Senior quarterback Dan Collins has played with confidence throughout the University of Maine’s football preseason camp.

So it should come as no surprise that his reaction was rather muted to the news that first-year coach Joe Harasymiak had chosen him as the Black Bears’ starting quarterback.

“He’s been really confident in what he’s been doing, so it wasn’t like he jumped for joy,” said Harasymiak, who succeeded Jack Cosgrove as Maine’s head coach. “He said, ‘Coach, I know I’m the guy.’ He’s confident and that’s good to see. He looked me in the eye and said, ‘I’m ready to go.’ ”

Collins said that he trusted that Maine’s new coaching staff would make the decision based on the competition between him, junior Drew Belcher and redshirt freshman Jack Walsh.

“I just tried to go out there and compete every day the best I can,” he said. “And that’s what happened. For me, being named the starter, I think that shows they have a lot of confidence in me.

“And when you’re playing for coaches like that, it makes it easier to go out and play loose.”


This is the third consecutive year that Collins has been named Maine’s starting quarterback. But in the previous two, his competition with Belcher wasn’t determined until the final week or, in the case of last year, just a day before the Black Bears opened the season.

“I’ve been through it twice before with Coach Cos and Drew as far as making the decision,” said Collins. “When Coach (Harasymiak) told me – after (Sunday) I felt like I was getting on a roll and I was feeling confident – it didn’t surprise me. But it’s very exciting.”

Harasymiak said all along that he would name a starter after the team’s second scrimmage, which was Sunday. Collins threw three touchdown passes in that scrimmage and displayed great command of the new offense installed by first-year offensive coordinator Liam Coen.

“Danny has been playing at a very high level,” said Harasymiak. “For the most part, we knew Danny had the talent. He’s got the arm. His decision-making has improved, the way he’s commanded this offense … it was time to let him know and the team know that he’s the starting quarterback and it’s his show to run.”

The 6-foot-3, 215 pound Collins has thrown for 2,485 passing yards and 15 touchdowns in 17 career games. He has started 13 games over the last two seasons while Belcher has started 15 over the same time.

Maine, which finished 3-8 last year, opens its season on Sept. 1 at the University of Connecticut. Collins has already been preparing for that game.

“I’ve been watching them on film,” he said. “You can’t not prepare for that. And I’m sure Drew prepared exactly as I did.”

Now that the starter has been named, Harasymiak said it’s time to start making plays on the field.

“He’s shown a great presence and he’s maturing,” said Harasymiak. “Now he’s got to prove it.”

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