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Quarterback Rod Tinsley's health a concern for WSSU heading into Saturday's Bowie State game

Quarterback Rod Tinsley's health a concern for WSSU heading into Saturday's Bowie State game

Rod

Rod Tinsley was 18 of 32 passing for 198 yards with two touchdown passes against Virginia Union, but he also absorbed several hard hits and missed practice Tuesday.

Quarterback Rod Tinsley of Winston-Salem State took at least two vicious hits in Saturday’s 27-19 loss to Virginia Union at Bowman Gray Stadium.

Many of his WSSU teammates didn’t see them live, but in a film session on Sunday they saw what Tinsley did trying to win a game.

Wide receiver Jonathan Allen, who caught two touchdown passes from Tinsley as the Rams finally showed some rhythm on offense, said nobody should ever question Tinsley’s heart.

“Rod took a couple of hard shots,” Allen said. “But talking to him (Tuesday), he seems to be OK. We saw the shots on film that he took, and he’s a tough guy.”

Tinsley, who wasn’t available to media after Saturday’s game, said on Tuesday through a text message to the Journal that he was feeling good. However, Tinsley didn’t practice Tuesday, and Ryan McManus, the quarterbacks coach, didn’t know if Tinsley would be able to practice Wednesday.

Coach Kienus Boulware of the Rams didn’t divulge the status of Tinsley’s health on Tuesday, and also didn’t know if Tinsley suffered a concussion on Saturday.

“I don’t know,” Boulware said when asked if Tinsley is going through concussion protocol this week. “John Lavender is back as our trainer and I have to get with him to see the status of several players… I don’t know if (Tinsley) had a concussion or not.”

Boulware confirmed that defensive back De’Andre Blevins, one of the Rams’ top players, is in concussion protocol. He was ruled out of Saturday’s game against Virginia Union after the second quarter, and his status is in doubt for this weekend’s game at Bowie State.

Tinsley, a four-year starter, had his best game of the season against the Panthers, going 18 of 32 for 198 yards and two touchdowns. And for the first time this season he wasn’t sacked, but he also took off on several runs when passing plays broke down.

Tinsley led the Rams in rushing with 54 yards on nine carries. Earlier this season Tinsley became the second-leading passer in school history and now has 4,785 yards as the four-year starter.

Boulware said he would like it if Tinsley didn’t have to run for his life, which he did Saturday to keep drives alive. The Rams had 349 yards of offense in the loss to the Panthers.

“Rod is not the biggest guy, and I don’t like seeing him take hits,” Boulware said. “We have to call and facilitate those plays where he gets the ball out of his hands a lot quicker.”

One play where Tinsley took a hard hit came on the final drive of the game as he tried to give the Rams a chance at a victory. Around midfield, he scrambled for 11 yards but was tackled hard near the WSSU sideline while going out of bounds.

Jarrell Bright, a senior defensive end for the Rams, said Tinsley is one of the toughest guys on the team.

Bright, who along with Tinsley played on the Rams’ CIAA championship teams in 2015 and ’16, says he’s marveled at the way Tinsley lets the criticism roll off his back.

“That’s the position he plays and he understands he gets that criticism, but he handles it and moves on and just plays football,” Bright said. “He has competition behind him so he knows what’s at stake, and you can tell he’ll put his body on the line.”

If Tinsley can’t play Saturday at Bowie State, Emiere Scaife could make his first start for the Rams. Scaife, a graduate transfer from Georgia State, was 3 of 8 pass attempts for 25 yards, but he was sacked twice and also fumbled once. The Rams, however, recovered his fumble.

Boulware said he has faith in everybody on his roster and said if Scaife starts he’ll be fine with that.

“We have a lot of talent on this team and we need all of it on the field against a team like Bowie State,” he said.

As the week progresses, the question as to whether Tinsley, who has missed games before in his career because of injuries, will play. Bright, however, had his speculation.

“He’ll be out there,” Bright said.

jdell@wsjournal.com (336) 727-4081 @johndellWSJ

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