by Tyler Roaix
After a disappointing 2-9 record in 2016, The Central Connecticut State University Football team and Head Coach Pete Rossomando, are looking to bounce back. Finishing fourth in the NEC Preseason Coaches Poll, the Blue Devils look to make the postseason for the first time since Rossomando took over in 2014.
Rossomando and the coaching staff had to go into this year’s camp with a different game plan than in years past. In April, the NCAA voted to outlaw “two-a-day” practices in an effort to prevent players from getting injured as easily. “I actually think it’s really helped our kids,” Rossomando said of the rule change. “The academic part of football has gotten better. You know, more time for meetings, makes it easier for them to digest everything.”
Rossomando also cited how important it is to keep players safe, especially with so much being debated over the complications players face with head-related injuries while on the field.
One player that will be in the spotlight all year long for the Blue Devils will be starting quarterback Jacob Dolegala. The junior is coming off of a solid year statistically, as he led the Northeastern Conference in total passing offense with 266.7 yards per game through the air.
“We know he’s got talent. 6’ 6”, 235 [pounds], he’s a big guy who can throw the football,” Rossomando said of his quarterback. “But he’s really developed as a learner. He knows the offense and he’s much more confident than last year.”
Central will also have to develop the running to become a more balanced offense. Finishing fifth in the conference in rushing offense last season, that element never got to the level of production Rossomando wanted. Senior Cameron Nash, will look to make his mark in his final year at CCSU.
But if the Blue Devils have any hope of postseason football this year, the defense will need to step up. The team struggled on that side of the ball in 2016, finishing last in the NEC in total defense and scoring defense. But Central will rely on some of its key defensive stars, like linebacker Randall Laguerre and defensive back Jevon Elmore, to command the defense and help the team improve from its two-win season in 2016.
What may be the biggest benefit going into the 2017 season for CCSU is that they have 18 starters returning from last season, including eight on both offense and defense. Rossomando shared how he thinks this has benefited the offensive line the most, as he highlighted that this unit was the most critical to develop in training camp. They’ve been able to stick together and stay healthy, along with the fact that eight of the team’s 16 offensive linemen are from Connecticut.
After a disappointing 50-7 season opening loss on the road against Syracuse, Central returns home for its first game at Arute Field Saturday, September 9 to play Fordham.