Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Maine Black Bears 2010 Review

2010 Record: 4-7 (3-5), Tied 8th Colonial
2010 Postseason: None
2010 Schedule/Results: Albany, L 3-0, @ Monmouth, W 31-23, @ Syracuse, L 38-14, William & Mary, L 24-21, New Hampshire, W 16-13, @ Delaware, L 26-7, Villanova, L 48-18, @ Rhode Island, W 28-23, @ UMass, L 39-24, @ Towson, W 28-18, James Madison, L 14-10


     People who train corporate managers always say that you should start out with something positive  before you start kicking ass and taking names (I really find that to be hysterical) so that is what I'll do here. I love that Maine has stuck with the cursive logo on the helmets for so many years. It's a throwback and it looks cool. Now, here it comes. 2010 sucked. I mean the Bears really just sucked. They lost to Albany by a score of 3-0. Who gave up the bases clearing double that lost that game? The season was just a big pile of hot crap.
     Starting with the offense. Maine lost 11 fumbles, good for 4th worst in the CAA. 5th in passing, 6th in passing efficiency. 7th in rush offense. 7th in scoring offense.
     Warren Smith was highly average in 2010. He passed for 169.2 yards per game on the season, and only 1861 overall. He passed for 9 TDs, but, suffered 10 picks on his resume on the season. Another bad mark against the Black Bears. He was slighly accurate when he was passing to the correct team, having completed 64.9% of his passes.
     Jared Turcotte was a good option at RB, as he averaged a team best 74.3 yards per game, but he only lasted for 6 games. Pushaun Brown led the team with 613 yards rushing, but was only good for 55.7 yards per game over 11 games. That would be incredible if this were the Arena Football League, but alas, it is not. Brown rushed for 5 TDs.
     The Bears were a big fan of the dink and dunk passing philosophy, with no receiver going for more than 11.6 yards per reception. Derek Session was the leader with a line of 50-580-1. That was the other issue with the receiving/passing game. 8 players caught TD passes but only Brown and Justin Perillo had at least 2 TD receptions in 2010. Star quality lacking, and certainly not winning that way. The lack of productivity was evident, as the Bears scored 21 points or less 7 times in 2010.
     We'll start on the defense a bit, but the front 7 was actually not bad, as they only allowed 127 yards rushing on any given Saturday. Donte Dennis (108 tackles), Vinson Givans (87), and Trevor Coston (74) led the way in tackles on in 2010, with Givans and Dennis playing LB. Both will return in 2011, while Coston, a DB, will return in the secondary as well.
     The major issue, despite success against the run, is that Givans was the team leader in TFLs with only 9. Nobody is getting pressure in the backfield on a regular basis, and they are playing with fire by allowing most plays to get to the point of attack at the line of scrimage. Same goes for the pass rush, as Doug Alston led the team with only 4 sacks. The good news is that there is a ton of experience coming back in 2011 in the front 7, so these numbers should increase.
     Jerron McMillan played as a man on an island in 2010, as he was the only Bear that registered when it came to breaking up passes, as he had 6. That being said, the Bears gave up 227 yards passing per game, a number that does not perpetuate winning on any level. If the front 7 got hit with injuries, this defense would fold like a cheap poker table. McMillan also led the team with only 2 picks in 2010.
     Brian Harvey was underutilized as a PK in 2010, only attempting 10 FGs on the season. He made 7 of them. Harvey will be back as a junior in 2011, and will hopefully see more work. Jordan Waxman was not good. Waxman finished 7th in the CAA, averaging only 37.98 yards per punt. The defense certainly did not benefit from that number.


Any time that you finish 4-7, there will likely be very little good to take out of it. Such was the situation in 2010 for Maine. Out of 4 wins, one was high quality, and the team had major breakdowns or production failures, creating a void where they found themselves non-competitive in one of the premier FCS super conferences. The Bears are not that far away from having some quality teams in the past, so one would think that a fix is possible and all hope is not lost. There are, however, a great many doubts in my mind that lead me to believe that any of the lingering questions can be answered in 2011. This is going to be a bit of a long term project to bring wins back to far Northern New England.

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