CHARLESTON, S.C. – Charleston Southern held a situational scrimmage during the back half of practice on Wednesday morning. Rain washed out practice Tuesday and continued into Wednesday but the weather cleared enough for the Bucs to hit the field again as they gear up for Saturday's full scrimmage.
With a week of fall camp already behind them, the opportunity to line up 11-on-11 for about an hour was useful for head coach Mark Tucker's club.
"It was a scrimmage atmosphere – a situational scrimmage based on field zone," Tucker said. "I felt like we competed as a team, and executed fairly well offensively. The defense did what they do and gave us problems. We're starting to hold our own (offensively) consistently so from that standpoint I feel good about it."
CSU's defensive front seven controlled much of the action, but the offense did reach the end zone three times. Shane Bucenell hit Kameron Brown on a lob in the back corner of the end zone, Noah Shuler ripped off a lengthy touchdown run, and Jack Chambers crossed the goal line as well, showing good elusiveness on an option keeper.
Defensively, in addition to the usual stalwarts, linebacker Edward King and defensive lineman Eishaun Funnye were particularly active. King had several tackles for loss, while Funnye and the rest of the defensive line set the tone at the line of scrimmage.
"I feel we're making progress there and I feel that way because of our ability to play defense in the box," Tucker said. "If we can match up against our people, then the people that we have to play within our division, we can match up pretty well against. It's our job to get young people ready to play."
CSU will lean on young running backs as it seeks to fill the wealth of production it graduated at that position off last year's team. Chanin Hamilton and Ronnie Harris, both of whom missed spring practice with minor injuries, have quickly taken charge in the backfield. Both found running room behind the offensive line at times during Wednesday's play.
"I've been very, very pleased with both Ronnie and Chanin in regards to taking ownership of that group," Tucker said. "You're starting to see them pick up on some of the subtle things they've learned and been taught off of film. It's their time. We've talked an awful lot about it in the offseason and in spring."
At quarterback, Bucenell continued to display command of the offense and Johnson and Chambers moved the unit as well late in the day. Along with senior Robert Mitchell, Johnson and Chambers are benefiting from learning behind the astute Bucenell.
"Shane's in a position to take the next step," Tucker said. "London, because of Shane's work ethic, has long since come to the realization that if I don't prepare then I'm not gonna get the opportunities that my skillset says I should. We have good competition and feel like we've got four quarterbacks that are capable."
Barring rain, CSU will practice again on Thursday and Friday afternoon. Saturday's scrimmage is slated for 9 a.m.