Sunday, March 20, 2011

William & Mary Tribe 2010 Review

2010 Record: 8-4 (6-2), Tied 1st Colonial
2010 Postseason: 1st Round, Lost to Georgia Southern 31-15
2010 Schedule/Results: @ UMass, L 27-23, VMI, W 45-0, @ Old Dominion, W 21-17, @ Maine, W 24-21, Villanova, W 31-24, Rhode Island, W 26-7, Delaware, W 17-16, @ North Carolina, L 21-17, @ New Hampshire, W 13-3, @ James Madison, L 30-24, Richmond, W 41-3, Georgia Southern, L 31-15


     After a season opening nail biting loss to UMass in Amherst, the Tribe went on a run and won 6 consecutive games. The future looked very bright, and coming into late October, one would have been right minded to have thought that the Tribe would be a solid choice to pick as a favorite to win the FCS title. The Tribe traveled to Chapel Hill to play FBS foe North Carolina, and the Tribe believed that they could win. They had the Tarheels on the edge all day long in that brutal slugfest, but they fell eventually. That loss set in motion a slide, as W&M finished the season 2-3 after a solid 6-1 start, culminating with an embrrassing home loss to GSU in the 1st round of the playoffs. While W&M finished the season tied (only by the grace of God) for the Colonial title, one has to believe that the season ended with a tatse of unfulfilment on the lips of every member of the Tribe.
     Everyone had to believe that Mike Paulus was going to be a strong front man for the Tribe, but Paulus went down, and that changed the dynamics of the offense. Mike Callahan came in to replace him, and did a solid job, passing for 1659 yards while passing for 10 TDs to just 3 picks. Paulus, who was limited to 6 games, passed for 883 yards and 4 TDs to 2 picks on the season. Paulus will get another shot in 2011, but his health is paramount to a succesful 2011 run, as Callahan moves on.
     Jonathon Grimes was a solid workhorse back in 2010, but still only rushed for 71.7 yards per game, with 860 overall. He rished for 8 TDs on the season to support the rattled passing game. Grimes, a junior, will be back in 2011, and more will be needed out of him, especially as the season wears on. The Tribe was held to just 129 yards on the ground per game, a number that the staff will need to see rise.
     Ryan Moody finished 6th in receiving yards in the CAA in 2010 with 731 yards. He was not used as a scoring threat, however, as he only accounted for 2 TD receptions all year. Chase Hill had 33 receptions for 490 yards as the second best receiver on the team, but he hauled in 8 TDs. Moody will return in 2011, but not Hill. DJ Mangus will likely be the top candidate to replace Hill at WR. Alex Gottlieb caught 3 TD passes as the lead TE, and he too will return.
     Sophomore LB Dante Cook gives the Tribe a piece to build around for the next two seasons, as he finished 4th in the CAA in total tackles with 111. The main issue is that the Tribe needs to find competent pieces to put around him, as only one other member of this defense ranked in the top 25 in the CAA in tackles (Evan Francks, a senior, ranked 25th).
      The Tribe did get some solid work out of the front line, as 2 linemen picked up a double didgit total in TFLs. Marcus Hyde, a junior, finished 8th in the conference with 18 total TFLs, while senior Michael Stover tied for 9th with16 total TFLs. The youngster Cook racked up 12 himself. Brian Thompson, another sophomore, came close with 9. Where the Tribe was lacking was in getting to the QB, as Hyde finished as the team leader with only 6 sacks. Cook had 4 to finish second on the team.
     The two best ballhawks on the team must be replaced. Ben Cottingham was a solid playmaker, as he defended 9 passes on the season, good for 5th in the conference. LB Wes Steinman finished up with 7 breakups. The main issue in pass defense was that Francks led this team with picks with only 3, and he was a LB. The Tribe will need to be more aggressive in pass coverage next season, but overall was solid in only giving up 175 yards passing per game.
     Drake Kuhn could have been worse as a freshman PK in 2010, but he could have been much better. When it was over, Kuhn had connect on 13 of 18 FGs in 2010. His accuracy will need to improve to give the Tribe a better shot in closer games, as 3 of the losses came by a combined 14 points. Punter David Miller, a senior, will be difficult to replace. Miller finished 2nd in the CAA with a hefty 43.04 yard per punt average on the season. Legs like that don't grow on trees, so this will be an impoprtant battle in the spring to find a credible replacement.


The Tribe should not slip much at all in 2011, as most of the primary pieces are established to return. Improvement in the passing game is a must, and a more developed rushing attack will be helpful as well. ON the defensive side, there are some heavy losses in pass coverage, but the Tribe should have the depth to remain competitive in that realm for some time. There is some very nice talent at LB and up front on D, so another CAA run could be very likely fo William & Mary.

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