Passing interest in OCC scrimmage

COSTA MESA — Much of the allure of an NFL preseason is the play of the quarterbacks.

Often, the story line calls for fans to get behind a backup they hope might eventually displace a starter. There is also the flat-out competition for the starting job that overtakes some NFL training camps and plays out before the fans in preseason games.

But if one was apt to read too much into the play of four Orange Coast College quarterbacks in the team's intrasquad football scrimmage on Saturday, Pirates Coach Mike Taylor might wish to quell such a notion.

"I think it's still pretty much the same," Taylor said of his rating of the passers after they took turns running the spread option offense with varying results Saturday. "I'd have to check the film, but all three of them did some good things and the fourth kid who played at the end is a greyshirt who is not even active."

Sophomores Cameron Biedgoly and Jon Newsom, both of whom started and produced last season, were among those trying to catch their coaches' eye. In addition, Wisconsin bounce-back Chase Knox was hoping to remain in the mix, while the aforementioned grayshirt, Jack Foster, a freshman from Hawaii, played like he may be ready if called upon.

Taylor said before the scrimmage that many starting assignments for the Sept. 7 opener at Moorpark College would be decided based on performances in the scrimmage.

If so, Biedgoly, who played in seven games and threw for 1,359 yards and 11 touchdowns as a freshman in 2012, may have a nervous holiday weekend.

Biedgoly completed four of 12 for 49 yards with no touchdowns Saturday.

Newsom, who was the third OCC signal caller to see the field Saturday, completed 10 of 13 passes for 128 yards and two touchdowns in the controlled format that allowed a sequence to keep progressing if that unit kept picking up first downs or scored a touchdown. Newsom, who threw for 1,271 yards and 13 TDs in nine games last season, also produced one 21-yard scramble.

Knox connected on nine of 13 passes for 86 yards on Saturday, while Foster completed four of eight for 32 yards and one touchdown Foster also rushed four times for 65 yards, including one 23-yard touchdown that prompted one teammate to call him Kaepernick — a flattering comparison to fleet-footed San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

Other standouts for an offense that did not have a turnover, included running back Lorenzo Williams, a freshman from Nashville whose three carries included a 52-yard burst. Williams, who started with the first offense on Saturday, also caught one pass for 25 yards.

Receiver Treydonte Hill, another freshman from Nashville, had three receptions for 78 yards, including a 57-yard scoring hookup with Newsom.

Receiver Stan Johnson, a sophomore bounce-back from Virginia, had five catches for 46 yards, while Richard Caseras, a freshman receiver out of Irvine, caught four passes for 46 yards.

The running game also included a noteworthy contribution from Johnny Hills, a freshman running back out of La Mirada, who carried for more than 50 yards with nearly 10 attempts.

"I think we showed we have some people who can run the ball," said Taylor, who presided over the scrimmage in place of a scheduled officiating crew that did not show up.

Defensively, sophomore end Josh Heidemann, a product of South Anchorage Alaska who spent last season at Saddleback College, showed he may be the premier player on a four-man front that is currently without any experienced returners (sophomore tackle Lear Schrader is sidelined with a knee injury).

The Pirates are coming off of a 3-7 campaign in 2012, in which they went 1-5 in the Southern Division. They are attempting to produce their first winning season since 2006 and only the fourth in Taylor's 15-year tenure at the helm.

After taking on Moorpark, OCC plays consecutive nonconference home games against Pasadena (Sept. 14) and Long Beach (Sept. 21).

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