August 23, 2007

Grading the scrimmage: Players to watch

Prior to Wednesday's scrimmage we gave you a list of players to watch. They were the guys who could help themselves - or hurt themselves - most. Here's how they did:

1. Stafon Johnson: A-

With C.J. Gable out, Johnson had the opportunity to prove he belongs as the No. 2 option at tailback behind Chauncey Washington. He did just that. If Washington's shoulder injury is serious, Johnson actually could be No. 1.

Johnson ran four times for 89 yards and two touchdowns against the second-team defense. The highlight was a 67-yard carry, during which he showed great burst and cutback ability. Toward the end of the run, he hopped out of a leg tackle. His only carry for fewer than 10 yards came on a one-yard touchdown.

Why the minus? He dropped a punt, which fell right into the opposing team's hands. However, since he never seemed to have much of a chance to return punts anyway, we're not going to penalize him too much.

2. Kyle Moore: C-

Without watching tape, it's hard to know how Moore did against the run. But that was never a concern, as his job on first and second down does not appear to be in jeopardy. This grade is a combination of his performance as a pass rusher, minus what Everson Griffen took away from him.

In order to convince coaches that they do not need to insert Griffen in passing situations, Moore could have used a few trips into the backfield. Griffen appeared there twice, while Moore was a no-show.

3. Josh Pinkard: B+

The junior did nothing spectacular, but he broke up a pass or two and got the start at safety, his natural position. Coach Pete Carroll kept Pinkard, Taylor Mays and Kevin Ellison in a constant rotation during the scrimmage, and he said afterward that they all would see plenty of playing time this season.

With sophomore Shareece Wright's recent emergence at cornerback, it appears that Pinkard will stick mostly to safety, as Wright rotates a bit with starters Cary Harris and Terrell Thomas. Pinkard still could play some nickelback, however, as he appeared there once in the scrimmage.

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