It took Drew Belcher about five minutes to get over the disappointment of losing the competition to become the University of Maine’s starting quarterback. That’s when the coaching staff asked him if he would consider moving to tight end.

Belcher, a redshirt junior from Reading, Massachusetts, always had played as a quarterback at Maine, starting nine games over his first two seasons. But after the coaches told him on Saturday that Chris Ferguson would be the starting quarterback, Belcher didn’t sulk.

“Obviously when they told me I was disappointed,” he said of his initial reaction. “I put a lot of time and energy into the quarterback.

“But they immediately came in and said we think you can help us (at tight end). It’s a new journey for me, but I’m enjoying it so far.”

Belcher has the size (6-foot-3, 240 pounds) and athletic talent to be an effective tight end. As a quarterback, he rushed for 626 yards in two years.

“Drew has been a great football player for us,” said Joe Harasymiak, Maine’s second-year head coach. “He’ll give us a chance to do some great things at the tight end position.”

Belcher said the biggest adjustment he has to make is on the mental side. As a quarterback, he had to know what every player was doing on every play. So he’s already familiar with the pass routes and the blocking schemes.

“It’s my fourth year here, I’ve watched a ton of film and when we’ve been in quarterback meetings, we’ve talked about every position,” he said. “(Now) it’s a matter of learning the proper technique and getting reps from here on.”

One big difference is that he’s no longer wearing a red no-contact jersey in practice, as he did as a quarterback. That’s led to some interesting conversations with some of the defensive players who could never take a shot at Belcher in live practices.

“Yeah, I’ve got to keep my head on a swivel now,” he said.

Belcher said he was willing to move to another position because he’s seen other players at Maine shifted from one position to another with great results. Last year, for example, Max Andrews moved from tight end to center and was one of the team’s top offensive linemen.

“As they told me, ‘We’re not just moving you to move you, we’re moving you because we think you can make a difference,'” Belcher said of the coaching staff. “The way they do stuff here, the way they structure practices and meetings, the culture they’ve created, I enjoy being part of that and it makes me trust them.

“I think we definitely have something special going on here and I want to be a part of it.”

FORMER CHEVERUS HIGH standout Joe Fitzpatrick is healthy again and has had a strong training camp. The running back played in only one game last year because of a back injury – and was redshirted, meaning he has three years of eligibility remaining. As a true freshman in 2015, he played in six games and rushed 10 times for 63 yards. Fitzpatrick has put on 10 pounds, and now weighs 225. He said he feels stronger and it shows.

In both scrimmages, Fitzpatrick showed the ability to run inside or outside, and broke several tackles.

“Last year’s redshirt gave me time to get back to my old self,” said Fitzpatrick, who is from North Yarmouth. “This whole camp I’ve felt good physically.”

Sophomore Josh Mack figures to be the starting running back, but Fitzpatrick, senior Nigel Beckford and freshman Ramon Jefferson should get plenty of playing time.

THE MEN’S BASKETBALL team announced its 2017-18 schedule, with games against some high-powered regional and national programs.

The Black Bears will open the season in the Hall of Fame Tip-off Tournament on Nov. 10 with a game at Boston College. Four days later, Maine plays at Texas Tech. The eight teams involved in the tournament will then go to Monhegan Sun in Uncasville, Connecticut, where Maine will play South Alabama on Nov. 18 then either Sacred Heart or St. Peter’s the next day.

Maine’s nonleague schedule also includes road games at Georgetown University on Nov. 28 and Fordham on Dec. 2.

Maine opens America East play with back-to-back road games at Stony Brook on Jan. 3 and at Binghamton on Jan. 6.

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