By Christopher Boulay
The CCSU football team is aiming to improve on a 7-4 season and a third place NEC finish as they head into this season. With a passing game that is more complex and talented than last season, Head Coach Jeff McInerney has big plans for this year’s squad.
The season opens up with three high profile road games, against Lehigh, William and Mary and Columbia.
The team had a Blue and White scrimmage last Thursday, highlighting the ability of the passing game, which will be quite dynamic with Senior quarterbacks Aubrey Norris and Hunter Wanket both sharing time under center, as well as both being capable of playing wideout. Senior James Mallory will be starting at tailback, and senior Nick Colagiovanni will be playing wide receiver.
“I definitely think that this is going to be one of the best offenses that the school has ever had,” Colagiovanni said. “Our run game has been top six in the nation since I’ve been here and now we have the passing game to go along with it. We are going to be hard to stop.”
The offense has had a knack for executing trick plays over the years, and during the Blue and White scrimmage many were tried, with success.
“We have the weapons to pull a trick play out anytime,” Norris said, “We have two quarterbacks who can run and throw. You don’t know when it’s going to happen, so it’s pretty much whenever Coach wants to throw one in there, we are ready to go.”
Coach McInerney is excited about the offense and wants to continue to make opponents guess what the team is running, and in his mind, catch them off guard.
“We have got to keep people honest and make them cover the whole field,” McInerney said. “We are just trying to make explosive plays.”
Regarding the ability of having both quarterbacks on the field simultaneously, Colagiovanni said, “They are both experienced, they both know the offense really well, so it doesn’t really matter what quarterback is in at the time, we know exactly what is expected of us and what we are going to get out of the quarterbacks.”
Norris enjoys having the dynamic ability of the offense, especially with he and Wanket playing all over the field.
“I love that. I feel that [Wanket] is a great quarterback,” Norris said. “We can put the best 11 people on the field, and I think it’s the best move.”
The team’s morale is almost tangible both on and off the field, as the players and the coaching staff are very confident of a positive finish this season, including a chance to make the FCS playoffs if the team can start off strong with their first three road games.
“[Morale] is very, very high. It’s why we have a chance. We believe,” McInerney said. “We do [have a chance at the playoffs.] It’s the truth. We have to beat William and Mary, and they may be ranked.”
CCSU will have one game televised on television in Connecticut this season, when they host Sacred Heart in their home opener on October 3 on MSG.
Central plays Lehigh on Saturday, September 5 at 12:30 p.m. in Bethlehem, Pa. The game will be televised in the Pennsylvania region on FSN Pittsburgh.