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Q&A with Rhode Island beat writer Bill Koch of the Providence Journal

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on September 3, 2015 at 4:23 pm Contact Paul: pmschwed@syr.edu | @pschweds Syracuse opens its season at home on Friday at 7 p.m. in the Carrier Dome against Rhode Island. Follow along with Syracuse-Rhode Island coverage here or on Twitter @DOSports.To learn more about the Rams, The Daily Orange spoke with Bill Koch, a Rhode Island beat writer for the Providence Journal.The Daily Orange: If Rhode Island were to keep it close with Syracuse, it would be because of what?Bill Koch: Their defense and forcing turnovers. They’re not a very good offensive team. They weren’t last year, they probably won’t be again this year. But their defense is fast, they’re physical, they’re aggressive and if Syracuse has a tough night on the offensive side of the ball, you could see Rhode Island win a low-scoring game like a 17-13, something like that. But I think that’s probably the only real chance they have.The D.O.: What does recently named starting quarterback Paul Mroz bring to the table?AdvertisementThis is placeholder textB.K.: I think the biggest thing for him, obviously he’s a winner. He played at a good junior college program last year. He’s a tough kid. You come out of Brockton, Mass., it’s a tough town, it’s on the southeastern side of the state … it’s just a very blue-collar place with very good athletics. It’s been that way for a long time. So if you come out of there, you’ve got a certain pedigree and I would expect him to have it. And I think that’s probably why he’s the starter to this point, because he’s a tough guy and he brings in a little bit of a presence into that huddle that they need that they didn’t really have last year.The D.O.: How important is junior linebacker Adam Parker’s role on the defense taking the reigns from recent graduate Andrew Bose?B.K.: It’s important just from the sense that he’s replacing a really good player. Andrew Bose is in camp with the Ravens. He’s one of the all-time leading tacklers at URI. Just a really, really good player, a guy that could have played at a higher level that probably went a little under recruited out of high school. Parker and (senior) Connor Caponegro are two guys still there at linebacker who have played a lot of football at URI. Two very experienced guys. It’s definitely going to be key to that defense and how they replace the guy who was really their leader last year in Bose.The D.O.: Rhode Island allowed over 230 rushing yards per game last season. Why was that and how might that change this season?B.K.: I think their offensive stats are more truthful than the defensive stats if you look at last season. Offensively they just weren’t very good and I think they put the defense in a lot of tough situations in terms of short field, they were on the field for a long time, there was a lot of time of possession. I think the rushing numbers are a little inflated because the other team had the ball 36, 37, 38 minutes and the defense would get worn down. When you’re ahead, you’re running the ball and I think there was a lot of that going on … They certainly did some things in terms of forcing turnovers that they wanted to do, but their offense just put them in such difficult situations so often so they never really had a chance. Commentslast_img

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