The Bearcat football team ended their Clifton portion of camp Saturday afternoon with a scrimmage and will now move to camp Higher Ground, where they'll continue their preparations for the upcoming season until August 22.
Saturday's scrimmage unfortunately did nothing to separate any of the contenders for the starting quarterback position. Sophomore Tony Pike saw a lot of action with the first team offense, getting the first crack at the defense. In his two series, Pike was 8-for-12 for 46 yards, but didn't lead the offense to any scores.
Head Coach Brian Kelly says although Pike doesn't always look pretty, he is an accurate quarterback. "Pike's completion rate is around 78 percent. He's accurate and he can push the ball down the field."
Sophomore Craig Carey also got a good look, going 9-for-11 and 77 yards in three series. The final series, Carey drove the offense to a 48-yard Jake Rogers field goal. "Craig Carey has athletic ability and a strong arm," Kelly said.
Senior Ben Mauk led three series as well, going 4-for-6 for 100 yards and led the offense to three scores. The first series ended in a 27-yard Jake Rogers field goal. The second series ended in a 48-yard Greg Moore shovel pass and run. And the final series took all of one play, a 65-yard TD run by sophomore running back Jacob Ramsey.
"Ben Mauk has a savvy to him," said Kelly. "He looks comfortable with his hands underneath the center or in the shotgun. He's a guy you have to look at and say 'wow, if he can get healthy he's pretty good. He definitely put himself back in a position where he can compete for the No.1.".
Junior Dustin Grutza was 6-for-10 for 40 yards but didn't lead the offense to any scores. "Dustin Grutza's an experienced Big East player. We know what Dustin can do," Kelly added.
Also, freshman quarterbacks Zach Collaros and Chazz Anderson also got some action but couldn't get much going.
Coach Kelly says although no one has stepped to the forefront yet, it's not a sign the Bearcats are going to have to change their offensive philosophy where they'll have to run more.
"You're still looking at four guys who, in a competitive situation, can do the job," said Kelly. "Whoever that No. 1 guy ends up being, he's going to be pretty good because he's going to beat out three other guys who aren't bad. We can do it, but no one has stepped up and said 'I'm your guy' yet."
As the Bearcats head to Higher Ground for practices starting Monday, there is no timetable on selecting a definite starting quarterback, or even a top two. But, Kelly said they have to get to a point where it's a top two, not four.
"In 17 years of coaching, I've never had four. I've always had two. We're going to have to find out who those (two) guys are. We can't go through the season with four guys," Kelly said.
In addition to trying to nail down a couple prime quarterback options, the Bearcats look to break away from all the distractions on campus. "There are so many distractions here (on campus). You come to a practice, you don't know who's looking at you, so it gives us a chance to get away and really focus on our kids and football," Kelly said.
Junior wide receiver Dominick Goodman suffered a hip injury early in Saturday's practice. The extent of that injury wasn't immediately known. He was seen on crutches at the end of practice, but he wasn't using them much.
Senior receiver Mike Daniels bruised some ribs Friday and was held out of practice Saturday for precautionary measures. Daniels should return to practice early this week.
Freshman kicker Jake Rogers continued to impress with deep kickoffs and accurate field goal kicking. Rogers made 2-of-3 attempts during Saturday's scrimmage-one from 27 yards and another from 48 yards. Rogers missed his attempt from 52 yards but it had plenty of distance.
Running back Jacob Ramsey showed tremendous speed in his ability to get outside on his 65-yard touchdown run. Ramsey went off left tackle and went basically untouched down the left sideline.
Ben Mauk showed his ability to lead the offense even though his arm strength still isn't 100 percent.
Terrill Byrd was simply unblockable today. He really applied a lot of pressure up the middle and when the offense ran his way there were not a lot of yards being gained.
Despite being matched up with Mike Mickens, Antwuan Giddens still finds ways to get open and make plays. Most notably, right before the actual scrimmage started, Giddens made a beautiful move in the end zone to come back for a pass thrown by Dustin Grutza for a touchdown.
Cincinnati will enjoy an off day on Sunday before heading to Higher Ground Conference Center on Monday. UC departs from campus at 8 a.m. The lone practice on Monday is scheduled for 3:05 p.m. at Higher Ground.