Sunday, March 9, 2014
After its 31-15 win Saturday at Albany, the Maine football team didn't arrive home until 7 a.m. Sunday morning and 24 hours later, Maine Coach Jack Cosgrove said his team is already taking stock of its personnel situation at the start of its bye week. Of note: senior tight end Derek Buttles came out after the second series against Albany and will be evaluated this week.
“We had some situations at Pitt two weeks ago on the defensive side of the ball that stressed us this week, with guy s available to play,” Cosgrove said during this morning's CAA teleconference.
With Cosgrove expecting his team’s injury report later this afternoon, the key now is to prepare the offense not just to rebound as a unit from potential injuries but also to develop depth – something that’s been a theme for the Black Bears (2-1) since the start of training camp in August.
“That’s critical because a number of first-team guys are stressed, and they’ve played too many reps,” Cosgrove said. “We have to build from the bottom up this week in practice. It creates more opportunities for younger players, and it leads to a good approach and to a good practice for the week.”
The bye week, Cosgrove said, couldn’t come at a better time – after Maine’s three nonconference games and ahead of its CAA opener Oct. 1 against Delaware, which lost to Eastern Washington in the 2010 FCS national championship game.
“We’re probably where we should be, winning two FCS games (against Bryant and at Albany) and losing an FBS game (at Pitt),” Cosgrove said. “We’ve done some good things along the way, with the attitude and the work ethic of the team, and its discipline.
“We have some good football players but like everybody in the league, we’re going to be challenged by depth. In two weeks we have Delaware, who’s won national championships and who’s played in national championship games, so we’re focusing on that.”
A few notes to catch up on while I was in Italy during the past nine days …
Maine field hockey captain Kelly Newton became the program’s all-time leading goal scorer, notching her 48th goal in four years in last Friday’s 5-0 win at Providence. Newton had three goals and two assists in the win, and has 50 career goals entering Saturday's game against Lehigh in Hamden, Conn. The Black Bears are ranked 17th in the country by Womensfieldhockey.com and are on an eight-game winning streak.
Maine softball coach Deb Smith resigned after three seasons, and eight overall with the Black Bears – she also was Maine’s head coach from 2000-2004. Smith, a 1994 Maine graduate, did not give a reason for her resignation
Nate Phillippe joins the Maine men’s basketball staff as an assistant coach for the 2011-2012 season. Phillippe previously coached at North Dakota, where he was in charge of recruiting, scouting, academic monitoring and working with North Dakota’s post players. Phillippe replaces Chris Markwood; the South Portland resident and former Maine standout joined the men’s basketball staff at Vermont.
Alfond Arena is open for business after a multi-million-dollar renovation. If you’re following the Black Bears on Twitter, several have taken to posting photos of the facility, post face-lift.
And, in somewhat of a coup, the Capuano family legacy will not continue at Maine for the time being. Max Capuano, the son of former Maine standout Dave Capuano and the nephew of New York Islanders coach Jack Capuano (who also played at Maine), recently gave Providence a verbal commitment to join the Friars in the fall of 2012.
Capuano, a 20-year-old right wing, scored 33 goals and 50 assists in 43 games in 2010-2011 with the Walpole Express of the Atlantic Junior Hockey League.