Aug. 8, 2011
Bronx, N.Y. -
After Mother Nature interrupted the first night of practice with a torrential downpour on Sunday, she was much kinder to the 2011 Fordham football Rams tonight as they took part in the in their second practice of the year tonight under the lights on Jack Coffey Field.
The players reported on Sunday and, after taking care of some administrative tasks, had unit meetings and then the field for their first of five NCAA required acclimation days on Sunday night. The players are allowed to wear only helmets for the first three days of acclimation before donning shoulder pads for the fourth day and full pads for day five.
After the first five day, the team can then have its first double session of practice. The Rams will have their first two-a-days on Friday. However, a team can not have consecutive days of two-a-days.
Head coach Tom Masella was excited to get his young team, with almost 50 freshmen and sophomores, on the field as there are quite a few positions with questions.
"We have lots of positions that are open with lots of competition for them," said Masella. "Its good for the young guys to come in and get lots of reps so early in practice as it will only benefit us down the line."
The biggest question for the Rams is who will start at quarterback. The two leading contenders are junior Ryan Higgins, show started the last four games of 2010 after starter Blake Wayne went down with an injury at Yale, and sophomore Griffin Murphy, who missed all of his freshman season with an injury. Higgins, who led the Rams to wins in each of his first three starts, completed 59 of 105 passes (56.2%) for 665 yards and four touchdowns.
"We're still going back and forth at quarterback between Ryan Higgins and Griffin Murphy," said Masella. "Both have strength and weaknesses but the bottom line is that both have to get better."
Besides quarterback, the Rams are looking to replace their top three receivers from 2010. But the squad does have some talent returning in the form of junior Nick Talbert, who caught 19 passes for 175 yards while red-shirt senior Aaron Mays also gained experience last year with four receptions for 53 yards.
The Rams also have holes to fill in the defensive secondary, which lost three starters to graduation but return one starter along with senior Jason Weston, who missed almost the entire 2010 season due to an injury suffered in the first game of the year.
The linebacking unit also took a big hit with the graduation of three players who combined for 158 tackles last year, but the Rams return junior Michael Martin along with senior Andre Delaire, who missed all of last year with an injury. Martin was third on last year's team with 69 total tackles, 40 solo, and he intercepted a pass and broke up three others while Delaire was slated to start last year before the injury.
The freshmen and sophomores, Fordham's first two scholarship recruiting classes since 1954, will have a big role sin filling some of the gaps left by graduation.
Throughout summer camp, return to Fordhamsports.com for a position-by-position breakdown of the 2011 Rams.
The Rams will continue practice through the end of the month before opening the 2011 season on Thursday, September, 1st, as they travel tot East Hartford, Conn., to face the University of Connecticut on Rentschler Field at 7:30 p.m. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN3.com.
Fordham then opens its 2011 home season on Saturday, September 17th, as they host the Columbia University Lions in the annual Liberty Cup game on Jack Coffey Field at 1:00 p.m.
Single game and season tickets can be purchased by clicking here, in person at the Fordham Ticket Office in the Rose Hill Gym or by phone at 718-817-4759.