Following last week’s initial intra-squad scrimmage, the first week of football action for Howard University’s football team, head coach Gary Harrell expressed his displeasure with some of the mistakes and lack of discipline with the overall offense and especially with the offensive line. He said that the mission in practice this week would be “cleaning up” some of the unit’s transgressions.

Harrell indicated however that he had accomplished his mission as the offense showed marked improvement in those areas of concern during their second scrimmage played on Aug. 18.

“We are big on discipline and fundamentals and that is what we worked on all week,” said Harrell at the start of his second year at the helm. “I was pleased with the effort today. We had less penalties and we executed better on offense.”

After eight penalties against the offense last week that stymied drives, there were only two called on Saturday and this despite playing without starting tackles, All-MEAC selection Cory Gwinner and David Morris, who both sat out the second scrimmage with minor injuries. The line was nevertheless able to provide running room for a bevy of quality running backs.

Sophomore Aquanius Freeman, who sat out last week, showed why he is rapidly becoming a force to be reckoned with. On the second possession, Freeman stung the Howard defense with an 80-yard run.

That was just a sign of things to come for the running game. Jarren Brown, Andra Williams, Charles Brice, William Parker and Terry Tusan, all displayed their ability at running back.

Tusan, a red-shirt freshman, had his second straight impressive outing with showing lightning bolt speed and the ability to score in the red zone.

“It’s no secret that the running back position is the deepest on this team,” said Harrell. “We intend to take advantage of that depth and talent.”

Another bright spot on the day was the play of tight end Kevin Johnson, who grabbed three passes and showed ability at the position that has lacked production since the days of David Sierra, a former teammate of Harrell.

“He is somewhat inconsistent at times but there is no question of his skills and ability that can add something to this football team” said Harrell.

Harrell says that the coming week will continue to improve on the fundamentals as they prepare for the season opener Sept. 1 against Morehouse College in the AT&T Nation’s Football Classic at RFK Stadium.

“If we don’t make mistakes and execute,” Harrell said, “we will have a chance to win the game.”

Ed Hill Jr.

Special to the AFRO