By Deshawn Pouper

To kick off his second season as head coach of the Santa Monica College (SMC) football team, Kelly Ledwith led the Corsairs into a pre-season scrimmage against West Los Angeles Community College on Saturday, Aug. 24.

After struggling in past seasons, the Corsairs are looking to embrace a new start with hunger. SMC’s scrimmage against West L.A. had its ups and downs. The Corsairs were overpowered on both the offensive and defensive lines at times, became lost with coverages and experienced momentum killers.

The Corsairs weren’t able to keep pressure on West L.A.’s quarterbacks for the duration of the scrimmage. West L.A. moved the ball effectively against SMC’s defense. A lack of depth on the defensive side of the ball could become a problem for the Corsairs if they face injury problems at any point of the season.

With that being said, SMC’s performance in the scrimmage shouldn’t sound the alarms just yet. Saturday marked the Corsairs’ first action of the preseason and they showed some bright spots.

On the defensive side of the ball, SMC showed some ability to get after the quarterback. Early in the scrimmage, the Corsairs tallied three sacks. Two of those sacks occurred consecutively to end a West L.A. drive.

Another bright spot for SMC is their defensive backs’ capability to cover man-to-man and limit potential big plays down the field. Overall, the defense has room to improve, but has an entire season ahead to correct mistakes and clean things up.

The Corsairs won’t take the field for a regular season game for two more weeks, on Sept. 7 at Southwest College.

Offensively is where SMC needs to make its biggest improvements. The Corsairs had trouble moving the ball down the field consistently and effectively and possessed a run game that couldn’t get moving.

West L.A. sniffed out almost every run play and the quarterback had trouble completing passes to his receivers.

SMC did score a touchdown on an acrobatic catch to start the scrimmage off, but had minimal success moving the ball down the field for the rest of the game. It’ll be interesting to see what changes are made to the offense throughout the season.

The upcoming regular season spans 10 weeks and SMC has reason to be optimistic, but should also be playing with a sense of urgency. There is enough time for SMC to evaluate and self-scout between the end of August and their first regular season matchup with Southwest.

Expectations for SMC aren’t high this season, but there’s a sense that the 2019 Corsairs have the potential to change things around. While the scrimmage didn’t mark the best of starts for SMC, a long regular season with endless possibilities awaits.

This story was published as part of a partnership between the SMC Corsair student newspaper and the Santa Monica Daily Press

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