#34 Maine FCS Football 2012 Preview

George Hammond

Maine Black Bears

2012 Overall Rank: #34
#6 Colonial
Maine FCS College Football 2012 Team Preview
Maine Team Page


Its CAA brethren already knew how tough an opponent the Maine Black Bears could be, but perennial FCS contender Appalachian State discovered that painful lesson last December when Maine visited Boone, N.C., and spanked the Mountaineers 34-12 in playoff action. A week later, Maine’s season came to an end when it lost to Georgia Southern 35-23 in the FCS quarterfinals. Still, the 9-4 mark was one of the best in school history and the No. 8 final ranking was the best among CAA teams. Maine is looking for its third NCAA playoff appearance in five years in 2012, and it would be a first in school history. The Black Bears’ season opener against Boston College will be the 1,000th in the program’s history.

2011 Record: (9-4, 6-2)
2011 Postseason: FCS Playoffs
Coach: Jack Cosgrove (106-112 at Maine, 106-112 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Kevin Bourgoin
Defensive Coordinator: Paul Ferraro

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: David Hood, RB, 326 yards
Passing: None
Receiving: Maurice McDonald, WR, 591 yards
Tackles: Troy Russell, LB, 80
Sacks: Doug Alston, DL, 2.5
Interceptions: Darlos James, DB, 4

Other Key Returnees: LB Donte Dennis,  TE Justin Perillo, OL Chris Howley, OL Josh Spearin, DL Michael Cole, DL Erwin Roach, DB Kendall James, OL Jeff Gakos, OL Garret Williamson, QB Marcus Wasilewski, QB John Eberling.

Key Losses: QB Warren Smith, RB Pushaun Brown, OL Steve Shea, WR Derek Session,  LB Vinson Givans, DB Jerron McMillian, DB Trevor Coston.

There are two: the offensive line and linebacking corps. The four returnees on the offensive line (Chris Howley, Jeff Gakos, Josh Spearin and Garret Williamson) have a combined 101 career starts in their tenure at Maine. Meanwhile, the linebacking group, which returns five players who saw significant action in 2011, returns Donte Dennis, too. The 2011 preseason All-American redshirted last year after suffering an elbow injury.  There’s plenty of depth at wide receiver, too, with All-CAA selection Maurice McDonald and fellow senior Derrick Johnson (he started the first three games last year before an injury ended his season). Because of that injury, sophomores Damarr Aultman and Arthur Williams saw a lot of action. Each had more than 500 yards receiving. In addition, tight end Justin Perillo returns (51 receptions).

Maine is untested at quarterback, and the Black Bears’ hopes could depend on finding a solid replacement for Warren Smith, who took just about every snap in 2011. Maine was ranked 36th in the nation with a 29.31 scoring average and with a new quarterback, it might be hard pressed to duplicate that number. Marcus Wasilewski and John Eberling saw playing time last year – just not at quarterback. Wasilewski played special teams and Eberling was a receiver. Wasilewski is the front-runner for the job. He completed 6-of-11 passes for 70 yards in the spring contest. In addition to a new quarterback, Maine needs to find a replacement for running back Pushaun Jones (1,093 yards last year). The Bears must find replacements on the defensive line for Raibonne Charles, who was fifth on the team last year in tackles.

The Bottom Line:
Can last year’s success rub off on the 2012 Black Bears even with major holes to fill? It won’t be easy because another tough schedule looms. Plus, the Black Bears were an opportunistic bunch in 2011. They were 25th in the nation in turnover margin and this year’s edition needs to come close to duplicating those numbers for a successful year. Last season Maine finished playing the 11th most difficult schedule in the nation. This year Maine opens at ACC foe Boston College, which will be the 1,000th game in Black Bear history. The following three games hold the key – at Bryant, Albany and Villanova. Maine needs its quarterback to mature quickly so it’s ready to handle a tough stretch of CAA games in October. The defense should be solid, but the inexperience at quarterback will hurt.

Projected Postseason: None

2011 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 133.15 (76th in nation, 8th in conference)
Passing Offense: 240.15 (28, 5)
Total Offense: 373.31 (50, 4)
Scoring Offense: 29.31 (36, 4)
Rushing Defense: 161.85 (72, 9)
Pass Defense: 190.62 (31, 1)
Total Defense: 352.46 (51, 2)
Scoring Defense: 23.85 (42, 4)
Turnover Margin: .69 (25, 3T)
Sacks: 2.54 (26, 3T)
Sacks Allowed: 1.54 (36, 1)

Madness 2012 FCS Football Recruit Rankings:
#58 Nigel Jones
#85 Calvert Schaefer