FOOTBALL HAS FIRST SCRIMMAGE OF THE SPRING ON SATURDAY
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Nearly two weeks into spring ball, the Sacramento State football team will hold its first scrimmage on Saturday on the team's practice field. The team will take the field at 10 a.m. with the controlled scrimmage set to begin after warm-ups.
The scrimmage is the first of three scheduled for team during the spring season. Sacramento State is coming off a 6-6 season in 2008 and returns 17 starters from a year ago.
This year's spring ball also features numerous subplots. Five of the more interesting position battles are below.
1) Who will carry the ball?
The top two rushers from last season (Bryan Hilliard and Evander Wilkins) are both sidelined with injuries. Hilliard will miss all of 2009 after having shoulder surgery while Wilkins is expected to return in the fall following knee surgery. In their absence, sophomore Jake Croxdale is the most experienced back. Croxdale will split time with JC transfer Kenslow Smith and redshirt freshman Anthony Biasi.
2) Who will take the ball carrier?
All three ball starting linebackers from last season graduated from the program and leave the Hornets with a big hole to fill in the middle of the defense. Cyrus Mulitalo, Mike Brannon and Mike Hickman each earned all-Big Sky honors in 2008. There are numerous candidates looking to take over one of the starting roles. The leading candidates include returners Greg Johnson and David Coleman, converted safety Peter Buck and JC transfer Jared Pereira.
3) Can TW be replaced?
After enjoying arguably the finest single season by a Hornet receiver, Tony Washington earned All-America honors. The Hornets will now look for a replacement during the spring. Washington's enormous numbers from a year ago will likely be picked up from a group of guys. Sophomore Chase Deadder ended 2008 strong and will fight for a starting job. Other candidates include Brett Willis and Ron Richardson.
4) Who's behind Jason?
As the team was forced to learn last season, quarterback depth is needed in the Big Sky. Junior Jason Smith is the returning starter and will compete in spring ball for the first time since 2007. Behind Smith is senior John Loeliger, redshirt freshman Nick Anderson and freshman Dominic Carmazzi. McLeod Bethel-Thompson will also compete in some drills but will stay out of contact while still recovering from knee injury.
5) Is anyone special?
The team will be in search of a new kicker and punter after graduating kicker Juan Gamboa and punter Oscar De Alba. The kicking duties during the spring will be with Chris Diniz. Augie Heath will take over at punter after transferring from Butte College.