The University of Rhode Island men’s football practice once again had their practice on Wednesday. This week had less physicality than in previous weeks as the team prepares for the Blue against White annual scrimmage next Saturday, April 25, at 10 a.m. in Meade Stadium. The scrimmage will be in full pads with full contact as the team gets a live look in.
With that being said, here are some takeaways from practice:
First Down: This specifically was a good day for quarterbacks and receivers to get some good reps in with timing and routes. The quarterbacks looked pretty good for the most part as sophomore Mack Lowrie, freshman Jordan Vazzano and sophomore James Caparell all got solid reps in while completing their fair share of passes.
The one area where all three quarterbacks struggled, however, was throwing the short ball as when the running backs practiced coming out of the backfield, there were very few completions from poor throws, bad footwork and some dropped passes.
One note worth mentioning was head coach Jim Fleming again spent a portion of the practice working with all the quarterbacks and trying to improve their mechanics and mobility inside the pocket.
Second Down: The running backs had a pretty strong day as well, as aside from the short passing drills with the quarterbacks, they showed good route running and good depth at the position. They also showed good vision hitting the hole hard and with authority.
The most impressive back on the day was sophomore Harold Cooper, who looks primed to handle the majority of the work. Cooper showed the best hands of the bunch and looked to be at a different speed than other backs, as he looks fully recovered from an ankle problem last season.
“I feel healthy and the quickest I have every felt in my life,” Cooper said. “I am confident all of our backs can replace Lyle [McCombs]. I think our biggest strength is being able to run in between the tackles, those are where the yards are.”
Third Down: A nice one-handed catch by senior Ross Kim on a deep route toward the sidelines proved to be one of the day’s best highlights. Kim was able to snag the ball with one hand and get both feet inbounds.
Fourth Down: At the end of the practice the coaches had each of the first-, second- and third-team offenses and defenses run plays against each other from the 5-yard line. The offense was very successful running the ball scoring on the same play the first two plays, with the offense running power to the right side. The hole opened was enormous and sophomore T.J. Anderson was untouched both times.
The offense then scored on a run up the middle the third time, before being stuffed on the fourth attempt. However, they rebounded by scoring on the next two tries, giving them scores on five of six tries.
- “I thought our receivers dropped too many balls,” Fleming said. “Our guys need to catch the balls that are there for them.”
- “I think the screen game will be huge for us,” Fleming said. “It is where some explosive plays can be made.”
- “I think the biggest thing we are looking for in the scrimmage is balance,” Fleming said. “We need balance on both offense and defense. We want to limit big plays on defense and control the ball with the run game on offense to be able to win.”
Extra Point: Injury
There was one notable problem in practice as sophomore wide receiver Ricky Bailey had to leave practice with an injury. The injury happened on a non-contact play and looked to be his knee as he was helped to the sidelines with trainers. He did not return to practice.