By Matt Noonan
Last year, head coach Jeremy Cameron led his Massachusetts Maritime Buccaneers to its most successful season in over a decade. And despite the team’s 5-4 record, the Buccaneers enjoyed a great deal of success on both sides of the ball.
This year, Cameron’s squad, which features 49 letter winners and 14 starters, is expected to be a competitive bunch in the New England Football Conference. The Buccaneers earned impressive victories last season against Western New England College and Maine Maritime, (their win against the Mariners marked their first Admiral’s Cup in seven seasons).
Earlier this week, Noontime Sports caught up with Coach Cameron to talk about the team’s success last year, as well as his expectations for the upcoming season.
On training camp thus far, as well as last season: “We’ve had a really good camp thus far, probably the best we’ve had since we’ve been here, and coming off last year, we have a lot of returners back, but did lose some really good players last year, such as Walter Butler, Mike Bois, [and James] Hutchinson on defense. Those were three key guys that were accounted for a lot of plays, but we feel like we’ve got some pretty good young guys, [who’re ready] to step in and take on their roles. Offensively, we really only lost a lineman and [a receiver and tailback], but again, we’ve got some pretty decent guys that can fill in and take over.”
On the team’s expectations for the upcoming season: “We have more veterans than we’ve ever had in the past and it’s just allowed us to focus a lot more on fundamentals, technique, situations and things like that instead of having to spend so much time on actual schemes and instillation. We’re doing the same thing we did last year, we’re doing the same things that we did in the spring, so it’s almost a review, so they’re doing a great job. Our younger guys obviously have to play a lot of catch up, but fortunately we hope we don’t have to rely on too many younger players this year, but there are a few positions here and there, but overall we should be an upperclassmen team.”
On things to improve from last season: “One of the things that we were disappointed with was our rushing offense last year. We averaged something like 150 yards a game or something like that, which we want [to improve this season].”
On quarterback Mike Stanton’s progress: “He looks really sharp so far, and now [we can] get a little bit more advanced with him in terms of having him take control and doing a little bit more on his own. He’s much more comfortable in his leadership role now than he was the last two years. We also have a few other quarterbacks, who’re playing really well, too. We’ve got a transfer from Salve Regina, [Brad Skeffington], who started five games for their them [last season]. He’s a really good football player, and he may find himself a little bit of time in different packages and things like that and then our backup John Trudel is having a great camp, so we feel that’s one of the best positions we have right now. We’ve got three quarterbacks we feel pretty good about.”
On the team’s strongest offensive unit: “I think our offensive line is going to be pretty good. They’ve looked pretty good in camp. We’ve got three running backs that can all play at a pretty good level and we have five receivers, so we feel like we’ve got a lot of depth and we’re pretty much going to be two-deep everywhere. We’re going to rotate a lot of guys, play a real up tempo [offense] going into [the season].”
On the leadership of Sean Carver and Eddy Ramos: “Those guys have been good. We’ve got some experience guys [on defense] and across the board. They’ve all been very helpful to the younger kids, but Eddy has taken control of the secondary with Mike Sylvia, and Evan Sheridan moves up from safety to outside linebacker, which really gives us an athletic presence at the linebacker position that we were looking for to replace Walter Butler from last year. And then on the d-line, we’re pretty deep there and we feel like we almost have eight guys that’ll get in the rotation of the four defensive line spots.”
On the final year of MASCAC teams being apart of the New England Football Conference: “It is [bittersweet]. I thought the league was unique in the fact that you have a conference championship game. It’s the largest Division III conference in the country, so I thought it gave us an identity. I like having teams in there like MIT and the Coast Guard Academy, so you could [literally] recruit up and down the east coast and say names like that and it was name recognition, so I am disappointed for that, but our kids would be any bit excited to play in the conference championship. I am disappointed to see it end. I wish it hadn’t, but we have no control over it and now we’ll do the best we can after this year going into the MASCAC.”
On three goals for a successful season: “We want to get better every week. We will work as hard as we can, it makes no difference, and we want to stick together as a team. We’ve had some differences in the past with the offensive and defensive guys getting on each other, and I think we’re at the point now where the culture is these guys truly care about Massachusetts Maritime football and they’re together. So, play hard every week, get better and stick together.”