Members of the University of Rhode Island football team and coaching staff watched Friday’s game between Harvard and Brown with interest.
Those two teams are next up on the Rams’ schedule. They’ll visit Harvard this Friday at 7 p.m., and host Brown Oct. 6 at Meade Stadium.
“It has some value to it because you’re able to watch both teams operate,” head coach Jim Fleming said. “If you’re studying offense, you obviously get to see Brown’s defense. So there’s some benefits there, but at the same time, it’s a reasonable distraction on everything you base your preparation on – which is winning this week and staying focused on the Harvard game.”
Harvard won the game with Brown 31-17 after building a three-touchdown lead in the first half and holding on from there.
“I don’t think you can read a whole bunch into it,” Fleming said of the matchup. “We had some kids who went up and watched the game and I had a first-hand look at it and that was helpful because, unfortunately, the Harvard people decided not to trade football films with us, so we’ve kind of been flying blind on this one, which is an unusual turn of events . . . It’s a little disappointing – I didn’t think people did business like that anymore.”
Teams generally exchange game films before they meet. From the in-person view and other information the URI coaching staff has gleaned, the Rams know they’re in for a challenge against Harvard, which is 2-0 and receiving votes in national polls.
URI won last year’s meeting at Meade Stadium.
“They’re a tough out,” Fleming said. “They always will be. They’ve gotten us twice, we’ve gotten them one time, and we want to try to even that back up.”
Bye week work
URI used its bye to keep its offense fine-tuned and to hone in on the defensive issues that cropped up in the shootout loss to Connecticut.
“We certainly did some self-study and looked at the things we want to improve,” Fleming said. “I think it comes down to the same focus we had coming off UConn. Offensively, we played quite well. Defensively, we’ve got to tighten some things up. We looked hard at ourselves to see if there were any tendencies, but, really, we just need to work hard on the fundamental part of the game.”
Despite not playing last week, the Rams moved up again in national polls. They went from No. 23 to No. 22 in the STATS FCS Top 25 and jumped from No. 23 to No. 20 in the AFCA FCS Coaches Poll.
It’s the third straight week that has seen URI climb in the polls, but the Rams aren’t caught up in it.
“It’s nice to see the standings. It’s nice to see the recognition,” Fleming said. “But it’s like I tell them each week – if you’re going to be a top 25 football team, every day on the practice field is what will determine your ability to stay there.”