Aug. 17, 2009
Bronx, N.Y. -
It's a credo in football that in order to wins games, it's imperative for the defense to force and recover turnovers. If that's the case, the Fordham University defense showed that they will give the Rams a chance to win this fall as the defense recovered five fumbles in the first intra-squad scrimmage of camp on Jack Coffey Field Monday night.
Besides the fumble recoveries, the defense also recorded two safeties and five sacks, numbers that should make defensive coordinator Patrick Moore pleased.
"It was a good first scrimmage," said Fordham head coach Tom Masella. "We still have a lot to work on, especially holding on to the ball on offense. You can't win if you keep putting the ball on the ground."
The night started out with short-yardage drills as the offense had third and three or third and four situations inside its own 30. The first string offense picked up first downs on the first two attempts, the first on a four-yard rush from Xavier Martin and the second on a five-yard gain from Jason Caldwell. After an incomplete John Skelton pass on the next play, Skelton hooked up with his brother, Stephen Skelton, to pick up eight yards and a first down on the next play.
The second offense and defense were up next, and the defense held on two plays, the first an illegal formation penalty on the offense and the second an incomplete Douglas Papy pass.
The third team offense had no luck either, failing to convert on two tries, the last ending on a Derrick Bell-Harris
The ball was then moved back to third and five or six situations with the first offense converting two of four opportunities, the first on a seven-yard Martin carry and the second an eight-yard completion from Skelton to Jason Caldwell.
The second offense picked up first downs on two of its five attempts, with one of the tries halted by the second defensive sack of the night.
Short-yardage conditions (third and one) followed with the first offense picking up a first down on two of three plays, while the second offense made one of two attempts with Frank Rizzo and Michael Hickman taking down Langston Lacroix in the backfield on the first play and Papy rushing for eight yards on the second.
The next set of drills saw the offense trapped deep in its own end. Martin picked up four yards on the first play from the two for the first offense before a fumbled snapped was recovered by Frank Rizzo on the six to end the series.
Lacroix led the second offense downfield on the next set of plays, picking up two on the first play and then breaking off a 30-yard run on the next.
The third offense had no luck as the defense ended the series quickly when Paul Barchitta and Andrew Milmore tackled the running back in the end zone for a safety. Two plays later with the first offense on the field, Andy Okonkwo took Darryl Whiting down in the end zone.
The offense then went into a two-minute drill, taking the ball on its own 35 with 45 seconds left and in search of a field goal. John Skelton led the offense to the defense's 41, completing two passes to Stephen Skelton, but was sacked by Jordan Bledsoe on the final play of the drive.
After the second offense picked up 23 yards on the first two plays of its series, the first a 13-yard Papy completion, the defense held firm as the drive stalled on the 47-yardline of the defense.
The third offense drove from its own 30 to the defense's 37 but Anthony Lubischer tackled Quasand Lewis in the backfield for a loss of three yards on third down and one.
The first offense then took over on its own 25 and appeared to have moved the ball out to midfield on a 15-yard Skelton-to-Skelton completion, but the play was called back on a holding penalty and two plays later, Clifton Stuckey recovered a fumble on the offense's 26.
The second offense was able to move out to midfield on the next series but came up short on a third down and nine call on the 46, one play after Thomas Lloyd sacked the quarterback back to the 46.
The first offense got on track on the next possession, moving 65 yards on seven plays with John Skelton connecting with Jason Weston on a 23-yard scoring strike. The drive was kept alive two plays earlier when Skelton hit Weston for a 19-yard gain on third down and nine from the 49.
Two series later, Hickman closed down another offensive series when he picked up a fumble on the second play of the drive on the offense's 37.
The first offense threatened to score on its next possession as Skelton brought the squad from its own 40 to the defense's 25 where it coughed up the ball with Nick Womack recovering the miscue. Womack would have brought it in for a score if not for an early whistle. Skelton completed four of five passes on the drive, two of those to David Moore for a total of 15 yards.
The third defense made short work on the ensuring series as a Lubischer sack on third down halted the action.
After the defense recorded its fifth fumble recovery of the night, the third offense closed out the scrimmage by driving 35 yards on four plays with James Avedesian taking the ball in from the eight for the score. The big play of the drive was a Lewis 27-yard gain on the second play of the series.
"It was a good night of give and take on both sides of the ball and that's the way it should be with a good football team," commented Masella.
The Rams will have their second scrimmage of camp on Saturday, August 22nd, at 2:00 p.m. on Jack Coffey Field.