Through the first three games of the 2012, the University of Maine football team still appears to be in a bit of a feeling-out period with new starting quarterback Marcus Wasilewski.
Toward that end, there are a couple of ways the Black Bears coaching staff might be able to take a little of the pressure off.
And, for the record, I’m obviously not a football coach.
Run the ball, run the ball, run the ball.
There was much talk coming into 2012 about UMaine’s veteran offensive line. The unit includes three proven seniors in guard Chris Howley, center Garet Williamson and tackle Josh Spearin — the latter of Bonny Eagle fame.
As the Bears proved, at times, in last Saturday’s loss to Albany, their ability to get 4-5 yards a pop on the ground opens up the passing game nicely. It also sets a physical tone.
Throwing off play-action, once the opponent is gearing up for the run, makes it easier for receivers to get open. That includes junior tight end Justin Perillo, who was held without a catch against the Great Danes.
With David Hood out for the second straight week because of an injury, that leaves Rickey Stevens as the featured tailback with true freshman Nigel Jones as the backup. There’s ample talent there.
Although, it must be pointed out the Bears are unproven at fullback. Senior Sam Shipley, a converted linebacker, has some nagging injury. That leaves redshirt freshmen Sean Stevenson and Sydney Weston.
“Pound the rock,” and good things will ensue.
The other element the Black Bears could add is some semblance of imagination or trickery on offense — albeit in moderation.
Albany’s offensive coordinator pulled a few rabbits out of his playbook hat against UMaine and one, a 74-yard reverse, paid dividends with a touchdown.
It seems to me offenses should give opponents a wrinkle four or five times a game, just to give them something else to think about. I’ve always been a big fan of the hitch-and-pitch or hook-and-ladder, using a speedy receiver or running back as a a trailer after a short pass.
The flea-flicker also has potential, especially if a team has run the ball effectively. Or don’t discount the potential for a fake field goal to turn into a completion with a quarterback doing the holding.
This year’s UMaine football team is going to improve as Wasilewski continues to build confidence and adjusts to making in-game defensive reads to find open receivers.
But when all is said and done, the Bears will only excel when they run the ball consistently and effectively and prove they’re willing to spice things up now and then.