Red-shirt freshmen Tyler Mabry and K.J. Osborn capped impressive spring seasons Saturday by starring at the University at Buffalo’s Blue and White Scrimmage.
Mabry, a 6-foot-2, 250-pound tight end, caught a team-best three touchdown passes. He had four catches overall for 54 yards. Osborn, a 5-11, 195-pound wide receiver, had a team-high seven catches for 86 yards and two touchdowns.
Both players are from Ypsilanti, Mich., and moved to Bradenton, Fla., for their senior years of high school to attend the IMG Academy, a football powerhouse.
Both players were good in last week’s scrimmage, too.
“You could see it today, they’re playmakers,” said quarterback Grant Rohach.
“They just seemed to show up again,” said UB coach Lance Leipold. “It’s good to see red-shirt freshmen in those roles start to make some plays and gain confidence.”
TE rotation: Mabry has been the No. 3 TE this spring behind senior starter Mason Schreck and sophomore Kevin Rogers. UB also has powerful junior Glynn Molinich as an H-back or tight end.
“He’s really come along,” Leipold said of Mabry. “He’s a bigger body. He’s really worked hard at blocking and even on his special-teams play. Kevin Rogers was set back a little with an injury, and Tyler has taken advantage of it. I think we’re going to have four tight ends who are going to be able to rotate for our football team.”
“That’s my boy,” quarterback Tyree Jackson said of Mabry, who was on the receiving end of a 10-yard Jackson TD pass. “He’s a big target, so if I can just get it over the defenders, he’ll go up and make a play. That touchdown was all him.”
Offense wins: UB scored six TDs on eight red-zone possessions. The offense was stopped on all three “long-field” drives, which started at its own 3. The offense scored TDs on 4 of 8 drives that started either from its own 38 or the defense’s 48. There was not a lot of blitzing, by design, Leipold said.
“We kind of vanilla’d the defense a little bit and had a chance to work on a lot of red zone things,” Leipold said. “I was pleased with the way the offense was able to produce down there. On a day like this we were just going to try to line up on defense and get off blocks and make plays.”
Top defenders: Defensive end Brandon Crawford was outstanding in one-on-one drills and had a sack of Chris Merchant. Defensive end Torey Hendrick had an impressive sack of Tyree Jackson, blowing by left tackle Roubbens Joseph. Hendrick also had a third-down stop on Jackson. Other sacks came from Demone Harris and Jake Khoury. Defensive tackle Max Perisse caused the sack by Harris. . . . Defensive tackle Justin Brandon blew up a third-down run by Jackson. . . . Cornerback Cam Lewis had two pass break-ups. . . . Safety Ryan Williamson bit on a play that produced a 41-yard TD pass to Mabry. . . . Safety Jordan Collier forced a fumble by Emmanuel Reed and linebacker Brandon Berry recovered.
Towering Tyree: Jackson is listed as 6-5, 230 on the roster, and that's what he was as a true freshman last year. He sure looks bigger than 6-5 on the field. He confirmed he's now 6-6, 240.
"I grew another inch," Jackson said. "It’s hard to find clothes nowadays. I keep growing. So hopefully soon I stop."
Jackson still is only 18 years old. He doesn't turn 19 until November.
Sitting out: Key players held out of the scrimmage included: RBs Jordan Johnson and Johnathan Hawkins, G Brandon Manosalvas, WRs Marcus McGill and Collin Lisa and S Brandon Stanback.
Rushing stats: Zach Nicholas 16-56, Reed 13-30, Billy Myers 7-19.
Receiving stats: Osborn 7-86-2TD, Schreck 5-37, Mabry 4-54-3TD, Malcolm Robinson 3-97-2TD, Jamarl Eiland 3-44-1TD, Rogers 3-22-1TD, Reed 1-10, Nicholas 1-8, Molinich 1-7, Brandon Smiley 1-3, Jacob Martinez 1-3.
O-line: The starters were, left to right – Joseph, Tomas Jack-Kurdyla, James O’Hagan, Jacob Byron and Tyler O’Henly.
New unis: The next time fans see the Bulls the team will have new uniforms. Rohach is No. 19 but he wore No. 9 for the scrimmage because the QBs wore black, and No. 19 in black was not available. . . . It was a recruiting weekend for the Bulls. Many recruits and their families were on the sidelines.
Next up: The next time UB players hit the field will be for the start of training camp the first week of August. The season opener is at home against Albany on Sept. 2.