VALPARAISO | Depending on point of view, the annual Valparaiso football spring game featured plenty of reasons for optimism on both sides of the ball Saturday morning.
The offense recovered from four interceptions on the first five possessions to rattle off four consecutive touchdowns, the second of which came on a 65-yard touchdown pass from returning starter Eric Hoffman to Tanner Kuramata.
Jake Hutson caught a pair of touchdown passes, including a 45-yard screen pass from backup quarterback Ryan Gorski.
"The offense started slow and fell behind the defense, but then they came back," Valparaiso coach Dale Carlson said. "In the past when something bad happens, we struggle. I thought (Saturday) we did a good job of bouncing back. It shows that we're learning how to respond."
Brown Field was plagued by windy conditions, which hampered the quarterbacks. Once the offense got the early nerves out, Hoffman and his teammates started to roll.
"We all got some good reps in (Saturday)," Hoffman said. "We had some big momentum plays which got us going again. Things are coming easier and we've had a lot more big plays through the spring."
Sophomore linebacker Alex Green intercepted a pass from freshman quarterback Scott Staal on the second drive of the game and then fellow linebackers Carlos Hunter, Roberto Kelly and Ryan Mundy each added an interception which led to the defense winning the day.
"We forced seven turnovers through interceptions and fumbles and the linebackers had six of those," Green said. "We had a lot of enthusiasm on the field and that's something that we lost halfway through the year last season."
Saturday's scrimmage was the 15th and final practice of spring football and Carlson was in an upbeat mood as he left the field. The coaching staff will evaluate the film from all 15 practices to help set the depth chart for the beginning of fall training camp in August.
"Coaching the offense in the scrimmage, the turnovers weren't great, but as the head coach, I'm happy to see our guys finish plays," Carlson said. "We left a lot of turnovers on the field last year as a defense. Offensively, we've been protecting the ball pretty well in the spring. Now they need to do that every practice and every game."