For the second straight year, Warren Smith has been named the University of Maine’s starting quarterback.

The Black Bears’ coaching staff announced Thursday that Smith, a senior from Forked River, N.J., will take the snaps when Maine opens the season at 5 p.m. Sept. 3 at home against Bryant.

Smith beat out Chris Treister, a former Portland High standout and a redshirt senior, for the starting job for the second consecutive season.

“It was a great competition,” Smith said. “Chris is a very good quarterback and we pushed ourselves to our best ability, whether it was playing on the practice fields or in the meetings.

“The competition was great, at a very high level, and the outcome was what it was. Now we have to get ready for the games.”

Maine began preseason camp Aug. 9 and Coach Jack Cosgrove said Smith’s ability to separate himself in the two-man competition — something he hadn’t seen in spring practices or during the first half of camp — tipped a tightly contested quarterback duel in Smith’s favor.

“Warren put on a real strong run where he played at a consistent high level,” Cosgrove said. “We saw some separation there in terms of play. It kind of began in the last week and worked its way through the scrimmage (on Tuesday). Wednesday, we had a conversation and talked about it as an offensive coaching staff and just decided it was time.

“I didn’t have a timetable for when to announce it. I was going to do it when it was obvious a decision would be made and when the time was right.”

At Tuesday’s intrasquad scrimmage at Alfond Stadium, Smith finished 15 of 23 passing with 151 yards and a touchdown; Treister finished 9 of 14 for 58 yards with one interception.

Likewise, Smith said his biggest gains both from last season and during preseason came in his foot speed and his ball security, as well as in his timing with receivers.

“The biggest tool he’s demonstrated is his discipline and his care for the football,” Cosgrove said. “He hasn’t thrown an interception in scrimmages or in team situations so far in the preseason, and he’s worked on protecting the ball, something that was a big concern for us last year. He took the effort and the pride, and worked hard at being a better quarterback this year.”

Smith transferred from Iona College, which dropped football after the 2008 season, played in eight games in 2009 before suffering a season-ending foot injury that required surgery, and was named Maine’s starter in 2010, beating out Treister for the starting job.

In 11 games last season, Smith went 198 of 305 in passing with 10 interceptions, accounting for 1,861 yards and nine touchdowns. Smith also had 141 yards and three touchdowns on 65 carries.

Treister appeared in 11 games last season as Maine’s holder and quarterback; in six games at quarterback, Treister went 22 of 45 for 221 yards and one touchdown.

Still, Cosgrove said that choosing a starter for this season was not an easy decision.

“They’re program guys all the way,” Cosgrove said. “They’ve given everything we could ask for as far as the program goes. You know there’s a winner and a loser, and it’s a difficult decision to go through with it. But it’s part of the process.”

Staff Writer Rachel Lenzi can be reached at 791-6415 or at:

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