KINGSTON, R.I. – Several individuals on both sides of the ball stood out during a strong back-and-forth first scrimmage of training camp for Rhode Island.
Head coach Jim Fleming was impressed with the attitude and physicality displayed on both sides of the ball Thursday morning. Running roughly 115 plays from scrimmage, the offense was able to produce nearly 650 total yards and five touchdowns. The defense came up with four interceptions and a fumble recovery, again displaying an ability to create turnovers.
"On offense, we were able to chunk the field and move the chains with much more consistency than we've seen in the past," Fleming said. "What we need to do more of is finish those drives for more touchdowns. Field goals are good too, but we want touchdowns.
"The flow of the offense is coming along. We've got a very interesting quarterback situation with four talented dudes. We still have some time to work with, but we will evaluate the tape closely and see where it goes from here."
Redshirt freshman Vito Priore passed for three touchdowns and two interceptions, while junior JaJuan Lawson was an impressive 13-of-16 with one touchdown and no picks.
On the defensive side, redshirt sophomore cornerback Momodou Mbye had a pair of interceptions, while sophomore Myles Ross had a pick-6 that was returned 34 yards for a score.
"I think we are starting to see a flavor in the secondary that has some confidence and ability to do the things we're looking for them to do. We saw some really good plays made in the back end," Fleming said. "There were big stops with take-aways on defense, and that has been our emphasis. We want to cure our turnover margin from last season. It was a problem for us. Obviously, the defense is putting up numbers in terms of take-aways in camp, which also means we need to eliminate some mistakes on offense."
Leading the way for the offense were redshirt junior Marven Beauvais and freshman wideout Isaiah Coulter. Beauvais – who was the Most Improved Player for the offense during spring camp – had a team-best 10 catches for 134 yards, while Coulter caught seven passes for 167 yards, three of which went for touchdowns.
"Marven has an incredible week of development," Fleming said. "If he can continue with the work he's putting in, that is a big body who can catch the rock. He has a huge catch radius to work with, and we are seeing major steps forward with him.
"Isaiah has very similar skills as Marven, but he might be a little faster. Those two guys are definite weapons, and if I was coming in having to defend the University of Rhode Island's offense, I would be really concerned with the size and the mismatches we can create. These guys look like giants to normal size corners, and they are starting to play like it too."
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
- Freshman Isaiah Coulter caught touchdown passes 65 yards, 21 yards and 5 yards. On the 60-yard score, he managed to keep his feet under him as he was being spun down by a defender. His knees never touched the ground, and Coulter stayed up and broke down the sideline for the long touchdown.
- Coulter also caught a 21-yard slant over the middle for a score, and a 5-yard touchdown on a jump ball in the back corner of the end zone.
- Redshirt junior Marven Beauvais caught 10 passes for 134 yards, including a long of 43 yards on a bomb down the sideline. Beauvais went up and wrestled the ball away from the defender.
- Freshman Ivory Frimpong caught eight passes for 65 yards, and classmate Matt Pires added three grabs for 30 yards.
- Redshirt freshman quarterback Vito Priore started out strong, leading a pair of touchdown drives in his first two possessions. Priore finished the day 10-of-21 for 199 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions.
- Junior JaJuan Lawson was 13-of-16 for 182 yards and one touchdown. Fellow junior Tyler Harris was 10-of-24 for 104 yards and two picks. All three quarterbacks spent time with the first and second units.
- Freshman Jahkari Grant excelled during 7-on-7 drills with the third offense, going 8-for-11 for 142 yards and two touchdowns. In limited full-squad work, Grant was 2-for-2 for 9 yards.
- Senior Harold Cooper rushed for 75 yards, including a 3-yard touchdown run. Freshman Messiah Horne (9 carries, 35 yards) averaged 3.9 yards per attempt.
- Sophomore Myles Ross – the team's Most Improved Player on defense during spring camp – continued to build on a very strong training camp. He stepped in front of a pass early in the scrimmage and took it down the sideline 34 yards for a touchdown. He finished with four tackles, one interception and one pass break up.
- Redshirt sophomore Momodou Mbye had two tackles, one tackle for loss and two interceptions.
- Junior safety D.J. Stewart had six tackles, one tackle for loss and one interception that he returned 22 yards.
- Redshirt senior safety Abdul Ibrahim returned a blocked field goal 66 yards for a touchdown. The block was courtesy of senior defensive back Isaiah Hill. Ibrahim later blocked a field goal of his own.
- Redshirt senior defensive tackle Mike Ezirike had two tackles, both of which came behind the line. He had one of three sacks for the defense.
- Senior defensive end Jose Duncan was active, recording six tackles. He led the defense with three tackles for loss.
- Redshirt freshman Andre Bibeault had four tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and a pass break up.
- Junior linebacker Miles Gardea led the team with 12 tackles. . Junior safety Nas Jones added seven.