Football begins spring practice Wednesday

Stony Brook head coach Chuck Priore
 
Stony Brook head coach Chuck Priore
 
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March 26, 2013

Spring Practice Schedule

Stony Brook, N.Y. -

Heading into CAA competition in the fall, the Stony Brook football team opens spring practice Wednesday night.  Coach Chuck Priore and his staff will be conducting 15 workouts, including the Spring Game on April 21.

All practices and scrimmages are free and open to the public.

Spring Practice Preview
Throughout the years, the Stony Brook football team has gone through many transitions. First, it was the move to Division I in 1999. Then came the introduction of scholarships in 2006. Now, after four Big South Championships and two trips to the Division I Football Championship, the Seawolves are set for what could be their most daunting transition yet -- competition against the Colonial Athletic Association.

Stony Brook got a head start on CAA competition last year, beating Villanova, 20-10, in the first round of the playoffs. Despite a second-round loss to Montana State, the Seawolves proved they could compete for a title and belong in the ranks of the elite at the FCS level. This season, eighth-year head coach Chuck Priore will face the task of replacing numerous three and four-year starters, a challenge the program will tackle head on.

Offense
Last season, Priore knew exactly what he was going to get from an offense filled with veteran leaders. Now, with several newcomers joining the fold, the offense will take on a new look. Though not short on talent, inexperience could be evident with this group in 2013.

At the quarterback position, senior Lyle Negron (Bakersfield, Calif.) could be the replacement for the graduated Kyle Essington. After redshirting in 2011, Negron played in seven games as Essington's back-up in 2012. Negron, who got an early taste of CAA play against the Wildcats in the playoffs, showed maturity and the ability to run the offense. Challenging Negron will be redshirt freshmen Pat D'Amato (Wethersfield, Conn.) and Carlos Hernandez (Moreno Valley, Calif.) and junior college transfer Conor Bednarski (South Pasadena, Calif.), who passed for more than 2,400 yards and 25 touchdowns at Fullerton College.


 

 

From year to year, Stony Brook's running game has been the focal point of the offense. Despite the graduation of all-time leading rusher Miguel Maysonet, the ground game will remain in good hands.

Senior Marcus Coker (Beltsville, Md.), who shared the load with Maysonet, will unquestionably lead the unit in the spring and for the 2013 season. Coker rushed for more than 1,000 yards and excelled in short-yardage situations as eight of his nine touchdowns came from four yards or less. The 6-0, 230-lb transfer from Iowa should be a candidate for the Walter Payton Award and remains squarely on the radar for the 2014 NFL Draft.

Sophomore Jamie Williams (Hamilton, N.J.) exploded in his second collegiate game, totaling 144 yards and three touchdowns in a 77-7 win over Pace last year. His speed and elusiveness will help the unit adjust with the loss of Maysonet. Number two on the depth chart entering spring camp, Williams actually led the team in yards per carry (9.9) in 2012, rushing for 228 yards on just 23 carries. Junior James Kenner (Willingboro, N.J.) will have the luxury of spending his spring learning the offense and adjusting to the Division I level.

Over the past three seasons, and four of the last five years overall, Stony Brook has featured a pair of 1,000-yard rushers. Much of this success is owed to the holes opened up by fullbacks and tight ends, led by senior Matt Faiella (Freehold, N.J.). At 6-3 and 240 pounds, the fullback possesses the size and skill to give the running game a decisive edge once again.

Freshman Chris Makulik (Medford, N.Y.) was forced into action in 2012, but his early introduction to Division I football should give the team more depth at the position.

Junior Tanner Nehls (Richmond, Texas) excelled as a blocker and will resume that role in 2013. Nehls had one of the team's signature moments in the 23-3 win over Army, catching a pass in the flat and barrelling over a Black Knights' defender for a 20-yard gain.

For the first time in Priore's tenure, the Seawolves will also have a tight end with the ability to stretch the field.

Junior Will Tye (Middletown, Conn.) grew up playing basketball, but his size eventually prompted a switch to the football field. The Florida State transfer, who, according to Priore, is the jewel of the recruiting class, will be vital to offset some of the team's losses in the passing game.

Redshirt freshman Connor Davis (Fallston, Md.) could also have a bright future with great size at 6-8 and 275 pounds.

Two of the program's top wide receivers in its Division I history -- Jordan Gush and Kevin Norrell -- have graduated.

Leading the group of returning wideouts will be senior Malcolm Eugene (Huntington, N.Y.). Eugene, a transfer from Temple, redshirted last season, but showed a lot of skills on the scout team. His 6-4 frame and ability to go up for the ball could be difficult for opponents to defend.

Junior Adrian Coxson (Baltimore, Md.) saw time in all 13 games last year in a limited role. The Maryland transfer has become more comfortable with the offensive scheme and could challenge for a starting spot.

Senior Devante Wheeler (Staten Island, N.Y.) and redshirt freshmen Nick Vitale (Higganum, Conn.) Nick Wagner (East Northport, N.Y.) also will compete for playing time.

A strong point of the team in 2013 will be the offensive line, which returns all five starters. The unit featured the same starting lineup in all but one game last year and will be instrumental in Stony Brook's first season of CAA competition.

Senior Michael Bamiro (Tobyhanna, Pa.) has made 33 straight starts at right tackle, blocking for two 1,000-yard rushers in each of his first three seasons. The 6-8, 345-pound Bamiro has NFL size and will lead the O-Line against the best the CAA has to offer.

Junior center Mike Lisi (Franklin Square, N.Y.) has started 20 games in a row and has earned the coaching staff's trust to make the line calls and adjustments. One of Lisi's blocks against Syracuse allowed Miguel Maysonet to scamper for a 71-yard touchdown and a spot on ESPN's Top 10 plays.

