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slides: Central Mass College Football Preview

Monday, August 13, 2012

 

Training camp starts today for most college football teams around Central Mass, and excitement is in the air. With teams playing at the Divsion I FCS, Divsion II and Division III levels, Central Mass certainly has a variety of college football programs to choose from. So, click through the slides below to see this season's outlook, and some possible question marks, for your favorite Central Mass squad.

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Holy Cross

Outlook

Holy Cross finished second in the Patriot League in 2011, and a conference championship seems within reach for the Crusaders. Returning 17 of 22 starters, including senior pre-season All-American receiver Gerald Mistretta (pictured), certainly gives Holy Cross reason to believe it can contend with conference favorite Lehigh this season.

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Holy Cross

Major Questions

While Holy Cross brings back a starter at nearly every position, the Crusaders still don't know who will start at quarterback. Senior Kevin Watson (pictured) has the most experience, but missed all of last season, and the final portion of 2010 with an injury. Junior Max Librizzi, along with sophomores Steven Elder, Ryan Laughlin and Michael Shewchuk are all still in the mix for the starting job. 

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Worcester State

Outlook

Worcester State finished 8-3 last season, its first winning campaign since 2004, and came within a game of capturing the New England Football Conference's Bogan Division title. A high-powered offense was a trademark of the Lancers in 2011, as they finished second in the NEFC with an average of 31.5 points per game. Defensively, look for a stout run defense, led by junior defensive tackle Bryan Narcisse (pictured), to again help the Lancers rank near the top of the NEFC in red zone defense.

Photo Courtesy WSU Sports Information/Richard Orr Photography

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Worcester State

Major Questions

The Lancers, like the Crusaders, will be breaking in a new quarterback in 2012 after the graduation of Tony Tokarz. On top of that, Worcester State will have to replace leading rusher Marcus Price. On the defensive side of the ball, defensive end Tyler Assam (pictured) had a big freshman year, recording 12 tackles for a loss, but can the Milford product develop into a force on the outside to complement Narcisse on the inside?

Photo Courtesy WSU Sports Information/Richard Orr Photography

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Assumption

Outlook

Assumption is coming off a disappointing 4-6 campaign, its first losing season since 2008. But the Greyhounds do have reason for optimism as they look to rebound in the Northeast 10. Assumption brings a pair of All-Americans into this season in senior defensive end Nick Haag and junior defensive back Mike Bates. If Haag can build off his 7.5 sack performance from a year ago, second in the NE10, the Greyhound defense could have significantly more bite in 2012.

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Assumption

Major Questions

For a team with a losing record, the Greyhounds actually did many things right. Assumption outgained its opponents by an average of six yards per game, but giving up 103 first downs and 16 touchdowns through the air really deflated the Greyhound back line. Bates (pictured) did his job, grabbing six interceptions and returning three for touchdowns, but will somebody else step up in the secondary?

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WPI

Outlook

Coach Chris Roberton (pictured) gave WPI reason for optimism in his rookie season of 2010. Despite finishing 3-7, the Engineers defeated rival Rensselaer for the first time since 1996, and beat crosstown rival Worcester State in an overtime thriller. Last season, though, Robertson's program didn't take the next step the coach had hoped, going 2-7 and only 1-5 in the Liberty League.

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WPI

Major Questions

The biggest question mark for WPI has to be its defense. The Engineers gave up nearly 29 points per game and over 1,700 yards on the ground. If things are to turn around this year, senior defensive tackle Nick Chambers (pictured) and his line mates will have to clamp down against the run to give the rest of the unit a fighting chance.

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Becker

Outlook

The Hawks are coming off a frustrating 1-9 season that saw them surrender 30 points to opponents in all but two games. But, Becker does feature one of the region's more exciting players in sophomore running back/receiver/kick returner Kyle Gregg (pictured). As a freshman last season, Gregg excelled in space, accumulating over 700 total return yards and three touchdowns between kickoffs and punts. He also led Becker with 12 total touchdowns. Quarterback Robert Baker showed flashes, but will need to cut down on his turnovers. He threw 11 interceptions as a junior last year.

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Becker

Major Questions

The Hawks definitely have a ton of young talent at the offensive skill positions, but will they get consistent production from any of them? Sophomore DeMon Frazier (pictured) and classmate Corinthian Bostic both showed some big play ability as freshmen, but will need to put it all together this year. Defensively, someone will need to emerge as a pass rusher. Junior Melvin Booker led the team with four sacks last season, and will look to improve on that total in 2012.

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Anna Maria

Outlook

A new era begins for Anna Maria this season as Vincent Sinagra (pictured) takes over as head coach. Sinagara brings more than 30 years of coaching experience to the three-year old program, and the hope is that the Cats can build off the first two wins in program history, coming in last season's final two games against Becker and Husson.

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Anna Maria

Major Questions

While the Cats will be breaking in a new coach, they return a veteran at quarterback. Senior Santino Simone (pictured) enjoyed a breakout season last year, throwing for nearly 2,000 yards and 21 touchdowns. The question for Simone, as it is for most quarterbacks, will be can he cut down on the turnovers? The dual-threat signal caller added 11 touchdowns on the ground, but his 15 interceptions are a concern.

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Nichols

Outlook

It's been a tough couple of years for the Bison. Nichols went 0-10 in 2011, and haven't had a winning season since 2007. Still, Nichols does return some experience in the passing game, with junior quarterback Jacob Shoup returning after throwing for 10 scores in 2011. On the outside, senior receiver David Gonzalez (pictured) returns to the Bison offense after leading Nichols in yards per catch last season.

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Nichols

Major Questions

As with any team that goes winless, there are a number of issues to address, but Nichols really struggled to run the ball last year. With a team average of only 2.1 yards per carry, you know the Bison will be looking for someone to emerge as the primary ball carrier in training camp, and for a leader to step up on the offensive line.

 
 

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