With the season opener less than two weeks away, the Howard University football team is in fine-tuning mode and on Aug. 17, interim head coach Ray Petty came away pleased following a full intra-squad scrimmage.
“I thought that overall we did well in all three phases of the game,” said Petty, in his first season as interim head coach. “On special teams, we got some good efforts including a 51-yard field goal from John Fleck. On offense, I thought Greg McGhee was especially sharp. The offensive line was an area of concern for us coming into the season because of inexperience, but I thought that the young guys did a good job out there today and showed improvement.”
On defense, Petty said he was pleased with the unit’s depth at several positions.
“Our defensive line and the secondary are where we have the most depth,” said Petty. “That’s going to be a strong point for us. We will be able to rotate people and keep them fresh. That is something we lacked last season.”
As for individuals who stood out, Petty says he was especially pleased with some of the newcomers, whom he expects to make an impact.??
“On the offensive line, Toree Boyd looked very good out there,” Petty said of the 6-foot, 4-inch, 290-pound true freshman guard from Miami, Fla. “He is going to start.”
The Bison played without the services of running backs Aquanius Freeman and William Parker, who have been out with minor injuries. Meanwhile, freshman Anthony Philyaw, a 6-foot, 1-inch, 210-pound native of Los Angeles, Calif. and Terrance Tusan, a 5-foot, 6-inch, 150-pound red-shirt sophomore from Dallas, Texas, showed well in the scrimmage.
“Philyaw is out there competing and both he and Tusan showed that they are prepared to help us when called on,” said Petty.
On the defensive side of the ball, Petty singled out freshman defensive end Marquese Blanchard and sophomore linebacker Khari Brown. Blanchard is a 6-foot, 3-inch, 245-pound native of Miami, Fla. while Brown is 6-foot, 2-inch, 240-pound linebacker who transferred from the University of Buffalo.?
The Bison open the season on Aug. 31 against Eastern Michigan University in Yipsilati, Mich.