OGDEN — The final Weber State spring scrimmage wasn't at all a masterpiece, but if it is any indication of the future, coach Ron McBride appears to have the program headed in a good direction.

Saturday's Purple and White game at Stewart Stadium marked the end of spring drills for the Wildcats. In spite of the high-scoring 51-41 victory by the offense, first-year coach Ron McBride is quick to remind fans that this team is not yet the finished product.

"Little by little, we're learning to play the game," McBride said. "But we're still a work in progress."

The score was high for a reason — players could score on every play.

The offense scored one point for a first down or for a play of 20 yards or more, three points for a field goal, six for a touchdown and one for a point after touchdown. Defensive players scored one point with a tackle for a loss, a pass deflection or a drive stop, two points for a sack and three for a turnover.

The offense displayed a solid balance of running and passing, highlighted by a few big plays. Running back Zach Hall completed his spring exhibition with another strong performance of 111 yards and two touchdowns, including a 56-yard run. Teammate Armon De'Launey added 17 carries for 75 yards. Hall considers himself to be the front runner for the starting running back job going into fall camp.

"All of us want to play, so we'll go out there and push each other. But, personally, I don't want to give up my starting spot. I'll die before I do that," Hall said. "Hopefully I can break some long runs during the season."

Quarterback Ian Pizzaro showed his progress by completing 12 of 17 passes for 190 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran six times for 23 yards.

Pizzaro felt he made a significant amount of progress. "Mentally, I think I improved 10 times from where I was last year. I got a lot smarter making my reads and progressions," Pizzaro said.

"I feel more comfortable and composed, knowing when to run and when to stay and pass. But there is still a lot of work to do."

With Pizzaro solidified as the starter, the Wildcats still need to determine a backup. Dustin Long appears to be the next best quarterback, but McBride said he isn't ready to make that decision yet.

Long finished the scrimmage 2-for-6 for 35 yards and one touchdown.

The receiving corps also appeared improved. The number of dropped passes was significantly reduced, and several players caught passes. Senior Wiley King caught two passes for 42 yards and one touchdown. Tight end B.A. Harrell caught three passes for 58 yards, including a 50-yard bomb for a score. Newcomers Terry Larsen had three catches for 18 yards, and sophomore Alex Romashko had a 33-yard TD catch.

Defensively, linemen Derek Johnson and linebacker Owen Koeppen each had eight total tackles to lead the team. Players were also in the backfield pressuring the quarterbacks for most of the day, with six recording sacks. The general consensus is the defense has made great progress this spring.

"The defense is vastly improved," said all-American Brady Fosmark, who watched the scrimmage from the sidelines with a hamstring injury.

"We had a few struggles and breakdowns that resulted in some big plays, but for the most part guys were playing really hard and are starting to grasp the system. We've made a lot of positive steps and we need to just keep building that into the summer."

The Wildcats will come together again in August for fall camp in preparation for the 2005 season opener on Sept. 3 against Western State (Colo.) in Stewart Stadium.