The Los Angeles Rams will face the Denver Broncos Saturday in the first game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum following completion of a two-year, $315 million renovation project.
The renovations reduced the Coliseum’s seating capacity from 93,607 to about 77,500. All of the seats were replaced with new seats with cupholders.
The seven-story Scholarship Tower with luxury suites, loge boxes, club seats, a concourse and press box dominates the stadium’s south side.
Other elements of the renovation include:
— restoration of the peristyle to resemble its original design;
— updated WiFi technology;
— additional concession stands;
— electrical, mechanical and plumbing systems; and
— new field and stadium lighting.
The Coliseum was built in 1923 and last underwent substantial renovations 20 years ago when $93 million was spent to repair damage from the 1994 Northridge earthquake.
Rams coach Sean McVay will use Saturday’s preseason game just like the first two of 2019 — an opportunity to evaluate potential situational starters and players competing for spots on the 53-man regular-season roster and to give younger players the opportunity to gain experience.
The Rams lost both their previous 2019 preseason games, falling to the Oakland Raiders, 14-3, Aug. 10, and Dallas Cowboys, 14-10, last Saturday.
Former Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan will make his second start of the 2019 preseason for Denver (1-2), coach Vic Fangio said.
Hogan started the Broncos’ 14-10 victory over the Atlanta Falcons in the Hall of Fame Game on Aug. 1, completing five of eight passes for 37 yards and guiding them to a touchdown in three series. Former Baltimore Raven Joe Flacco started each of the next two games, losses to the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers.
Fangio indicated Flacco and most of the other expected regular-season starters won’t play against the Rams.
“It’s our fourth game, not our third,” Fangio said. “I just feel like that it’s the best thing to do for our team right now.”
Fangio said Denver will “play kind of basic football so we can evaluate the guys because it’s hard to game plan because you never know who they’ve got in there either.”
“I’ve never game planned for any preseason game in my life,” said Fangio, who is in his first season as the Broncos coach following 32 seasons as an NFL assistant coach, including 19 as a defensive coordinator, the last four with the Chicago Bears.
The game is the Rams “Play Football” game, part of the NFL’s Play Football Month, a culmination of the league’s year-round recognition of youth and high school football players.
The Watts Rams youth football program will scrimmage on the field before the game. The Rams announced a partnership on July 28 that included renaming the youth team formerly known as the Watts Bears.
The Los Angeles Rams will fund all football components of the Watts Rams program, including uniforms and equipment. Throughout the year, the team will provide engagement opportunities with present and past players, coaches, scouts and football operations staff, as well as host a career day for the Watts Rams players to expose them to business opportunities in the sports industry.
The Watts Bears were founded by Los Angeles Police Department officers in the Southeast Division to give underprivileged youth in Watts a chance to play organized sports but on a larger scale, and to positively change the historically strained relationship between the police and Watts community.
The Ventura Buccaneers and Camarillo Cougars youth football programs will hold scrimmages in the northwest and southeast end zones during halftime.
The Cathedral High School football team will light the Coliseum torch before kickoff as a reward for winning the Rams 11-On Passing & Big Man Tournament in June.
Rams captains will be joined at midfield for the coin toss by Meryland Gonzalez, a six-time national youth boxing champion from Watts and a participant in Operation Progress, a nonprofit organization that pairs students with LAPD officers who serve as their mentors, and Jayden Gelin, described by the Rams as a youth football prodigy.
There will be a moment of silence before the national anthem for Jim Hardy, a Rams quarterback from 1946-48, their first three seasons in Los Angeles, following a college career at USC. Hardy died Aug. 16 at the age of 96. He had been the oldest living former Ram.
Ivory Sully, a Rams defensive back from 1979-84, will be recognized as Legend of the Game during the second quarter.
U.S. Marine Corps Tech. Sgt. Eladio Vega will be recognized on the field during the second quarter. He is station commander for a recruiting substation in Burbank after 10 years as an avionics technician, including serving three deployments.
LAPD Southeast Division Officer Mario Adame will be recognized on the field during the third quarter as the Every Day Hero of the Game for his 23 years as a police officer and being a mentor with Operation Progress since 2014.
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