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Fordham’s potent offense brings style of Rocky Prime to Bronx

NEW YORK (AP) — Jack Coffey Subject, capability 7,000 on the campus of Fordham College, is a great distance from the Southeastern Convention — actually and figuratively — proper up till the house workforce’s offense takes the sector.

The Rams have introduced a style of Rocky Prime to the Bronx.

The Jesuit Catholic faculty that produced Vince Lombardi and the Seven Blocks of Granite has essentially the most prolific offense in Division I soccer.

Fordham (9-2) enters its first-round NCAA Championship Subdivision playoff sport Saturday at New Hampshire averaging 612 yards per sport whereas operating principally the identical scheme as Tennessee, which leads the Bowl Subdivision at 540 yards per sport..

Fordham quarterback Tim DeMorat grew up in Orlando, Florida, rooting for Chris Leak and the Gators within the 2000s. However the connection to the ninth-ranked Volunteers led him to a brand new allegiance.

“I used to be positively rooting for Tennessee all season,” he mentioned.

The Rams of the Patriot League are on tempo to turn into solely the second FCS workforce to common greater than 600 yards per sport in a season. Mississippi Valley State set the file at 640 yards per sport with future Corridor of Famer Jerry Rice at vast receiver in 1984.

The FBS file is held by Houston, which used the run-and-shoot to place up 625 yards per sport in 1989.

The final Division I faculty to common 600 yards per sport over a season was Baylor, which did it twice (2013 and ’15) beneath coach Artwork Briles.

Tennessee’s offense — and now Fordham’s — is a model of what these Baylor groups ran. With receivers break up out nearly the whole width of the sector, defenses face a troublesome selection. Commit additional defenders to stopping the deep passes to these wideouts and the offense has room to run in the midst of the sector with good ratio of blockers to potential tacklers. Creep safeties and linebackers nearer to the road of scrimmage to cease the run, and it is bombs away towards one-on-one protection.

“That is the purpose of the entire whole factor is simply create extra space for our guys to make performs,” Fordham offensive coordinator Kevin Decker mentioned. “If we unfold them out, and their intent is to unfold out with us and depart a skinny field we will assault the field. In the event that they load the field, we will nonetheless run it, but in addition we will assault the outside.”

At Tennessee, the offense turned quarterback Hendon Hooker right into a Heisman Trophy contender earlier than he was injured final week and helped the resurgent Vols beat Alabama and LSU.

Vols coach Josh Heupel introduced the offense with him from Central Florida, the place he was head coach for 3 years. The Baylor connection at UCF was Jeff Lebby, the previous Briles assistant who was Heupel’s offensive coordinator for 2 seasons.

So how did the offense find yourself within the Bronx?

Enter David Weeks, a former tools supervisor at UCF who broke into teaching as a pupil assistant for Scott Frost in 2017. Weeks spent two years with Heupel and Lebby, working with quarterbacks earlier than he moved to New York and took what amounted to an internship with Fordham coach Joe Conlin in 2020. He’s now the Rams’ tight ends coach.

Decker, a former New Hampshire quarterback and disciple of UCLA coach Chip Kelly’s model of the unfold offense, started selecting Weeks’ mind about what UCF was doing beneath Heupel and Lebby.

At first Decker was sprinkling components of the Heupel offense into his system. A number of video games into the 2021 season, Decker determined to totally decide to the brand new system.

“If you happen to have a look at any actually good offense, it doesn’t matter what it’s, they’ve an id,” Decker mentioned.

The Rams’ id began to take form throughout a six-game successful streak in 2021. This season, they’ve taken off.

Fordham is averaging 50.2 factors per sport, second within the FCS behind Incarnate Phrase’s 52.9, and on tempo to be third-best in FCS historical past.

DeMorat’s 414.6 yards passing per sport place him third in FCS historical past behind Mississippi Valley State’s Willie Totten’s 455.7 in 1984 and Alcorn State’s Steve McNair’s 442.1 in 1994.

DeMorat’s 53 landing passes is tied for fourth most in a single season. Fordham has a 1,000-yard rusher in Trey Sneed and two 1,000-yard receivers in Fostis Kokosioulis and MJ Wright.

The Rams do not put the pedal to the steel on a regular basis. Nonetheless, their tempo and propensity to attain rapidly can put plenty of strain on their protection.

The consequence: Fordham has turn into America’s most fun faculty soccer workforce.

The Rams received consecutive video games early within the season 52-49 towards Monmouth and 48-45 towards Albany. They scored over 50 factors in each of their losses, together with towards Patriot League champion Holy Cross. If the Rams can beat New Hampshire on the highway it is going to arrange a rematch within the second spherical.

“It has been a heck of plenty of enjoyable,” Conlin mentioned. “It has been loopy.”


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