KINGSTON, R.I. – Tyler Harris threw for three touchdowns and JaJuan Lawson added one of his own as the Rhode Island passing game shined in the final scrimmage of training camp Monday.
Harris, Lawson and Vito Priore combined to competed more than 70 percent of their pass attempts as the offense had four passing touchdowns and no turnovers in what amounted to one half of live action. The three quarterbacks combined to go 31-of-44 for 381 yards as the offense displayed fluidity and big-play ability Monday.
"All three quarterbacks went out and did decent things," said head coach Jim Fleming. "We have to make a tough decision on who is going to be the starter, but they have all earned opportunities to play. Whether we can get that done in any one football game will be a challenge, but I was pleased with the offensive performance today."
Senior Harold Cooper was held out of much of the scrimmage, participating only in special teams work. The decision to keep the team's lead back out was for maintenance purposes to keep him as healthy as possible leading into the season. Despite his absence, the offense averaged more than 5 yards gained per play.
"All of the things we are doing are designed to give Cooper and all of our running backs chances to make big plays out of the backfield," Fleming said. "Establishing the ability to get the ball on the perimeter to some of our big receivers was the intent of our coaching staff, and they are achieving that.
"It looks like we are throwing the ball a lot, and we are. But when you break it all down, we have a lot of run-pass options. Depending on how the defense is set up for a particular play, we can either run the ball or throw it outside. That's a trend in terms of how offenses have been run in recent years."
Fleming acknowledged that the defense had some issues in coverage and could have made better plays on several of the passes. However, the defensive line did produce nine sacks on the day.
"Our success on defense starts up front," Fleming said. "That's the first line of defense. If we tighten up the coverage a little bit, we probably have the opportunity for a few more sacks."
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
- Junior quarterback Tyler Harris finished the scrimmage 10-of-15 for 175 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. He connected with sophomore Aaron Parker on a 35-yard strike that was the longest play of the day.
- Fellow junior JaJuan Lawson was 14-of-17 for 146 yards and one touchdown. His longest pass of the day was a 33 yarder to wide receiver Edward Lee.
- Redshirt freshman Vito Priore also made several plays, completing 7-of-12 attempts for 60 yards. He did not turn the ball over, and his long pass was a 31-yard completion to Isaiah Coulter.
- Junior Khayri Denny had a big day, catching six passes for 118 yards and two touchdowns.
- Sophomore Aaron Parker had four catches for 54 yards, while freshman Isaiah Coulter had three receptions for 56 yards and one touchdown. The touchdown was Coulter's fourth in two scrimmages.
- Freshman Ivory Frimpong, redshirt junior Marven Beauvais and freshman Matt Pires combined for seven catches for 72 yards. One of Beauvais' two receptions went for a touchdown.
- Nine different wide receivers caught at least one pass.
- Sophomore defensive linemen Brandon Ginnetti and L.B. Mack III combined for six tackles for loss, including five sacks. Ginnetti had three sacks, while Mack added two sacks and a third stop behind the line.
- Redshirt senior Mike Ezirike had three tackles, two sacks and 2.5 tackles for loss. In the two camp scrimmages, Ezirike had four sacks.
- Junior defensive end Tez Wilson, junior defensive tackle Monte Sinisi and freshmen defensive end Joe Morrissey each had one sack. Wilson had a pass break up, knocking down a pass at the line of scrimmage.
- Junior linebacker Justin Hogan had a game-high nine tackles.
- Sophomore safety Myles Ross and junior linebacker Miles Gardea each had six tackles.