ORONO — Joe Hook, a redshirt freshman, will start at right tackle Thursday night for the University of Maine in the opener against Albany.

Hook, a 6-foot-5, 290-pounder from Westfield, Mass., completes the offensive line starting five, one of the team’s most pressing needs in preseason.

He said he knows he will have to perform to stay in the lineup.

“The competition was pretty intense,” said Hook. “You had to go out and perform to your best ability every day. And we have to keep getting better every day.”

Hook rounds out a line charged with helping Maine’s offense become more multi-dimensional.

“There’s not a lot of experience, but you don’t put somebody out there unless you trust they can get the job done,” said Maine Coach Jack Cosgrove. “We feel we’re better this year on the offensive line than where we were.”

According to Maine’s depth chart, sophomore Josh Spearin moves to left tackle to fill the hole left by Tyler Eastman, who was cut from the Kansas City Chiefs this week.

Senior Matt Barber (6-6, 295) will start at left guard, sophomore Garrett Williamson (6-3, 275) will be Maine’s center and sophomore Chris Howley (6-3, 295) will start at right guard.

“There’s seven, eight guys who could start,” said Williamson. “(Joe’s) been doing a good job for a lot of camp.”

Hook said he’s spent time getting advice from older players like Barber and senior Alex Batanian, listed behind Spearin at left tackle.

“I feel like we’ve improved a lot up front,” he said. “Just watching tape. There were no major breakdowns, but all small things I think we are better at.”

Williamson said the Black Bears are eager to open the season.

Albany rallied from a 16-0 halftime deficit to beat Maine a year ago.

“We’re excited to have another crack at Albany,” said Williamson. “I think the offense as a whole is more confident in its ability. We’re looking forward to going to work.”

 

NOTES: Maine will use a weekly vote to pick game-week captains — a new way of doing business for the Black Bears based on making more players accountable for team leadership.

This week’s captains are running back Derek Session, linebacker Ryan McCrossan and corner Dominic Cusano.

“It’s a big honor for me,” said Session. “Knowing my teammates see leadership qualities in me motivates you to do those extra things to help lead the team.”

Maine used to pick its captains by team vote at the end of spring practice.

“It makes more sense and gets everyone involved in leadership,” said Cosgrove. “It puts it on our guys to recognize each other.”

At the end of the season a final vote for team captains will be made based on the entire year.

 

Staff Writer Jenn Menendez can be contacted at 791-6426 or at: [email protected]