BUFFALO, NY – The University at Buffalo football team held its second full-scale scrimmage on Saturday with a focus on situational elements with both the offense and defense making their presence felt.
Early in the scrimmage both the offense and defense were put in stressful situations. The offense converted several goal line and red zone opportunities into touchdowns before the defense stiffened and made a pair of stops on third down inside the 10-yard line. The offense was also forced to start a few drives inside their five-yard line, which led to a pair of punts and one nice third down conversion.
"One of the things we wanted to see today was a number of different scenarios for our kids to compete in that mirrored game-like situations," said first-year head coach Jeff Quinn. "We saw some good things from both sides of the ball, we saw no issues with the special teams when they were activated today, so I think we got better as a football team."
After allowing a few scores early in the scrimmage in red zone situations – one each by redshirt freshmen receivers Alex Neutz and Fred Lee – the UB defense stepped up and forced several turnovers, including an interception in the end zone by redshirt freshmen Carlos Lammons.
"We saw the offense capitalize early in some of those scoring opportunities," said Quinn, "but it was good to see the defense also make several stops, including a few on short-yardage situations."
The scrimmage saw every member of the UB team get significant action on the field with all three of the UB freshmen quarterbacks – Alex Zordich, Rudy Johnson and Tyler Warden – getting an opportunity to run a few series.
Late in the scrimmage, the Bulls also ran several two-minutes drills in different scenarios: game tied, or leading or trailing by a score.
"Everything comes down to whether you are up or down in the game, trying to get an understanding of how timeouts are a factor in the game and proper use of time management," said Quinn. "We wanted to make sure they were locked in mentally so we had no errors, no substitution errors, things like that."
Overall Quinn was happy with how his team responded to being put in many different and difficult scenarios in preparation for the season opener on Thursday, September 2 versus Rhode Island at UB Stadium. "It was a big quiz today," said Quinn. "We had UB football family day today, it was a great turnout, and the kids have done a great job leading up to this moment. We have made a lot of progress as a football team. I am anticipating this team to play a great game against Rhode Island and these quizzes we are going through now are for the big test that we are trying to measure them against which is opening night."
The Bulls will practice four more times this week before officially breaking camp. Sunday is an off day for the players, with the team meeting their fans at Darien Lake Theme Park tomorrow from 1-6 pm.
"Tomorrow we'll get back and watch the film, correct some gross errors – and, fortunately, there weren't a lot of them – but there are some things we have to tighten down before we play against Rhode Island. We'll have four more practices next week, including one under the lights, and before we know it we will be in game week."
Season and individual tickets for Bulls football can be purchased by calling 1-877-UB-THERE or by going online at www.buffalobulls.com.