out his day with a 45-yard touchdown pass across the middle to Carlos Portillo.

“You saw some guys run some excellent routes,” Jones said. “If you look at it, all the balls that we caught that were deep, they caught them in stride. That’s what you want to see. You want to see (Morris) hit a guy that’s open in stride so he can keep on running. Offensively we’re ahead because we have a lot of guys back.”

Manny Rodriguez found the end zone on the ground from 20 yards out, which accounted for a good chunk of his team-high 55 yards rushing, and Antwon Hoard scored on a 10-yard jaunt. First-teamer Morris Henderson ran five times for 25 yards and Deon Brock ran five times for 18 yards.

“I thought we did OK running the ball,” Jones said.

Defensive highlights included an interception, a fumble recovery and several sacks.

“We have to become better tacklers, that’s for sure,” Jones said. “We have got to know what we’re doing on defense. We still have some problems with knowing the assignments, but that’s going to come because we have a lot of young guys. We have a lot of turnover.”

The two-hour scrimmage was just what Jones wanted.

“I am happy with where everyone’s at,” he said. “If you look at it, we did over 100 plays. For the most part I thought the guys played with effort.”

There was a brief skirmish near the end of the scrimmage between an offensive and defensive player, with some shoving and a punch or two attempted before it was broken up.

“Saying it politically correct, the guy was enthusiastic,” Jones said. “You don’t want to have fights out there with your teammates. It’s going to happen because it’s getting hot and guys are getting tired, someone’s hand slips in a guy’s face and next thing you know there’s a fight. You try to break it up and make sure guys aren’t doing anything stupid, but in the same sense you’ve got to make sure that these guys are being competitive.”

Lincoln is less than two weeks away from its season opener Sept. 5 at Lindenwood.

“Each day it’s getting closer,” Jones said. “We have got to get better. Monday is first day of school, so no practice. We’ll come back Tuesday and start game-planning on Lindenwood.”

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