The first offense and first defense “had a physical advantage, “ Lamb pointed out. “Our offense moved the ball pretty well against [the scout] unit and our defense stopped that unit as well, but we had way too many mistakes.”
Lamb also pointed out that time is getting short to work on any problem areas.
“With the number of practices we have remaining until game one we’ve got a lot of things to address,” he said. “We’ve got to do a better job of coaching and we’ve got to do a better job of learning.”
Lamb noted that it isn’t the physical mistakes that concern him, but the mental mistakes.
“Physical mistakes are going to happen all season, they’re part of the game. We can cut down on the number of mental mistakes,” he said.
Although he was concerned with the mistakes Lamb did see things he was happy with, however. Quarterback Aaron Cantu completed 11-of-12 pass attempts for 151 yards and two touchdowns, and running back Malik Brown had what Lamb called “his best practice of the fall,” carrying nine times for 46 yards.
Cantu got the rhythm going with his top receivers as well, connecting with Easton Pedersen three times for 45 yards, with Griff McNabb two times for 40 yards and with Fatu Moala twice for 39 yards, including a 24-yard touchdown pass where Moala used a burst of speed to slip a defender before sprinting into the end zone. Cantu’s other TD pass was a 23-yard throw into the back of the end zone to Anthony Norris.
“I’ve been pleased with Aaron Cantu’s play all the way through spring, all the way through fall camp,” Lamb noted. “He’s done a terrific job. He’s a great leader, he’s got great charisma and I think the team is definitely sold that he can be an efficient passer and a winning passer for us.”
Cantu also lost a touchdown pass – a 48-yard screen to tailback Raysean Martin that went the distance – because of a holding penalty away from the play.
The first Thunderbird defense was led by a trio of players with four tackles, linebackers Matt Holley and Zak Browning and cornerback LeShaun Sims, while end James Cowser had two tackles, one sack and one for a loss on a running play, and tackle Robert Torgerson had the only interception of the day. End Andrew Eide also had a sack while Myles Carelock led all tacklers with five stops and Anthony Fagans also notched four tackles. Among their four tackles both Browning and Sims had a tackle for loss as well.
Special teams play was good as well, with Colton Cook connecting on 3-of-3 field goal attempts, from 45, 36 and 50 yards. The 50-yarder would be his career-long if it came in an official game. Kickoff return specialist Josh Smith also made the most of his lone return opportunity, taking the opening kickoff out of the end zone to the 33 yard line.