BALTIMORE, Maryland – For the second year in a row, the Maine Black Bears football squad was picked to finish ninth in the Colonial Athletic Association preseason poll. For the second year in a row, the Black Bears will look to prove the rest of the conference wrong.
Maine enters the second year of play under Joe Harasymiak, the youngest coach in Division I football. Harasymiak helped lead the Black Bears to an improved 5-3 mark in CAA play last season, a season that would ultimately come down to the final week of the season against the New Hampshire Wildcats. With a loss, Maine was eliminated from playoff contention, but there is a sense the team could be back in the midst this upcoming season after a successful run.
“We are looking forward to building on that momentum,” Harasymiak said at CAA media day Tuesday. “I think a lot of those games late in the year, we lost two out of the last three, which was key to us not making the playoffs and competing for a CAA title. If we can get over the hump and win some of those close games that we let slide by, I think we’ll be in good position again this year.”
While Maine loses role players like lineman Pat Ricard and quarterback Dan Collins, it does return a core of skill players. Seniors Jamil Demby and Najee Goode were honored by the conference Tuesday, being named to the CAA Preseason All-Conference squad. Joining them are juniors Sterling Sheffield and Micah Wright, who both achieved a fair share of success in their own right last season. Demby, Goode and Sheffield were Third Team selections last year, while Wright earned a nod on the First Team, and an FCS Sophomore All-American Honorable Mention as well.
The Black Bears open up practice Aug. 2.