Football: Final preparations

We’re now just four days away from William and Mary’s 2010 season opener at Massachusetts on Saturday, and the Flat Hat has the all the midweek news from the Jimmye Laycock Center covered.

Matchup with UMass

When the Tribe takes on the Minutemen Saturday, it will mark the third year in a row in which the College has opened on the road. They started against NC State two years ago and won a huge matchup against Virginia last year. This time, however, the Tribe faces a CAA rival that has won seven of its last eight season openers.

Laycock is by no means taking this game for granted.

“I think it’s a very tough obstacle when you have to open in the league and you have to open on the road,” Laycock said. “Last time we went up to UMass we got shellacked.”

In its last trip to Amherst, during the 2006 season, the Tribe was indeed clobbered 48-7. But both schools have new teams now, and the Tribe figures to match up well against a squad that went 5-6 last season.

Laycock confident, but has questions

Laycock spoke highly of his players for coming back in good shape and having a great camp. However, he added that it was always difficult to predict how they will perform together as a cohesive unit on the road.

“[Massachusetts has] a tradition of playing great football up there,” Laycock said. “We’ve got to take care of ourselves. We’ve got to go on the road, we’ve got to be focused and we’ve got to find out a lot about ourselves, because this is a different team from last year.”

The Tribe returns 12 starters, but has a quarterback in Mike Callahan that has never played in a game before. In addition, two key players on defense, Adrian Tracy and Sean Lissemore, were lost last year to the NFL.

Meanwhile, Massachusetts has gotten a number of transfers into its program after Hofstra and Northeastern decided to discontinue their football programs.

“This year’s UMass team looks to be different in that they have brought in a number of transfers,” Laycock said. “We have a lot of questions and a lot of things we need to work out

Cook, Ptachick injured

While the Tribe has been relatively fortunate in staying healthy this preseason, there have been a few casualties.

Sophomore linebacker Dante Cook suffered a knee injury which required arthroscopic surgery. But Laycock said he hoped to have him back“within a few weeks.”

Sophomore, T.J. Ptachick suffered a break in his lower leg and will be out for most of the season. Ptachick was competing to be a back-up at the fullback position.

Paulus and Caprio

While junior transfer quarterback Mike Paulus is listed second on the depth chart, ahead of redshirt freshman Brent Caprio, Laycock said that it was not determined who would backup Callahan if the need arose Saturday.

“We’ve got two good quarterbacks there,” he said. “Depending on the situation I think either one of them could play and I’d be comfortable with that.”


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