WEEK 1: New Hampshire at Maine

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Re: WEEK 1: New Hampshire at Maine

Postby fafan » Thu Aug 23, 2018 7:56 am

Nice article from Mahoney of the BDN about our running game. Have to agree these two guys are key if this offense is going to be able to move the ball.

It’s up to these two UMaine running backs to fill void left after sophomore star transfers

Courtesy of UMaine Athletics
University of Maine quarterback Chris Ferguson hands the ball off to running back Ramon Jefferson during the 14th annual Jeff Cole Memorial Spring Scrimmage at Alfond Stadium in Orono, May 4, 2018.

Gabor Degre | BDN
University of Maine running back Joe Fitzpatrick.
By Larry Mahoney, BDN Staff • August 22, 2018 10:27 am
Updated: August 22, 2018 10:29 am
ORONO, Maine — The University of Maine football team’s running game will take on a different look this season.

All-American Josh Mack transferred to Liberty University in Virginia after racking up 1,335 yards on 243 carries last fall. That was third best among all Football Championship Subdivision backs.

His 243 carries represented 62.5 percent of the rushes by a UMaine ball carrier.

So the torch has been passed to redshirt junior Joe Fitzpatrick from North Yarmouth and Portland’s Cheverus High School and redshirt freshman Ramon Jefferson from the Bronx, New York.

The 5-foot-11, 221-pound Fitzpatrick was UMaine’s second-leading rusher, with 382 yards on 64 carries in 2017. That’s an average of six yards per carry.

The 5-foot-9, 196-pounds Jefferson spent the year as a redshirt, learning the playbook and building himself up in the weight room.

They offer UMaine a contrast in styles.

“Ramon is the most improved player on offense since I took over, to be honest with you. He’s looking like he is going to be a real bonafide running back in this league,” UMaine offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Nick Charlton said. “He is an elusive guy. We’ve got some good players on our defense and he makes people miss. I expect him to do the same thing when we get to the show.

“And we know what we’re getting with Joe. He’s reliable, tough, he runs north-south, he gets yards. Last year, he had 64 carries and only three negative runs. There’s something to be said for his style of play.”

Fitzpatrick said he looks forward to sharing the ball with Jefferson.

“Last year, one back got all the carries,” Fitzpatrick said. “But if you have multiple backs who do similar things very well and also have different running styles, that will really take a toll on the defense.

“If you think about it, you’ve got backs who can catch the ball and run [pass] routes, but one can run over you, one can run around you and one makes you fall over. That’s going to be really hard to defend,” Fitzpatrick said. “We don’t want to be one dimensional.”

Fitzpatrick said during the spring football workouts, he worked a lot on running out on the perimeter rather than right down the middle and Jefferson did a lot of “inside runs” rather than perimeter carries so each could become more well-rounded.

Jefferson said getting to know the playbook has made life a lot easier for him.

“I’m more comfortable. Now I’m just able to play,” he said.

Jefferson said he has improved his pass blocking and has been able to run some pass routes and make catches out of the backfield.

“I’ve been working on my cuts and my vision. I want to make sure I’m reading the right hole,” said Jefferson, a two-time all-conference player at Harry S. Truman High School where he rushed for 5,456 total yards and 52 career touchdowns.

Jefferson said he has gotten quicker thanks to his offseason workouts.

“I’ve been up here since June and that has definitely helped me,” he said.

Fitzpatrick said the loss of Mack doesn’t put any additional pressure on him and he feels stronger and faster this season. He has added six pounds from last year.

“I definitely took a big step last year, and I want to take a real good leap this year,” said Fitzpatrick, who appeared in just one game two years ago because of an injury after carrying the ball 10 times for 63 yards as a true freshman.

“I want to be able to take over a game like I did in high school,” said Fitzpatrick, the former Maine Class A Gatorade Player of the Year and two-time all conference selection at Cheverus.

Redshirt sophomore quarterback Chris Ferguson said the two complement each other.

“Joe provides leadership. He’s an older guy, he’s experienced, he has made some big plays for us. He’s obviously a bruiser. He gets first downs and breaks tackles,” Ferguson said. “Ramon is quick, he’s low to the ground, which is important. He can run over somebody or he can make moves and break runs.

“I’m really excited to see them team up.”

UMaine opens the season at 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 30, against archrival New Hampshire in Orono.

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Re: WEEK 1: New Hampshire at Maine

Postby fafan » Thu Aug 23, 2018 8:32 am

One week to kickoff, here is the CAA overview of the Wildcats.
https://twitter.com/caafootball/status/ ... 51456?s=21
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Re: WEEK 1: New Hampshire at Maine

Postby dunbar » Sun Aug 26, 2018 2:27 pm

This is the most underwhelmed I've been for a season opener.

