CHESTNUT HILL — During one live, 11-on-11 portion, quarterback Matt McDonald scored a touchdown and high-stepped over the goal line near the right pylon.
At the Fish Field House Saturday morning, the redshirt freshman from Newport Beach, Calif. had one of his best days, hitting receivers with accuracy and showing good mobility.
"Yeah, I felt really confident today, and we got a little more rhythm there toward the end," said McDonald, who is in a battle with EJ Perry for the backup job behind the injured Anthony Brown. "Everyone was moving great. Everyone was doing their job to push the ball down the field."
McDonald and Perry took every rep in the scrimmage, and each had their moments.
“Matt is highly accurate. Everybody has got unique skills," Addazio said. "Matt’s unique skill is he can anticipate throws. He doesn’t have to see them open, he anticipates them and then he’s very accurate. EJ has got a tremendous arm and he’s got great athleticism. He too is starting to see the field. That’s encouraging, but there is a learning curve to both of them and they’re still in that learning curve. And Anthony is doing great. Anthony looks phenomenal in seven-ons and all the scout drills. We’re going to start to merge him back in here little-by-little next week so he’ll start to get more and more of this to get ready for the opener.”
Still, after Saturday, the 6-foot-3, 215-pound McDonald feels he is coming into his own.
"I feel like I'm hitting my stride right now," McDonald said. "My rhythm is going really well. I'm starting to feel a little more comfortable. I feel like the whole offense as a whole came together. Had a good practice."
— During the short-yardage drills, running back/wide receiver Ben Glines, a 6-2, 220-pound sophomore, showed punched out a few nice runs.
“Ben has really good vision," Addazio said. "If you watch him run, he’s very efficient. With Ben it’s very efficient; usually it’s a subtle cut, pads down, vertical and he runs through that contact a little bit. Of course, AJ (Dillon) is that too.”
He relished the opportunity to go back to his high school roots at St. Xavier in Cincinnati.
"Playing running back in high school, a lot of stuff comes second nature," Glines said. "We're working hard in the backfield, in the running back room. All of us are getting after it every day. The whole running back room, all of us, are getting after it every day. Once we're down at the goal line, those are points for us. We'll take those points every time, so that's a necessity."
— Penalties were a problem, and they were the first thing Addazio addressed afterward.
“We had too many penalties out there today with the ones," he said. "The ones took 69 snaps today, which is about 10 shy of a game and we had 10 penalties out there. Last year we were number-two in the country with four (penalties per game). This is the first Saturday we’ve had the officials out here. We’ve got to come back in here and make more of an emphasis to clean up the silly penalties.
"Throughout the day, the offense came out in first-movement periods and couldn’t function because it was first-and-15 continually. Once they rectified that then they were able to move the ball well. There were a lot of great things that took place today, a lot of great individual efforts, but it was a great Saturday to learn that penalties will even things out in a hurry. This was great today that this showed up so you can address it and fix it.”
— The special teams were also a strength, with kicker Colton Lichtenburg and punter Grant Carlson each having strong days.