Albany, N.Y. - Defenses typically dominate during the month of August's preseason football camp. The first intrasquad scrimmage for the University at Albany's Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) program was no exception to the rule on Saturday, Aug. 13.
"We were inconsistent and the offensive line had too many pass protection breakdowns," said UAlbany coach Bob Ford, whose team went against each other for 81 plays to conclude the first full week of practice. "The defense is always ahead because the offense takes longer to time up the plays. We have some good players on the defensive line and we came out of it pretty healthy."
Almost the entire 85-man roster got on the field as the team wore full pads for the just the second straight day. All five quarterbacks took snaps, including incumbent Buddy Leathley, who missed the entire spring after recovery from hand surgery. Reserves Will Fiacchi and Jake Meek, a pair of redshirt freshmen, each passed for more than 70 yards and looked relatively sharp after five practice days. Meek hooked up with receiver Lance Fanthorp on a 56-yard scoring pass for the scrimmage's lone touchdown.
However, it was the Great Dane defense that took center stage. UAlbany bottled up the rushing attack, except for two 20-plus yard runs, and recorded eight quarterback sacks.
"The whole defense is ahead of schedule," said senior defensive end Marc Wargo, who noted the offense has more calls and responsibilities. "We have a group of seniors and the experience. It's a tight family with a lot of spirit that's giving a 100 percent."
As UAlbany prepares for the season opener at Colgate, ranked No. 23 in one national poll, on the evening of Sept. 3, tomorrow represents time off the field to rest physically and mentally before two practice sessions on Monday to begin the second week.
Paw Prints: Jon Morgan, a projected starter at inside linebacker looks comfortable in his second year at the position ... Morgan and outside linebacker Christian Dorsey each had five tackles, including four unassisted ... safety Jake Ciccarello had an interception, while cornerback Randall Exantus blocked a field goal and broke up a pass ...cornerback Leon Saddler and Justinian Mason each made three solo tackles ... redshirt freshman Lance Fanthorp certainly caught the coaching staff's eyes with four receptions for 107 yards and one touchdown ... fullback Matt Cushing, once a midfielder on the UAlbany lacrosse team, was the top rusher with 30 yards ... Nick Hutcherson, a junior wide receiver, hauled in a 21-yard pass from quarterback Dan Di Lella during the second 10-play period.