SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — The defense usually is ahead of the offense during the early stages of Fall Camp.
On Saturday, Cal Poly's offense took some great strides forward as Jake Jeffrey threw three touchdown passes, ran for another and Khaleel Jenkins ran for one score and threw for another in the lone scrimmage of 26 preseason practice sessions Saturday morning inside Alex G. Spanos Stadium.
"Offensively, our Nos. 3 and 4 groups gave some really good looks for our defense," said ninth-year Mustang head coach Tim Walsh, "and the Show Team did a great job running the Colgate offense and helping our defense prepare for the opening game of the season."
Jenkins, No. 1 on the depth chart at quarterback, added a four-yard scoring run and connected with Koski on a 25-yard touchdown pass. Jenkins also produced a 30-yard run midway through the scrimmage.
"Jeffrey (pictured at left) is a great competitor," Walsh said of the Folsom High School graduate. "He never ran the option before he got here, but he's gotten himself into the battle for No. 2. He doesn't have great speed, but he's definitely got the competitive spirit and can definitely throw the ball, which is something we don't do much of."
"Mortensen and Dunu got some space outside, which means our blocking on the perimeter was real good today," said Walsh.
"Defensively, we came out slow today, but executed real well on third-down plays," Walsh added. "Aaron Johnson and Aaryn Bouzos did some really good things at the safety position. I need to watch some film before determining how well the defensive line played today.
"Overall, however, I was pleased with our defense and, in my nine years here, I thought we played as physically as we ever have for this time of year. There was some good physical contact on both sides of the ball, which can only allow us to get better and we need to do that."
"We've got to kick the ball more consistently and we can't put the ball on the ground on punt returns," Walsh noted. "Again, I am pleased overall, but we have two weeks to go to work on some things. We are further along than in the past."
Jenkins directed the first-string offense on a 65-yard scoring drive the first time it stepped onto the field. Long runs by Dunu and Mortensen set up the four-yard scoring run by Jenkins.
The last drive of the scrimmage featured the newcomers squaring off against each other. Left-handed sophomore Daniel Prieto (pictured at right), who redshirted at San Diego State in 2015 before playing one season at El Camino-Compton Center last fall, drove the rookies on offense 41 yards to the 14-yard line before an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty stalled the march.
Cal Poly opened Fall Camp on July 26 and has been practicing six times per week, taking Sundays off. Fall Camp concludes Friday and the players will rest for two days before beginning preparations a week from Monday for their Week Zero opener August 26 against Colgate.
Cal Poly returns 53 lettermen, including 13 starters (five on offense, eight on defense), from the 2016 squad which claimed its fourth NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision playoff berth, a fourth straight No. 1 ranking in team rushing during the regular season and another top-five finish in the 13-team Big Sky (the fourth in five years as a member of the conference).
The Mustangs are ranked No. 23 in both the media and coaches preseason polls.
Cal Poly and Colgate kick off the 2017 campaign two weeks from today at 4:05 p.m. inside Alex G. Spanos Stadium, with the non-conference game to be televised nationally by ESPNU.