Day One Photos
By Stone Freeman
KINGSTON, R.I. - "We're still in pajamas."
That's Jim Fleming's way of saying training camp has begun and evalutation is in the early stages. The Rhode Island football program began its 2018 season on the practice fields along West Alumni Avenue Wednesday afternoon.
The practice was the conclusion to a long first day back for the Rams. Their day began at 6:30 a.m. with conditioning tests and then a run through at 10 a.m. before hitting the grass for practice.
"You're looking at a lot of new bodies," Fleming said. "We are a physically good-looking team, but we have a long way to go. But, I am pleased with where is it right now. I am excited about the group."
With just 29 days separating the first day of camp and the first game of the season, another training camp brings familiar and new faces together with a fresh mindset about what the future holds. The Rams were picked to finish last in CAA Football this season, but where most would see doubt, Fleming and his squad see opportunity.
"The feeling every year is one of tremendous optimism," Fleming said. "There is a good feel. We have a good attitude and there is a belief in here. It's going to be a question of what we do day-to-day as we move toward that first game."
With a mantra of "3 More Feet," the team's attitude is rooted in leaving it all out on the field. After practice ended on Wednesday, redshirt senior quarterback Tyler Harris and sophomore wide out Ivory Frimpong were two of the last Rams on the field still running routes and getting timing down. They were among more than a dozen players who stayed late to work on their own, and they were reminded by Fleming as he walked off the field that its only Day One.
"It's a good problem when you have to chase them off the field," Fleming said.
- There were new plenty of new personnel on the field on Wednesday. With them came one well-known former Ram. Bob Griffin, the winningest head coach in program history, joined the team for practice. Griffin led the Rams to three Yankee Conference Championships including one in 1981 and back-to-back conference championships in 1984 and 1985. Fleming said it was great to have Griffin in attendance. "He's family," Fleming said. "We all as coaches share a common ground with this program. Coach Griffin made his mark on this University. He left a legacy that everybody since him has been chasing. Coach Griffin has earned a place in Rhode Island history."
- Some of the new faces Fleming was excited to see for the first time in Keaney Blue were junior linebacker Branyan Javier-Castillo and graduate transfer tackle Kadin Booker. Javier-Castillo is a junior college transfer from Lackawanna College in Scranton, Pa. Seeing that he led Lackawanna with nine sacks last season, it makes sense that Fleming would note Javier-Castillo's ability to move. Booker, who came in from Ball State, worked with the first-team offensive line at right tackle. He started eight games for Ball State last season and played in all 11 games for the Cardinals.
- There can be a different energy that comes with training camp. Between starters getting back into the grind, positions still being fought for or new student athletes fighting for recognition, the intensity is high. Among the highlights during the full-team drills were a pair of interceptions by the defense. Junior safety Brian Campbell and redshirt-freshman safety Henry Yianakopolos both secured INTs off of tipped passes.
- The Rams continue training camp on Thursday and expect to begin padded practices on Friday afternoon.