And we're playing New Hampshire.

It's like they screwed up the schedule or something...
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Re: WEEK 1: New Hampshire at Maine

Postby fafan » Sun Aug 26, 2018 2:39 pm

Little information from the team, no news on final scrimmage, not much publicity from the University about the game. Ticket sales are improved from a week ago but no where close to 1/2 sold, Increase in ticket cost and Thursday nite game might be a recipe for small crowd and walkup penalty of $5 ticket certainly does not help. :(

But all this lack of hype from a fan perspective I can tolerate.
What we all want is this team to come out and play like they are playing for the National Championship that is how important this game is. We are 5.5pt underdog and we all know we have the weapons to beat this team. Need to end the UNH dominance and this is the game to do it!!!
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Re: WEEK 1: New Hampshire at Maine

Postby thebam » Sun Aug 26, 2018 4:10 pm

dunbar wrote:This is the most underwhelmed I've been for a season opener.

And we're playing New Hampshire.

It's like they screwed up the schedule or something...

I still can't , for the life of me, figure out a tangible reason why playing on Thursday Aug 30 is a good idea? None. Not a single reason whatsoever.
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Re: WEEK 1: New Hampshire at Maine

Postby dunbar » Mon Aug 27, 2018 10:22 am

There isn’t one, Bam. There isn’t. Save Week 1 for an FBS opponent. Better options and more money that way.
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Re: WEEK 1: New Hampshire at Maine

Postby fafan » Mon Aug 27, 2018 12:22 pm

Nice BDN overview of the team as prepares for a UNH victory Thursday nite. :D

UMaine football team will feature veteran defense, inexperienced offensive line

Gabor Degre | BDN
University of Maine football players stretch during practice in Orono on Monday.
By Larry Mahoney, BDN Staff • August 27, 2018 1:24 am
It won’t take long for the University of Maine’s football team to find out where it stands in the Colonial Athletic Association.

Third-year head coach Joe Harasymiak’s Black Bears will know late Thursday night.

That’s because UMaine opens at home Thursday night against the University of New Hampshire, which has made 14 consecutive Football Championship Subdivision playoff appearances and is ranked third in one preseason poll and ninth in another.

The Black Bears, 4-6 overall and 3-5 in the CAA last year including two one-point losses, will find out how well they can move the ball with an inexperienced offensive line and without All-American running back Josh Mack, who transferred to Football Bowl Subdivision team Liberty University in Virginia.

They will also discover if their veteran defensive unit can become one of the CAA’s best after being a respectable middle-of-the-pack unit in most categories a year ago.

The defense should keep the Black Bears in games while the offense develops.

Chris Ferguson had a solid first season quarterbacking the Black Bears as a redshirt freshman.

He was fourth in the CAA in passing yards per game (206.4) and tossed 16 touchdown passes while being intercepted 11 times. He completed 54.6 percent of his passes.

But he threw just one TD pass in the fourth quarter and was picked off four times as the Black Bears were outscored 58-13 in the final period of their six losses.

Ferguson should be now ready to take his game to the next level and be more consistent, especially in the fourth quarter.

But he may not have as much time to make decisions while the line develops so he will have to become more maneuverable in the pocket.

If he is able to scramble for the occasional first down, it would be a big boost to the offense.

His receiver corps has both quality and experience in senior Micah Wright and juniors Jaquan Blair and speedster Earnest Edwards.

Game-changer Wright was UMaine’s leading receiver in 2016 (44 catches-688 yards, 7 TDs) and 2015 (61-818, 5 TDs), but a suspension and a season-ending knee injury limited him to just five games a year ago (13-150, 2 TDs).

Blair is the team’s top returning pass-catcher (23-242). Edwards caught 21 passes and led the team in yards per catch at 17.7.

Redshirt freshman Devin Young and Old Town sophomore Andre Miller will also get reps at wide receiver.

“Micah is certainly a proven guy in this league, Earnest is ready to have a breakout year as a wide receiver and Jaquan gives us a big receiver” standing at 6-foot-2, Harasymiak said. “Miller and Young will also be involved.”

Converted quarterback Drew Belcher was a pleasant surprise a year ago as the tight end-H back, hauling in 17 passes for 233 yards, and he could be a valuable weapon.

“He was thrown into the fire last year and had to learn things on the fly. I expect to see a nice progression this year,” Harasymiak said.

