The University at Buffalo defensive line made its presence felt throughout Tuesday’s training camp practice at UB Stadium.
UB D-linemen got penetration into the backfield on seven of the first 20 plays in the first 11-on-11 segment of the practice.
Junior defensive end Demone Harris, a 6-foot-4 starter from Buffalo’s Timon-St. Jude High, rushed quarterback Drew Anderson and tipped a pass, which middle linebacker Khalil Hodge caught on the deflection for an interception. Then sophomore defensive tackles Duke Hwang (Williamsville North) and Justin Brandon got pressures on back-to-back plays to force scrambles. Senior defensive tackle Remaine Douglas added a pressure, and Harris ended the segment with a would-be sack, storming up the middle on freshman QB Dominic Johnson.
The first-string D-line looked very good in run drills throughout the practice, too. (Of course, with a young group of offensive linemen mixing and matching combinations, one would expect the defensive line to start fast this summer.)
In the second 11-on-11 segment, penetration by sophomore end Charles Harris fouled up a play, senior end Brandon Crawford had a would-be sack of Anderson, Harris forced another hurry, Hwang had another hurry or sack and senior end Torey Hendrick beat freshman Kayode Awosika for a sack.
It was a good day for Hwang, who saw time on a line with Harris, Brandon and Myles Nicholas. Hwang, a former first-team All-Western New Yorker, got into six games on defense last year, playing 49 snaps.
QB Watch: The two big pass plays of the day both went to senior wideout Malcolm Robinson. Grant Rohach hit him with a 50-yard TD in perfect stride on a post pattern in 7-on-7 work. Rohach pumped his fist when the ball arrived. It was a pretty play. Robinson got behind Brandon Williams. In the last 11-on-11 segment, Tyree Jackson showed good touch by lofting a 50-yard pass over the deep middle to Robinson, who got behind Roy Baker. Jackson made a good throw on the move to K.J. Osborn, who was his second read. Two plays later Jackson was just a tad behind Robinson on a roll to the right. Osborn, a red-shirt freshman from Michigan who finished his high school career in Florida, had a good spring and has been noticeable the first three days. Jackson hit Marcus McGill on an intermediate cross. Rohach also had the second-best connection of the day, with a sideline throw on a corner route to Jamarl Eiland, who made a tough catch despite good coverage.
Shutdown: Senior Boise Ross is off to a good start. He had a breakup on a deep sideline pass, going stride for stride with junior receiver Chris Spell and swatting away the throw from Jackson.
Passing the eyeball test: Freshman tight end Zac Lefebvre wears No. 89, which star tight end Matt Weiser gave up upon graduation after last season. Lefebvre has an impressive frame similar to that of Weiser. Lefebvre is 6-6 and 245 pounds. He’s from Victor, just east of Rochester. Sophomore tight end Andrew Gray, the transfer from Maryland, looks bigger than his listed 6-2, 230. He’s sitting out this year.
Defensive units: Players rotate in and out of second, third and fourth teams a lot. Here was one second-team back-seven alignment -- LB: Brandon Berry, Jarrett Franklin, Jordan Collier; CB: Brandon Williams, Cameron Skipowrth; S: Andrews Dadeboe, Tim Roberts.
Another back-seven included – LB: Jake Ames (Williamsville North), Caleb Wilson, Nick Ames (Williamsville North); CB: Tatum Slack, Roy Baker; S: Jeremiah Dadeboe, Craig Hardgers. Hardgers had one INT off a deflection and almost had a second.
Full pads: Wednesday morning’s practice will be the first in full pads. Practices are closed to the public.