Midweek news as the Tribe prepares to take on Delaware Saturday in their CAA opener.
Mangas, Kearney done
Heading into CAA play, the Tribe is officially hemorrhaging quarterbacks. Several weeks after junior Mike Callahan was lost for the season due to a torn ACL and MCL, Head Coach Jimmye Laycock confirmed today that sophomore D.J. Mangas is now gone for the year after suffering an ACL injury in practice last week.
That leaves sophomore Terrance Schmand as the no. 2 quarterback behind senior R.J. Archer. Schmand saw the first action of his career in the fourth quarter against Norfolk State Saturday, although he did not attempt a pass.
Laycock also confirmed today that redshirt freshman Nolan Kearney, a highly rated quarterback recruit who had moved to tight end this season, is no longer with the football program, citing a disciplinary issue. The Flat Hat has confirmed that Kearney was arrested for DUI in late August.
This leaves true freshman Brent Caprio as the third quarterback on the Tribe’s depth chart. Caprio is another well-regarded recruit out of New Jersey, but Laycock planned to redshirt him this year. Sources within the athletic department tell me that every effort will be made to preserve that redshirt, but if Archer were to go down for an extended period of time, Laycock will have a difficult decision on his hands.
My guess as to how this plays out: Archer is currently hampered by an ankle injury, but looked strong against Norfolk State. If he were to go down mid-game, I would think Terrance Schmand would likely come in to replace him despite never having thrown a pass. But if Archer were to go out for several weeks, I believe Caprio would be called upon to start under center. Reviews of Caprio from practice have been very positive so far, although the Tribe certainly wants to preserve that redshirt year.
Hopefully for the College, Archer remains healthy and is able to maintain his current form, rendering this issue moot. But it certainly is an interesting dilemma, and underscores the value of recruiting several quarterbacks in each year.
“You’d like to have more guys out there, but Terrance and Caprio will get reps and get better,” Laycock said.
Speaking of Archer, the quarterback remains in a walking boot, but is expected to play Saturday. Laycock said that the boot was mostly a precaution in the week leading up to the game.
Junior Fullback Jimmy Hobson is currently banged up after Saturday’s game and is not listed on the two-deep. That could change by game-time as players sometimes return to practice on Thursday or Friday, but the Tribe could feel the loss of a good blocking back when facing Delaware this weekend. Hobson was emerging in the passing game as well, catching his first career touchdown against Central Connecticut State.
The Tribe takes on a Delaware team that will likely play with a chip on their shoulders following the College’s 27-3 blowout win last season. The Tribe defense held the Blue Hens to a mere 45 passing yards on Delaware’s homecoming.
This year, that defense will have to contend with a new UD quarterback, Penn State transfer Pat Devlin. Devlin nearly led the Blue Hens to an upset of no. 1 Richmond two weeks ago, before losing on a blocked field goal in the final minute. He’s averaging 207 yards per game with 7 total touchdowns, 4 of which came on the ground.
“This year’s Delaware team will be much improved from last year’s,” Laycock said.
Senior wideout D.J. McAulay is preparing to play an opponent with whom he has a history. As a sophomore, McAulay injured his knee against Delaware in the Tribe’s 2007 season opening loss.
“It’s a CAA game, and a win would be tremendous,” senior wideout D.J. McAulay said. “They’re going to come to play.”
The Tribe will have some motivation of its own after being picked to finish behind Delaware in the league’s preseason media and coaches poll. The College was voted fifth in the CAA south.
“Every year we’re always picked behind somebody,” McAulay said. “It’s a little extra motivation.”
The Tribe currently ranks ninth worst in the CAA in penalties, averaging 63 yards per game. It’s an uncharacteristic mark for a Laycock coached team that usually ranks among the most disciplined teams in the league, yet the head coach was unconcerned.
“We kind of look at them all individually, and there’s some things we need to correct, but there’s some fluke penalties, too,” he said. “I think you look at calls and you look at ones where they occur prior to the snap, and we’re not seeing many of those things.”
In case you missed yesterday’s late night post:
Tribe on Versus
The Tribe saw their season-opener broadcast nationally on online network ESPN 360 and will now appear on an even larger platform. The CAA and Versus announced today that the network will broadcast the no. 5 College’s Oct. 3 matchup against no. 2 Villanova, the first nationally televised regular-season CAA game in history. Gametime will be moved up to 3:30 p.m. to accomodate the television coverage.
“We couldn’t be more pleased to have two of the Top-5 teams in the country and our conference showcase CAA Football to a national audience,” CAA football commissioner Tom Yeager said.
Delaware a sellout
The College’s CAA opener against Delaware Saturday is now officially sold out and the athletic department is urging students to show up early to ensure seating. Approximately 9,000 tickets have been sold for Saturday’s game, with 3,000 seats left available to students.
Last season, the Tribe routed the Blue Hens on the road 27-3 for the College’s first win in Newark since 2001.