The University of Rhode Island men’s football practice continued this week with a regular practice on Monday and a live scrimmage on Wednesday and here are the takeaways from the week:
First Down: The quarterbacks as a whole didn’t look great. The reps were split equally in the scrimmage for the most part with redshirt sophomore Mack Lowrie receiving one more rep than freshman Jordan Vazzano and sophomore James Caparell. As a whole the quarterbacks were inaccurate and missed open throws. Lowrie struggled with his reads at times, but looked good running the ball. He also had an interception on a deep pass.
“I thought I threw the ball okay, but we need to get better and keep improving,” Lowrie said. “I think every group on offense needs to keep improving.”
The surprise of the practice, however, was that Vazzano, not Caparell, got the reps with the backups. Meanwhile Caparell ran with the third stringers. Vazzano looked decent on some passes, but held on to the ball too long on others. Caparell, however, did not have a good day as he looked very inaccurate, fumbling an exchange and throwing three interceptions.
Second Down: The offense as a whole had a lot of trouble generating much of anything all day. None of the drives for the offense resulted in touchdowns, and just one led to a field goal. The offense finally found the end zone when head coach Jim Fleming decided to move into red zone drills, and placed the ball at the 12-yard line to start. Once the red zone drills commenced, each quarterback led their unit into the end zone, although nothing came easy as all the scores were on third down.
Third Down: Senior Tim Wienclaw and freshman Nasir Jones can really have an impact on this defense. It appears Wienclaw and Jones will be the starting safety tandem and they have looked really good early on in practice. During the scrimmage the coaches mixed up the coverages, but it seemed like Wienclaw is the preferred free safety because of his range, smarts and ability to read the quarterback’s eyes. It seems Jones will be strong safety and will play in the box most of the time. Another note was it seemed as though Wienclaw is the safety more likely to blitz, with Jones staying in the box and the corners playing man to man coverage.
“Wienclaw is roaming around out there picking out balls,” Fleming said. “He is a guy that has had a nice career. He is critical to what we are all about. We are expecting big things”
Fourth Down: The special teams rebounded well from last week’s practices. Senior Dylan Smith seems to be the choice at kicker, while senior Colin McHugh is the choice at punter. There were no punts, but Smith made all but one PAT. The sole miss was blocked.
- “I think the defense was ahead of the offense,” Fleming said. “I was disappointed in our ability to run the ball. I think you give some credit to the defense on that. We have to eliminate turnovers on offense.”
- “I was disappointed in our quarterbacks,” Fleming said. “I will have to go look at the film, but I thought we had some open guys and some throws we missed.”
Extra Point: Injury Report
There were a couple minor injuries during the scrimmage as senior Joe Simon and sophomore Shawn Antoine II left the field during the practice. Simon returned, but Antoine stayed on the sidelines with what appeared to be a shoulder injury. Antoine looked to injure his shoulder. Sophomore Romeo Masuku did not practice.