The heartbreaking season-ending loss to Richmond will be fresh in the minds of William and Mary fans as they enter the upcoming 2014 football season.
The Tribe suffered a tough elimination from the 2013 CAA playoffs with its 31-20 loss to Richmond Nov. 23. Even though the College ended the first quarter with a 10-7 lead, the Spiders rallied back by outscoring the Tribe 17-3 in the second quarter before they solidified their lead with a two-yard touchdown run early in the second half. By the final whistle, Richmond had outgained the Tribe 236 yards to 138.
The rivalry between the College and Richmond isn’t limited to just last season. In 2012, the Tribe’s regular season ended with a 21-14 loss to Richmond. The Tribe committed three turnovers and was stopped short on three out of four first-down conversion attempts. In 2011, the Tribe had another close game against Richmond and won by only 2 points to claim the Capital Cup.
Despite a five-win improvement from 2012, Coach Jimmye Laycock expressed disappointment with the Tribe in his postgame interview following last season’s finale against the Spiders. Laycock told Tribe Athletics that the College hadn’t played to the best of its ability. In addition to offensive turnovers, Laycock specifically referred to the team’s defense.
“We were not able to pressure their quarterback and we were not able to stop their running game, and that showed me that something was wrong defensively,” Laycock told Tribe Athletics.
Laycock also mentioned that in previous games the Tribe had been playing stronger defense, feeling that the team’s final outing wasn’t indicative of its capabilities.
Defense, however, looks to be a staple in the new season. Laycock recently hired Kevin Lewis as the defensive line coach. The starting defensive line will consist of three seniors and a junior: defensive end Mike Reilly – the CAA Preseason Defensive Player of the Year – defensive end and senior captain Stephen Sinnott, senior defensive tackle Jasper Coleman and junior defensive tackle Tyler Claytor.
The Tribe will have a chance to redeem itself for last year’s loss against their in-state conference rivals during its last regular season finale against Richmond Nov. 22 at Zable Stadium.