August 22, 1998
MIAMI – The University of Miami football team held its only scrimmageof the preseason at the Orange Bowl Saturday morning in conjunction withCanesfest.
The Hurricane offense totaled 30 points on three touchdowns and threefield goals in the one hour and forty-five minute 19-series scrimmage.The defense also stood its ground by holding the offense scoreless in 13of the 19 series.
“I thought the most positive thing of the entire scrimmage was the progressof the offense,” said head coach Butch Davis. “We started, to someextent, from scratch with the offensive line. We felt that when wewent into training camp we had some skilled players and those skilled playersbecame evident today. Almost every single one of them made a play.”
Freshman running back Najeh Davenport started the scoring early as hebolted 70 yards for a touchdown on the offense’ first possession.Davenport led all UM runners with 109 yards on eight carries with the onescore. Starting running back and Preseason All-BIG EAST selectionEdgerrin James did not participate as he was attending a funeral for aclose family friend.
The following offensive series resulted in an Andy Crosland field goalfrom 31 yards out. Crosland, who connected on all three field goalattempts, also nailed attempts from 42 and 48 yards.
Starting quarterback Scott Covington completed his first nine passesof the scrimmage, before going 9-of-12 for 76 yards and one interception.Covington connected with sophomore receiver Andre King on a 35-yard tossfor his longest completion of the day. King led all receivers withfour catches for 66 yards.
No. 2 quarterback Kenny Kelly threw the scrimmage’s final touchdown,a 53-yard deep pass to Daryl Jones, before finishing 7-of-13 for team-high102 yards. No. 3 passer Zachary Hart went 7-of-12 for 98 yards anda long of 40 yards on a pass to freshman James Scott.
“We found out today that Kenny Kelly is an outstanding quarterback,”said Davis. “He has certainly come in and gotten into a groove afterspending the summer playing baseball.”
UM receivers totaled 25 catches for 310 yards, while the running gameproduced 194 yards on 49 attempts and two touchdowns. There wereno fumbles recorded by the offense. Fullback Will McPartland scoredthe offense’ second touchdown on a four-yard scamper off a Hart hand-off.
“The protection was good and I thought this was clearly the best dayof protection by our offensive line,” added Davis.
Defensively, freshman defensive back James Lewis led all UM playerswith eight tackles. Safety Al Blades had seven tackles, includinga team-high five solo, while freshman defensive tackle William Joseph alsofinished with seven stops.
“Some of the guys we count on to make plays made some,” said Davis.“There were some tackles behind the line and pressure on the quarterbackwithout having to blitz. I was pleased with the scrimmage.”
Delvin Brown recorded the scrimmage’s lone interception, while defensiveend Quincy Hipps had the lone sack. Freshman linebacker Nick Setablocked a punt on special teams. Linemen Michael Lawson, MichaelBoireau and Matt Sweeney each had a tackle for loss.
The lone injury on the morning was to freshman offensive lineman SherkoHaji-Rasouli, who sprained his right knee and will have further evaluationin the next couple of days.
Off the field, Coach Davis announced that the following players wereawarded scholarships for the upcoming season: Jeff Popovich (DB), Pat DelVecchio (OL), Will McPartland (FB), Joaquin Gonzalez (OL), Zachart Hart(QB) and Sherko Haji-Rasouli (OL).