by Sean Begin
The game for Central Connecticut football on Saturday will be recorded as another notch in the ‘L’ column, but after weeks of small gains it was a frustrating loss for head coach Pete Rossomando.
“We just didn’t make enough plays,” he said after the game. “It was a calamity of errors.”
Rossomando, in his first year as head coach of the Blue Devils (2-6, 0-3 NEC), has been finding the silver linings in his team’s performance each week. But after a 20-10 loss to Wagner over the weekend, he didn’t have an answer for the team’s struggle to find a win.
“It’s a weird team. I’ve tried every angle,” he said. “I’ve tried hard, I’ve tried backing off and having fun. They’re responding, they try at times, they just don’t play four quarters.”
The offense had a few bright moments against a good defensive team in Wagner (4-3, 2-0 NEC). Senior wide receiver Tyrell Holmes had his best day of the season, racking up 165 yards on seven catches, including a 69-yard touchdown catch.
But the offensive line struggled to keep the Seahawk defenders from getting into the backfield, stopping the running attack from Central’s all-time leading rusher Rob Hollomon and putting pressure on junior quarterback Nick SanGiacomo.
“Hard to do anything when you can’t block anybody. There were guys in the backfield on the snap,” said Rossomando. “We haven’t been good all year. Just have a great running back who makes us look good sometimes.”
Rossomando, though, is quick to place blame on himself and his coaching staff. “Obviously, we’re not coached well because we’re not getting better. We have to do a better job,” he said.
Central managed to keep things close through the first half. Neither team managed to break 200 yards of offense before halftime. Rossomando credited his defense for keeping the game close and giving the offense a shot.
“We had a couple chances [offensively] in the first half, but nothing ever materialized once we got down close,” he said. “That’s a coaching thing. We have to do a better job of communicating what we need to do. I don’t know how we can do it anymore than we already do, but we can try and simplify it even more.”
While Rossomando looks for a different way to deliver his message, Holmes is looking for better communication on the offense.
“We shot ourselves in the foot a lot,” he said of the offense’s performance on Saturday. “Whether it be quarterback with receiver, line with quarterback, as a whole unit we’re just not communicating well. We’re not getting the job done.”
While communication may be an issue, Rossomando knows there’s more to it than that. “There’s only so much talking you can do. Eventually, you have to get out there and play,” he said.
The team may be struggling, but it isn’t from a lack of effort. For Rossomando, it’s a matter of being mentally focused for an entire game.
“It’s an execution of the mental part of the play. The [team’s] attitude is fine. They get out there and practice and guys are trying to get out there even if they’re dinged up. They’re doing the right things.”
“But,” he added, “they lose focus at one point against a good team and all of a sudden you turn around and you’re down 17-7 and you ask how did that happen? And that happens because you lose focus, and it happens really quick.”
The team currently sits in last place in the Northeast Conference, but a conference win has to come first before the team can entertain any thought of a miracle run.
“It sucks that we’re not winning,” said Holmes. “At the end of the day, that’s what we’re out there to do is win. So I’m not satisfied. And I know the coaches and the rest of our team aren’t satisfied.”
The Blue Devils are on the road this week against top seed Bryant before they return home to Arute Field on Nov. 8 for the first of two straight home games against Sacred Heart and non-conference opponent Howard.