“I am happy to see our defense come out with that enthusiasm,” the second-year Viking Head Coach said after his defense held the offense to a single touchdown in a 69-play scrimmage at Stott Community Field. “They are the new part of us. We lost the middle of that defense (to graduation) and on that side of it I was happy.
“In this conference if you can stop somebody you have a chance. Everybody knows how to score. A few stops in a game will win a hot one. It’s boring for the fans to watch the defense perform like that, but as a coach that’s good stuff.”
And although the offense managed only one touchdown and one field goal in 14 series, Barnum was not overly concerned with that side of the ball. In fact, the offense had two strong days of practice on Monday and Tuesday.
“I have a lot of confidence in our offense, so their production today wasn’t pretty, there were a lot of punts…,” he said. But the knowledge of having a veteran quarterback in Alex Kuresa and a sturdy offensive line has Barnum secure. The offense was also undermanned with several receivers sitting out the scrimmage.
“Our receiving corps has a bandaid on it right now, but they will be alright. There is no reason to throw them out there (in the scrimmage). It gave us a chance to see some guys in backup roles and I saw guys like Maximo (Espitia) and Charlie (Taumoepeau) get some experience. Those guys are going to have to give us 10-20 plays this year.”
Safety Walter Santiago set the tone early with a big hit on running back Paris Penn in the opening series. Santiago forced a fumble – a rare miscue from an offense that has seldom turned it over in practice or games since the beginning of last year.
Penn went on to rush eight times for 40 yards, but the big play on offense came from junior Mitchell Thompson. The backup tailback, who was recently given a scholarship after originally walking on, had an 80-yard burst through the line for the only touchdown. Thompson finished with 10 carries for 113 yards.
It also appears clear that true freshman Davis Alexander has locked up the backup quarterback role. He took all the snaps with the second string, completing 5-7 passes for 46 yards.
One other area the Vikings were strong at in 2015 was avoiding penalties. That was not the case in this scrimmage. “This was our first time with referees and we saw lot of penalties. There were too many penalties. It was too muddy out there,” said Barnum.
The Vikings will take Thursday off from practice as the coaches break down the scrimmage film and shore up their two-deeps. Then, practice with game preparation begins Friday. The Vikings will open up a week from Saturday against Central Washington at Providence Park.
“Its a new team,” Barnum said. “Until you get to game week, you really don’t know. The (players) are all vieing for a spot. There is a lot of competition here, but we will see how they come together next week.”
Portland State Football Pre-Season Practice Schedule
Thurs., Aug. 25: Off Day
Fri., Aug. 26: 10 a.m.-Noon
Sat., Aug. 27: 10 a.m.-Noon
Sun., Aug. 28: Off Day
Mon., Aug. 29: 10 a.m.-Noon
Tues., Aug. 30: 10 a.m.-Noon
Wed., Aug. 31: 10 a.m.-Noon
Thurs., Sept. 1: 10 a.m.-Noon
Fri., Sept. 2: TBA
Sat., Sept. 3: vs. Central Washington, 2:30 p.m.
PORTLAND STATE FOOTBALL TICKET INFORMATION
Tickets to all Vikings Football Games are on sale now! Purchase yours today at GoViks.com/Tickets, by calling 1.888.VIK.TIKS, or by visiting the PSU Box Office (1825 SW Broadway).
Club Level (Including Tax Deductible Donation) – $300
Regular Reserved (100 Level) – $30
General Admission (200 Level) – $20
PSU Students (w/ID) – $10
PSU Students Guest Tickets – $10
Non-PSU Students (with ID) – $10
Youth Tickets (8th Grade & Under) – $5
Urban Tailgate presented by Hop Valley
$5 suggested donation
3 hours before kickoff outside the Kingston Bar
Live Music. Craft Beer. Food Trucks. Free Gumbo.