After a 7-5 season a year ago, William and Mary looks to reach the post-season for the first time since 2010. Led by junior tailback Mikal Abdul-Saboor and a skilled defense, the College opens its conference slate with Stony Brook Sept. 27. The Flat Hat sports desk previews the offensive and defensive units. Issues hit stands Friday afternoon.
The offense: Every football season raises questions, and this one is no exception. In 2013, William and Mary nearly rode a dominant defense to the Football Championship Series playoffs, lifted by an offense that seemed to grow stronger. Now that former quarterback Brent Caprio has graduated, the College’s offense has to build on last season, rather than regress.
Last year, the College ran the ball 470 times and attempted 299 passes across its 12-game schedule. It should be no surprise that this season, the Tribe has already run 78 times and thrown just 39 passes — the College has leaned on its running game for head coach Jimmye Laycock’s entire tenure, and this year promises to bring more of the same.
The defense: Four William and Mary defensive players received Colonial Athletic Association all-conference first team honors last year — an astounding statistic, especially given that the only one not returning this season recently played in his first National Football League game.
Jerome Couplin ’14 will surely be missed, but so was B.W. Webb ’13 until the Tribe defense proved itself to be one of the most stifling units in program history last year. Senior Ivan Tagoe steps into Couplin’s shoes as the team’s free safety after playing right beside him as strong safety for a full season. Any lingering concerns over the transition were softened when Tagoe made 13 tackles in the first two games.