Harasymiak is “very confident” UMaine will have a productive running game.

Hard-running North Yarmouth redshirt junior Joe Fitzpatrick, the team’s second-leading rusher a year ago with 382 yards on 64 carries for a six-yards-per-carry average, and shifty redshirt freshman Ramon Jefferson will be the ball carriers.

“Joe is Mr. Reliable in everything he does and Ramon is our big hitter. He can break one at any time. He’s explosive,” Harasymiak said.

The offensive line graduated three four-year starters in tackles Jamil Demby, who was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams, Isaiah Brooks and guard John Reddington and has just two starters back in sophomore center Chris Mulvey and senior tackle Cody Levy. Transfer Migel Garcia and sophomore Liam Dobson will be the starting guards, and sophomore Gunnar Docos will be the other starting tackle. All are at least 300 pounds, except the 290-pound Garcia.

Freshmen tackle Kevin Jones and center Michael Gerace, sophomore guards Robert Smoloski and Tyler Royal, and junior tackle Corey Moore will also see playing time.

“We feel good about them. They’ve been going up against a quality defensive line in practice. We’ve got some good weight on them, which is good,” Harasymiak said.

UMaine’s offense will have to improve its third-down efficiency which was next-to-last in the CAA a year ago at 34 percent. A more experienced Ferguson should help.

Three All-CAA picks headline a potentially stellar defense, which returns its top eight tacklers. It’s defense limited opponents to a 27 percent success rate on third down, best in the CAA.

Senior linebacker Sterling Sheffield (64 tackles, 12 tackles-for-loss, 5.5 sacks) and junior cornerback Manny Patterson (17 pass break-ups) were second-team picks and junior defensive end Kayon Whitaker (65 tackles, 14 TFL, 8.5 sacks) was a third-teamer.

Sophomore LB Jaron Grayer led the team in tackles (79) and junior nose tackle Charles Mitchell was in on 58 tackles including 11.5 for loss and 4.5 sacks. Linebackers Deshawn Stevens (50 tackles) and Taji Lowe (38) and safeties Darrius Hart (42) and Jeffrey DeVaughan (29) are also back. Hart and DeVaughan are seniors, Lowe is a junior and Stevens is a sophomore.

Junior tackle Alejandro Oregon had three sacks among 22 tackles. Redshirt freshmen Jamehl Wiley and Shaquille St. Lot have cracked the lineup at tackle and cornerback, respectively.

Erick Robertson saw some playing time in the secondary as a freshman last year and sophomore Jordan Swann will also get playing time there. Connor Walsh is a senior end who appeared in nine games.

The Black Bear defense was victimized by the big play and its season ended on a 35-yard Hail Mary pass that gave Stony Brook a 20-19 win.

That was one of seven TDs of at least 33 yards it allowed.

That has been addressed by Harasymiak and his staff along with their fourth-quarter collapses.

Special teams should also be a strength with dynamic All-CAA first team kick returner Edwards (24.5 yards per kickoff return) and 2016 All-CAA second team punt returner Wright on the field.

Senior Mozai Nelson (16 tackles in 8 games) was an All-CAA first team special teams selection and the Black Bears will need sophomore kicker Kenny Doak, who lost his starting job to the now-departed Brandon Briggs, to become a reliable performer. Freshman David Gelb will be the punter with junior Derek Deoul also a possibility.

UMaine has to exhibit better discipline as it was the most penalized team in the CAA (86.4 yards per game).

The Black Bears will have the added motivation of playing for defensive back Darius Minor, who collapsed and died of a heart condition during training camp.

The league schedule is also favorable with just one game against a team picked to finish in the top four in the league in the preseason coaches poll: No. 2 UNH.

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Re: WEEK 1: New Hampshire at Maine

Postby thebam » Mon Aug 27, 2018 12:25 pm

I will give credit where credit is due. The BDN has been doing a really good job this year on pre season stuff! Let's hope they continue that type of UMaine coverage as the next sports seasons roll around.
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Re: WEEK 1: New Hampshire at Maine

Postby MattyB » Tue Aug 28, 2018 7:31 am

Thursday has been marked on the calendars of @BlackBearsFB for months as it's a chance to beat UNH and end a long drought. One Black Bear that certainly wants another crack at the Wildcats? @Doaker16:

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Re: WEEK 1: New Hampshire at Maine

Postby maine612 » Tue Aug 28, 2018 5:59 pm

Has anyone found out where and how to watch the game on Fox Sports Go?

Here is a link to the website:


Nothing about the Maine/UNH game here or on the app.

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