Coach Moorhead Talks Football 2012



The quarterback competition is heated, with all competitors faring well so far in camp. (Courtesy of Fordham Sports)


The Fordham Rams enter the football season making progress and showing of promise. In their second scrimmage, held Aug. 17, the offense managed nine touchdowns. The defense opened the game with a three-and-out, stuffed a run on third-and-two and blocked a field goal attempt. New head coach and former Fordham quarterback Joe Moorhead brings his expertise and enthusiasm to the team, and his one-time dominance as the Rams’ signal caller should certainly aid the team in answering their biggest question: Who will be the opening day quarterback? Last season’s main competitors for the job, Ryan Higgins, Fordham College at Rose Hill (FCRH) ’13, and sophomore Peter Maetzold, FCRH ’15, have both returned.

The quarterback competition is heated, with all competitors faring well so far in camp. (Courtesy of Fordham Sports)

“The two of them were neck and neck in spring ball and are still neck and neck,” Moorhead said after practice Aug. 12. “Both Ryan and Pete went an identical 13-19 in our first scrimmage. We’re going to keep plugging away until we have enough information to make a decision about who gives us the best chance to win.”

Making a decision on the quarterback competition hasn’t gotten any easier for the new coach, either, with the addition of University of Connecticut transfer Michael Nebrich. Nebrich went 8-for-9 passing for 63 yards in the aforementioned scrimmage, his first as a Ram, and chipped in an additional 20 yards rushing. In the same scrimmage, Higgins went 7-for-9 for 77 yards and two touchdowns, while Maetzold had the biggest day in terms of yardage and completions with a 13-for-18 for 131 performance.

While the battle behind center has yet to be settled, Moorhead has seen some encouraging efforts toward other positions since taking over.

“Training camp has been going well,” Moorhead said. “The team did an excellent job in spring ball, learning the systems and working hard to execute them. They showed great focus. On the offensive side of the ball, running back Carlton Koonce (FCRH ’13) was impressive in spring ball. He’s picked up where he left off, doing a great job in camp, running routes. Defensively, Pat McGee  (FCRH ’13), Mike Martin (FCRH ’13) and Ian Williams (FCRH ’14) have all looked good,” Moorehead said.

For an unsettled roster led by a new coach, talent isn’t the only issue. How the team responds to criticism and adversity is just about as important. After a rough day in camp, the 2012 Rams showed promise in that department as well.

“Well, Saturday’s practice was sub-par,” Moorhead said. Already becoming known for his post-practice notes, Moorhead reportedly had nothing to say following the next day’s practice. “We told them the expectation level that the staff has for them at practice, and they came out the next day with play and purpose. There was great competition. We’ve talked about earning the right to win.”

The scrimmage on Aug. 20, the last day of camp, was all about earning that right. Pitted full teams, one maroon and one white, against each another, looking to emphasize competition. While the quarterback competition became no clearer, it was, again due to solid efforts by each competitor. On the other side of the ball, the maroon defense forced consecutive 3-and-outs to start the game. The promise continues to show for this team, but promise only goes so far. Now it’s all about the regular season.

As for the season opener, the Rams will be facing off with Lock Haven University, a team that went winless last season. Such an opponent carries the concern of being overlooked, but Moorhead isn’t worried. “We’ve talked about how we’re going to perform to our highest level. As a team, we need to focus on Fordham. Lock Haven is returning a bunch of starters, including a 1,000 yard rusher. If we want to compete, we can’t afford to look past anybody.”

If the approach and the feel around camp this summer is any indication, these Fordham Rams stand more than a good chance to improve on last season.