KEARNEY — Coach Josh Lynn was critical of University of Nebraska at Kearney’s passing game after the team’s first preseason scrimmage.
One week after Loper quarterbacks threw five interceptions, they showed improvement with their decision-making during the second preseason scrimmage Saturday afternoon at Foster Field.
The quarterbacks weren’t crisp throughout the entire scrimmage and still need to develop better consistency, but two passing touchdowns and zero interceptions were encouraging signs.
“Completions,” said Lynn on his evaluation of the passing game. “We had a couple of completions and an overall mixture of run and pass today. We have to set up the run with the pass and vice versa.”
In the passing game, redshirt senior starting quarterback Alex McGinnis was ineffective early. His timing was off at times with receivers, but he finished his scrimmage performance on a high note. He connected with tight end Thomas Tews on a swing pass for a 9-yard touchdown.
Redshirt freshman backup quarterback T.J. Davis also struggled in the first half of the scrimmage. He developed more confidence as the 2½-hour event moved along and displayed his elusiveness with his dual-threat ability.
Davis regularly escaped pressure in the pocket to scramble for yards, including on a 3-yard touchdown run. He nearly tossed a 40-yard touchdown reception to running back David Goodwin, but the officials determined Goodwin didn’t have possession of the ball before going out of bounds in the end zone.
Last season, Riley Harms suffered a knee injury, which has limited him in the first two weeks of preseason practice. The redshirt freshman quarterback practiced for the first time this week.
Harms showed encouraging signs. His best throw came when he fired a pass into double coverage to receiver Michael Koch for a touchdown. Harms threw the ball high, allowing the 6-foot-4 receiver to make a play on the ball.
In the running game, Goodwin plunged across the goal line for a 6-yard score. Garrett Meyer broke off a 40-yard run that featured him escaping numerous defensive players and breaking a tackle.
Overall, Lynn liked the competitive nature the offense and defense showed throughout the scrimmage.
“We have to get some little things cleaned up in regards to pre-snap penalties,” Lynn said. “We had some holding penalties that cut us back in drives. What I was extremely happy with is the No. 1 defense came out and stopped and the No. 1 offense went out there and moved the ball and put the ball in the end zone a couple of times.”
The Lopers’ first game is approaching rapidly. They travel to Joplin, Mo., to face Missouri Southern at 6 p.m. Sept. 5. The Lions are coming off a 1-10 season a year ago but will present uncertainty in Week 1.
They have a new coaching staff in place and an improved roster, including the addition of two former Division I quarterbacks. Dwayne Lawson spent time at Virginia Tech and Jacob Park previously was at Iowa State.
Lynn said preparation for Missouri Southern begins today.