Fans patiently awaiting their first taste of the MLFB were treated with a sneak peek Sunday night with the MLFB Jamboree featuring a scrimmage between the other MLFB teams. The Arkansas Attack got snaps on offense and defense vs. the Ohio Force and Alabama Airborne. All three quarterbacks on the roster got time at the helm of the offense. The Arkansas Attack offense had some very impressive moments during the scrimmage. However, they also had some moments of disorganization as you would anticipate with all of these teams having limited time together. Here’s what else we have learned from the Arkansas Attack training camp and scrimmages.
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First Series Players
Ja’rome Johnson, who last season was the QB at Bowie State, got the first opportunity to command the offense against the Ohio Force defense. Johnson looked very much in control as the signal caller for the Attack. In his time at quarterback, Johnson looked accurate in the passing game and showed some great awareness and confidence in the pocket. There were a handful of plays where instead of breaking the pocket and relying on his legs. Johnson climbed the pocket and kept his eyes downfield looking for receivers and completing passes to his check-down option.
The series also featured great running from Taylor Martin and Bruce Jordan-Swilling, who were both able to come up with chunk plays in the running game. Wide receiver Keith Pearson had what might have been the catch of the day with a one-handed grab on a short out that he then turned upfield and lowered his shoulder for more yards.
Second Series Players
The second quarterback to take snaps was Lukas O’Connor. O’Connor took his snaps against the Alabama Airborne defense, and despite what looked like trouble getting everyone aligned correctly, the offense was it’s most successful with O’Connor at quarterback. He led a quick scoring drive which included a check-down catch and run by tight end David Meza. The drive was capped off with a passing touchdown on a swing pass to running back Taylor Martin. Martin made one move to avoid a tackle and coasted into the end zone. Martin was the overall offensive standout for the Attack. He looked dangerous every time he touched the ball in the running game and exceeded as a receiver out of the backfield.
Third Series Players
Jalen Jones took the third series for the Arkansas Attack offense, also going against the Alabama Airborne defense. It was a very mixed bag for Jalen Jones against the Airborne. He showed some athleticism escaping the pocket and passing on the run to Damon Sheehy-Guiseppi after escaping pressure. However, Jones wasn’t without mistakes in his first attempt taking on a professional defense. He looked uneasy in the pocket at times. He was also caught holding on to the ball too long for a sack when the play was blown dead. His uneasiness in the pocket translated to one interception on an underthrown ball off of his back foot.
The Arkansas Attack defense had a strong outing. In their first defensive series against the Ohio Force, they had some issues early. They gave up a few chunk plays in the running game. However, they also did get a big pass breakup to end that series without giving up a score. In the second series vs. the Alabama Airborne, Defensive Coordinator Derrius Bell’s 4-3 base defense started getting pressure in the passing game and generated a great push against the run game.
This line, coached by Bernard Holsey looks like they could be a very strong unit this season. Michael Badejo, who has gotten a lot of steam on social media leading into the season, gave everyone a glimpse of just why that was the case. I’m crediting Badejo with one sack coming off the edge and reaching the Airborne quarterback. Which led to the play being blown dead. Also, Defensive tackle Sha’Haun Williams looked downright nimble, showing some great footwork to penetrate the offensive line and wrap up a ball carrier for a loss.
The Attack’s secondary didn’t have many opportunities to showcase themselves during the scrimmage. However, they seemed to bend but not break in the passing game. Every pass that was completed against them was underneath and they were very sure tacklers. Stay tuned for more news out of the Arkansas Attack training camp.