#15 William & Mary FCS Football 2015 Preview

William & Mary Tribe

Overall Rank: #15
#4 CAA

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Jimmye Laycock enters his 36th season in Williamsburg with 229 career wins. In 2014, William & Mary still had an outside chance of making the playoffs heading into its regular-season finale but came up short against rival Richmond, 34-20. The Tribe (7-5, 4-4) was one of three CAA teams to have players taken in the NFL draft this spring. Wideout Tre McBride went to the Tennessee Titans in the seventh round, and the Tribe also lost CAA Defensive Player of the Year Mike Reilly from the defensive front. So there are questions, but there’s talent returning, too. Laycock returns 13 starters (seven offense/six defense). The Tribe, who were picked to finish fourth this season in the preseason CAA coaches/media poll, had four players selected on the preseason all-CAA team. That tied for the most of any league school.

2014 Record: 7-5, 4-4
2014 Postseason: None
Coach: Jimmye Laycock (229-170-2 at William & Mary)
Offensive Coordinator: Kevin Rogers
Defensive Coordinator: Trevor Andrews

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Mikal Abdul-Saboor, RB, 1,266 yards
Passing: Steve Cluley, QB, 2,048 yards
Receiving: DeVonte Dedmon, WR, 300 yards
Tackles: Luke Rhodes, LB, 93
Sacks: Tyler Claytor, DL, 5
Interceptions: DeAndre Houston-Carson, S, 3

Other Key Returnees: C Andrew Jones, DE Peyton Gryder, DT Isaiah Stephens, OL Chris Durant, OL Jerry Ugokwe, OL Domenic Martinelli, OL Connor Hilland, DB Trey Reed, DB Aaron Swinton, DB Jared Velasquez.

Key Losses: WR Tre McBride, DE Mike Reilly, TE Bo Revell, OL Baron Goodman, WR Sean Ballard, FB Darnell Law, DE Stephen Sinnott, DT Jasper Coleman, S Ivan Tagoe.

Junior quarterback Steve Cluley returns and the Tribe is hoping he can provide consistency at that spot. Cluley showed what he can do against Villanova last year when he passed for 350 yards and three touchdowns. Running back Mikal Abdul-Saboor, who was the team’s leading rusher a year ago and also the CAA’s top rusher, returns. The offensive line should be solid with many veterans returning, including all-CAA center Andrew Jones. Defensively, senior linebacker Luke Rhodes leads the unit. One of the top linebackers in the nation, Rhodes has 191 tackles in the last two seasons. Although William & Mary lost standout defensive back Ivan Tagoe, the presence of DeAndre Houston-Carson and Jared Velasquez give the Tribe a strong duo at safety.

The big concern is the defense, but the offense needs to score more points this season if William & Mary is to be successful. Last year, it ranked 74th nationally in scoring offense (25.3 points per game) and 96th in total offense. With several key players gone from the defensive front, this is a concern for William & Mary, which was 67th in total defense nationally last year. Anytime you lose a receiver as talented as Tre McBride it’s going to hurt. Plus, the Tribe needs to find a replacement for tight end Bo Revell. The Tribe was next to last in sacks allowed in the CAA last season, but that might have been due more to injuries than anything else.

The Bottom Line:
If the Tribe can stay healthy, they have a shot to make the playoffs for the first time since 2010. The schedule is tough – especially in October when William & Mary meets Villanova, New Hampshire and James Madison. The first six games will tell the Tribe’s story: at Lafayette, at Virginia, Stony Brook, at Delaware, at Villanova and New Hampshire. If things don’t break right, the Tribe could start the season 2-4. ... if things break right, they beat Stony Brook and Delaware and then split with Villanova and New Hampshire to possibly start 4-2.

Projected Postseason: FCS Playoffs

2014 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 151.3 (78th in nation, 7th in conference)
Passing Offense: 172.0 (93, 8)
Total Offense: 323.3 (96th, 7)
Scoring Offense: 25.3 (74, 6)  
Rushing Defense: 148.6 (38, 5)
Pass Defense: 241.5 (90, 11)
Total Defense: 390.1 (67, 9)
Scoring Defense: 22.7 (32, 5)
Turnover Margin: 0.92 (6, 3)
Sacks: 2.83 (14, 4)
Sacks Allowed: 2.92 (98, 10)


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