Junior Cody Precht (Harborfields, N.Y.) also has made 20 straight starts. One of the toughest and strongest players on the team, Precht makes the most of his position at right guard.

On the left side, the left tackle position will be manned by senior Scott Hernandez (Fort Worth, Texas), an all-conference selection.

Junior Fernando Diaz (Bronx, N.Y.) started 12 of 13 games last year and continues to show improvement.

Sophomores Jerry Hubshman (Dunmore, Pa.) and Karim Mohamed (Lawrence, N.Y.) also could see time, primarily at right guard and right tackle, respectively.

Defense
Overshadowed at times by the offense, the Stony Brook defense posted one of the better seasons in the school's 14-year history in Division I. In 13 games last season, the defense held opponents to 17 points or fewer in nine games, including a stellar effort against Army, one of the nation's best rushing offenses. The Seawolves ranked fourth nationally in scoring defense (15.54 ppg), sixth in total defense (298.62 ypg) and allowed nearly eight points fewer than it did in 2011 (23.3).

The strength of the team entering spring practice starts at linebacker, where senior co-captain Jawara Dudley (Roosevelt, N.Y.), a three-year starter, will be the heart and soul of the defense. Dudley, a two-time first team All-Big South selection, enters 2013 as one of the best linebackers in the CAA. Dudley finished second on the team with 81 tackles, recording double-digit stops in three games.

The deep and experienced unit is bolstered by senior Reggie Francklin (Valley Stream, N.Y.). Despite playing in only nine games, Francklin recorded 33 tackles, including a career-high 12 at Army.

Senior Grant Nakwaasah (Richardson, Texas) complements Dudley perfectly. Nakwaasah played in all 13 games last season, making 48 tackles, including five for loss. Sophomore Julian Quintin (East Brunswick, N.J.) saw action in all 13 games, the majority coming on special teams, and could see an increased role.

Junior Christian Ricard (Spencer, Mass.) had an outstanding season at the rover position, finishing with 53 tackles, a year after making only six. Ricard made two of the team's more memorable plays, forcing a game-saving fumble at Coastal Carolina and making a tackle on a fake punt against Villanova.

Junior college transfer Max Martinez (Wichita, Kan.) brings big-time experience, having advanced to the NJCAA title game while at Butler Community College.

Stony Brook's depth on the defensive line was evident with a rotation of seven to eight players every game. Expect 2013 to be no different.

Junior Kevin Hauter (Moriches, N.Y.) moved into a starting role at nose tackle last season and finished with 25 tackles. Hauter, who ranked among the team's leaders in tackles for loss (7.0) and sacks (5.0) uses a great motor to get to the quarterback.

Senior Dimetrius Bernard (Jamaica, N.Y.) is in the rotation at nose tackle.

Sophomore Dante Allen (Huntington, N.Y.) and redshirt freshman Aaron Thompson (Deer Park, N.Y.) are tough match-ups with their size at defensive tackle.

A pair of seniors, Junior Solice (Hackensack, N.J.) and Leston Simpson (Springfield Gardens, N.Y.) are solid end rushers and are poised to disrupt offensive lines. Solice made 4.5 tackles for loss in six games. Simpson, who saw action in all 13 games, led the Seawolves with 10 tackles for loss. His 35 tackles were second on the team among defensive linemen.

On the other side, sophomore Victor Ochi (Valley Stream, N.Y.), who led the line with 45 tackles, may have the most upside of the group. Ochi recorded 7.5 tackles for loss and three sacks.

Sophomore Dimitry Russ (Deer Park, N.Y.) played in a limited role last season, but could see his time increase. Despite the losses of Dominick Reyes and Cedrick Moore to graduation,

Priore has a nice mix of returners and redshirts to use in the defensive secondary.

Senior co-captain Davonte Anderson (Corona, Calif.) is second all-time in Stony Brook's Division I history with 12 interceptions. Anderson, unquestionably, will be the starter at field cornerback. The three-year starter, who was a second-team All-Big South selection last season, also could see time returning punts.

Heading into spring practice, senior Ivan May (El Cajon, Calif.) and sophomore Louis Murray (Los Angeles, Calif.) will battle for a spot as the back-up to Anderson.

Senior Winston Longdon (Brooklyn, N.Y.) is the starter at boundary cornerback. Longdon, who started all 13 games and made 39 tackles, recorded six pass break-ups, including three to preserve a win at Coastal Carolina.

Redshirt freshman A.B. Granger (Palm Beach, Fla.) will battle for a spot on the depth chart behind Longdon.

Sophomore Naim Cheeseboro (King of Prussia, Pa.) starred on special teams, finishing the season with 26 tackles. Priore is confident that Cheeseboro, the starter at weak-side safety heading into the spring, will fill the void left by the graduation of Moore.

Redshirt freshman Deshawn Lindsay (Plantation, Fla.) will compete for a spot behind Cheeseboro.

Junior college transfer Zedrick Gardner (Miami, Fla.) will bring size to the free safety position. Gardner was a second team all-conference selection at ASA College last year.

Redshirt freshman Jaheem Woods (Neptune, N.J.) is one of the most athletic players on the team.

Special Teams
Junior Graham Ball (Lynn Haven, Fla.) is listed as the starter at kicker. Ball handled the majority of the kick-offs last season.

Behind Ball is redshirt freshmen Ben Solis (Holland, Pa.) and Przemyslaw Popek (Yonkers, N.Y.). Senior Luke Allen (Port Jefferson, N.Y.) will handle the punting duties.

Williams and Anderson are listed as the starters at kick returner and punt returner, respectively.