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Fast offensive pace giving UB QBs plenty of opportunities

Getting Tyree Jackson and Grant Rohach enough snaps in the competition for starting quarterback is no problem at all for the University at Buffalo football team.

Like numerous college coaches, UB coach Lance Leipold runs two offensive huddles simultaneously during 11-on-11 portions of the practice so that plays are run at a furious pace.

Once the whistle blows on one offensive play, the second huddle of 11 offensive players runs to the line of scrimmage and sets up. The defensive cast does not alternate every play. It stays on the field for three-play stretches. So the defenders have to hustle to get lined up.

In Monday morning’s two-hour practice, UB was running an offensive snap every 18 to 22 seconds.

“We’ve probably used it extensively the last nine years,” said Leipold, referring to his previous tenure at Wisconsin-Whitewater. “During the transition as guys are coming back to the huddle, you can get the next play set. The difference you lose a little bit is pure corrections and talking to guys during the session. But this time of the year you get that extra meeting time to do that. So you can correct in the classroom.”

The pace puts a strain on the defense’s conditioning and communication.

“They’re on for three and then they rest,” Leipold said. “They’ve got to be quick on checks. They’ve got to pursue the ball and get lined up. So it also helps to prepare for no-huddle. It helps give guys an opportunity for competition and depth. They’re not sitting there waiting. We hope it helps morale and the tempo of the whole practice.”

University at Buffalo player Mason Schreck makes a catch during practice on Sunday, Aug. 7, 2016. (Harry Scull Jr./Buffalo News)

Tight end Mason Schreck. (Harry Scull Jr./Buffalo News)

“In 10-minute period we want a minimum of 20 plays, and if we’re doing with the 20 plays a bit quicker than 10 minutes, we’ll move on,” Leipold said. “So we just say the reward for good pace is less time on the field.”

QB Watch: Jackson and Rohach both looked competent on Day Two of training camp. In 7-on-7 work, Jackson got off to a good start with a crisp, rhythm throw to tight end Kevin Rogers. He also had sharp timing connections to receivers Marcus McGill and K.J. Osborn. Rohach hit tight end Mason Schreck down the seam and also found Osborn with a good gainer over the middle. The 11-on-11 sessions were run heavy. Jackson took a QB keeper for a big gainer against the third-string defense. Jackson took advantage of a coverage bust to hit a wide-open Jamarl Eiland down the left sideline for a 50-yard TD. Rohach found Schreck again in stride over the deep middle and looked comfortable running zone read plays. Third-stringer Drew Anderson had a 50-yard completion down the sideline to receiver Anthony Johnson, who made a leaping grab over cornerback Cam Skipworth. Dominic Johnson, a 6-foot-6 freshman from Windsor, Ont., has shown pretty good accuracy the first two days.

University at Buffalo player Khaalil Hodge during practice on Sunday, Aug. 7, 2016. (Harry Scull Jr./Buffalo News)

Linebacker Khalil Hodge. (Harry Scull Jr./Buffalo News)

OL combinations: The current starters, left to right, are: Roubbens Joseph, Tomas Jack-Kurdyla, James O’Hagan, Brandon Manosalvas and Tyler O’Henly. The second and third units rotate a lot. Frequent combinations on the second OL have been, left to right: Evin Ksiezarczyk, Brad Rowland, Skylar Hartley or Trey Bowman, Connor Morehart and Albert McCoy or David Goldsby. Ksiezarczyk is a West Seneca East product.

Defensive gems: Safety Dev Lamour, a red-shirt freshman from Quebec who’s running with the starters, made the defensive play of the day by leaping for a sideline interception on a deep out from Jackson. Middle linebacker Khalil Hodge dropped into perfect position and picked off a Johnson throw over the middle. Boise Ross has had several pass breakups the first two days. Defensive tackle Justin Brandon had a would-be sack up the middle, and end Wesley Scott had a run-stuff in the backfield. Hargrove showed his coverage range with a diving breakup.

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