The rested University of Maine football team, which was on leave last weekend, will look for more consistency in their game as they begin a seven-game streak in seven weeks, starting with the game at Saturday’s home against Elon.
UMaine head coach Nick Charlton said on the weekly CAA Coaching Zoom conference call Monday that the week has gone well.
“We worked on a lot of different things. The four additional practices were important for our football team and the players also benefited from some recovery time. They had a total of four days off, ”he noted.
The Black Bears are 1-3 overall, 0-2 in the conference, and they will face an Elon team from North Carolina who are 2-3 and 1-1 respectively. Elon comes off a 20-7 Colonial Athletic Association road victory over No.22 Richmond.
Redshirt first-year quarterback Derek Robertson will make his third straight start in place of injured Joe Fagnano, who remains on the sidelines indefinitely with an ankle injury, and the Black Bears could also be deprived of the leader Elijah Barnwell.
Barnwell also suffers from an ankle injury he sustained in the first half of UMaine’s 41-14 loss to Northern Illinois two Saturdays ago.
“Elijah is 50-50 (to play on Saturday),” Charlton said.
Barnwell, a junior redshirt who transferred to the UMaine from the Football Bowl Championship Subdivision Rutgers (New Jersey) team, gained 29 yards in five carries against NIU before injuring himself and being replaced by Freddie Brock. Brock ran 85 yards on 18 carries.
Barnwell carried the ball 48 times for 201 yards, averaging 4.2 yards per carry.
Brock, who has 40 carries for 163 yards and five receptions for 80 yards, will be the main fullback on Saturday, but Charlton said Tavion Banks and Lafayette transfer John Gay will also have time.
Charlton said the week off was good for Robertson as they worked on his timing with receivers and situational football.
UMaine has converted just 25 percent of its third downs, placing it 110th among 123 schools in the championship soccer division.
“Derek is going in the right direction. We have a lot of confidence in him, ”said Charlton. “We have to be able to handle the football and execute our passing game a little better. We are progressing.
Robertson completed 46.5% of his passes for 394 yards and two touchdowns and one interception.
Elon’s coach Tony Trisciani said he was impressed with Robertson.
“He was confident tossing the ball against northern Illinois. Their whole offense is at their disposal, ”said Trisciani, who expects a physical football match against a UMaine team who“ play very hard on both sides of the ball ”.
Charlton’s Black Bear defense is 108th in points against (39 points per game) and 105th in total yards against per game (462.8) and will face a quality veteran quarterback in senior Davis Cheek, who completed 61, 1% of his passes for 1,387 yards. and eight touchdowns with just two interceptions.
“He’s talented and he’s got a lot of experience. He does great things, ”Charlton said. “It’s a very good football team.
Elon’s defense blocked three Richmond practices inside their 10-yard line in the second half of their win over Richmond. He’s led by CAA defensive back and defensive player of the week Coie Coleman, who made seven of his eight tackles on those three shots.
Charlton said his Black Bear defense has shown some flashes of progress but needs to be more consistent and continue to force turnovers.
The defense could still be without the three-year starting defensive end Jamehl Wiley, who missed the northern Illinois game with an ankle injury.