KINGSTON, R.I. – As far as scrimmages go, Saturday went as well as head coach Jim Fleming could have hoped from his football team.
After a somewhat sloppy opening scrimmage last week, the Rams were sharp on both sides of the ball during the second and final scrimmage. There were big plays by the offense (eight touchdown passes) and opportunistic moments for the defense (2 interceptions, 1 fumble recovery). The team also had a much cleaner performance, committing just seven penalties, compared to the 15-plus whistled the last time out.
"I thought we looked like a football team today. It was disciplined, it was clean and it was tight," Fleming said. "Today was everything I wanted from the scrimmage. I wanted to walk out here and see the offense make plays with the defenders right on it.
"The rhythm of our offense was evident. We ran it, we threw it. There is some stuff to clean up on both sides, but we saw good battles today."
Each of the three quarterbacks who saw action threw for at least two touchdowns. JaJuan Lawson (20-31-1, 201 yards, 3 touchdowns), Vito Priore (5-12-0, 159 yards, 2 touchdowns) and Tyler Harris (18-28-1, 152 yards, 2 touchdowns) all showed command of the offense, particularly during the two-minute drills.
"I'm hoping we can stay healthy all the way through the year at the position, but it gives you comfort when you feel you have three guys who can go in the game and help you win," Fleming said. "(Redshirt freshman) Jahkari Grant is a very good quarterback waiting in the wings as well. There is going to have to be some management of disappointment, but the challenge for the backups is to be ready at any time. I believe all of those guys will do that."
With three more practices plus the team photo day remaining in training camp, Fleming and his coaching staff will set their focus on Delaware. The progress made throughout camp has the team in a position to spend the next 11 days prepping for the season opener against the No. 15/16 Blue Hens on Thursday, Aug. 30.
"We have guys here who are ready to go out there and compete; guys who have themselves ready and in good positions," Fleming said. "They are capable, they know what they are doing and they are coached well. There is a sense of team that we haven't really captured up to this point in the last four-plus years. When we go out against Delaware, it's going to be a matter of executing at a high level, and when you have the chance, make the plays."
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
- Seven different players caught touchdown passes, and three players topped 100 yards receiving.
- Senior Khayri Denny had eight catches for 104 yards and two touchdowns.
- Junior Aaron Parker caught six balls for 114 yards, including a 65-yard catch and run for a touchdown.
- Junior Ahmere Dorsey had four catches for 102 yards and a touchdown. The touchdown was a 65-yard catch on which he broke multiple tackles before breaking down the right sideline for the score.
- Sophomore Ivory Frimpong had six catches for 48 yards and a touchdown.
- Redshirt senior Marven Beauvais had two catches, including a 9-yard touchdown grab. Redshirt freshman Ed Lee had two catches, including a 16-yard touchdown grab.
- Sophomore Prince Asiedu-Johnson had an 11-yard touchdown catch.
- Redshirt junior Zoe Bryant, Jr. again saw the bulk of the first-team snaps in the backfield, carrying six times for 44 yards, an average of 7.3 yards per carry.
- Asiedu-Johnson had 37 rushing yards on three attempts. The bulk of his yards came on a 29-yard scamper.
- During the two-minute drills, each of the three quarterbacks led scoring drives. Vito Priore connected on back-to-back 65-yard strikes, first connecting with Dorsey, then hitting Parker in stride, both for touchdowns.
- The offensive line allowed just two sacks.
- Freshman cornerback Cayvian Holmes had seven tackles, one tackle for loss, three pass break ups and one interception. The interception halted a red zone appearance for the offense.
- The three starting linebackers – Nas Jones, Justin Hogan and Branyan Javier-Castillo – combined for 19 tackles, all finishing among the top six on the team for the day.
- Jones had a team-high nine tackles plus one pass break up.
- Hogan had four tackles, including one sack.
- Javier-Castillo had six tackles.
- Redshirt junior safety Momodou Mbye had five tackles plus one interception.
- Junior defensive end Keith Wells had a fumble recovery.
- Redshirt freshman Emil La Marca and redshirt sophomore Andre Bibeault combined for a sack.