Dakota Derrick passed for 147 yards and two touchdowns in Furman’s annual purple-white spring football scrimmage held Saturday afternoon in Paladin Stadium.
Derrick, a 6-foot-4, 204-pound rising junior from Conway, S.C., completed 14-of-18 passes, including a pair of 15-yard scoring tosses to senior wide receiver Tyler Maples, to highlight the approximately 80-play, one hour and 45-minute scrimmage conducted under sunny, high wind conditions.
The only other score came on a 33-yard field goal by kicker Ray Early, who converted 11-of-12 field goals as a freshman in 2010.
Last year Derrick registered playing time in six games and started in two contests, passing for 196 yards and two touchdowns while also rushing 30 times for 217 yards and a pair of scores. His top performance in 2010 came in his first collegiate start, a 31-17 victory over Western Carolina, when he connected on 12-of-23 passes for 122 yards and two touchdowns, and rushed 12 times for 71 yards.
“Today we wanted to see if we could execute and play at a higher tempo, more like a game situation,” said new head coach Bruce Fowler, who assumed the reins of the Paladin football program in December. “Effort-wise, I was fairly pleased, but we’ll have to watch the tape to get a better idea how we did with our assignments and technique. More than anything else, today’s scrimmage was about schemes. The first half we ran the ball, and the second half we threw it. We mixed in some different pressure on defense and a variety of different coverages to see how we would handle it.”
Running back Jerodis Williams led all rushers with eight carries for 42 yards, and Hank McCloud, who will be a redshirt freshman this fall, ran 14 times for 38 yards.
Quarterback Chris Forcier, who suffered a season ending shoulder injury in Furman’s 33-19 loss to South Carolina last fall, completed 7-of-9 passes for 93 yards.
Maples paced a busy receiving corps with six catches for 75 yards, two of which went for scores. Tight end Colin Anderson also caught six passes for 63 yards, and Kevin Allman collected three aerials for 60 yards, including a scrimmage long 32-yard connection from Forcier.
All-Southern Conference defensive end Josh Lynn was credited with three of the six sacks. Defensive ends Shawn Boone and Aaron Riley had one takedown apiece, as did defensive tackle Tyreek Phillips. All told the defense registered 16 tackles for loss in the scrimmage.
“Rushing the passer is something we’re really emphasizing this spring, but we’ve got a long way to go,” added Fowler. Last year Furman notched a SoCon low nine sacks.
All-SoCon cornerback Ryan Steed had the only interception on the afternoon, gathering in an underthrown pass from Derrick. Steed also was credited with a caused fumble, stripping the ball from receiver Daniel McFadden at the end of a 20-yard catch a run.
The Paladins have three spring practices remaining.