UB Game Day: Five Things to Watch vs. Albany
Kickoff: 7 p.m. Friday at UB Stadium.
Radio 1520 AM. TV: ESPN3.
1. All eyes on QBs. Graduate student Grant Rohach gets the start in the opener, but really the competition from training camp continues. Rohach, the Iowa State transfer, has the experience to run the offense efficiently. He runs very well, and he has showed good accuracy in practice. But everybody knows red-shirt freshman Tyree Jackson eventually will take over. Should it happen soon? Or maybe not until the start of the Mid-American Conference season? (UB’s MAC opener is home against Kent State on Oct. 8.) Who will look better to start out?
2. Young O-line debuts. It’s the biggest worry spot on the team. UB has graduated a ton of talent the past two years on the offensive line. How quickly can the front five mesh? Albany has an undersized defensive front, which goes 230-262-273-238. UB should open some holes in the run game. But those light defensive ends (No. 9 Malachi Hoskins and No. 81 Brian Dolce) could create pressure if UB gets in bad down-and-distance situations.
UB coach Lance Leipold on the O-line: “To say work in progress, I think it always is when you have some new people. David Goldsby will be starting at the right guard spot. Brandon Manosalvas has moved from right to left. That was done about a week ago, so there’s still some newness in that group gelling together. David is very athletic. But he’s never played guard before.”
What does Leipold want to see from the OL? “Taking the necessary steps to improve each week and becoming a more physical unit in establishing that run game that we need and being consistent with it as we go along.”
3. Young skill players. How ready for prime time are some of UB’s young skill players? Keep an eye on RB Johnathan Hawkins (24), RB Emmanuel Reed (29), WR K.J. Osborn (8) and TE Tyler Mabry (81). Mabry, in particular, had a sensational summer.
4. DL Depth. You’ll need a program to keep up with all of the defensive linemen UB throws on the field. Two of many to watch are graduate school transfers – No. 99 Remaine Douglas from Louisiana-Lafayette and No. 50 Joe Keels from Nebraska.
5. Three scoops of vanilla. We’re not expecting UB to get too fancy with its playbook. Significantly new wrinkles probably would be better off saved for Nevada in two weeks.