Massachusetts Maritime Academy begins their 2013 campaign on Thursday when they host Maritime (N.Y.) for the Sixth Annual Chowder Cup at 7 p.m.
Noontime Sports caught up with Head Coach Jeremy Cameron to chat about the Buccaneers season and below are highlights from the conversation.
On going into the team’s first game: “The guys are practicing well, they’re really focused and we’ve got a number of upperclassmen (back), so they seem to be really locked in and moving in the right direction.”
On quarterback Mike Stanton’s final year under center: “He’s done a really good job. He’s improved every year and we expect him to take another step this year and then behind him we have two other quarterbacks that are pushing him every day in practice, so we’re real fortunate. What we need him to do is be a little bit quicker with decisions this year and know where to put the ball. We’re going to do a few more things where the ball remains in his hands and he’ll be able to make a decision at the line of scrimmage and that’s where we’re basically looking for him to make the jump.”
On a growing moment for Stanton: “He has steadily improved, but I think where he kind of came into his own was last year against Coast Guard Academy. We were down I think 28-9 at the half and he came back and was able to really put up some impressive numbers and he did some impressive things in the pocket by standing in there and taking hits. He’s really tough, so he’s not your typical quarterback, he does play banged up at times and he’s a real football player. He has the respect of his teammates and that’s what I think was his defining moment last year.”
On building on past experience: “All of our receivers are back, so we’ve been able to do some things this year that we didn’t even get to last year just in terms of executing wise and being able to be on the same page as the quarterback. Our tight ends are also back. The tailback situation – our starting tailback is back, so we’re breaking in two or three other guys behind Stefan Gustafson. Our biggest challenge is replacing Bryan Norberg at center, so we’ve got three guys that are working (as our center) and we’re replacing our left tackle from last year, but we’ve got some pretty capable guys to take those roles over, so I don’t think we’ll be too far off offensively.
“On defense, we’ve got some pretty good experience coming back with (Robert) Gratzer and (Zachary) Ryan, so I think we could be pretty strong up there. We’ve got a few others coming along and can help. Then at linebacker we’ve got some experience with (Reynard) Ortiz, (Victor) Andrade and Brian Liamos, so we feel like we’re reasonably experienced there. Then in the back end with Kevin Stanton and Sheldon Roper coming back we feel like we’re pretty decent in the secondary. We’ve got a couple other guys that we need round out the other positions, but we’ve got a couple guys like Mike Williams and Ted Mello, so we’re going to be fine.”
On competing in games with significance: “I think our kids take the two Maritime games personal because we’re really similar schools, so it’s a really good measuring stick. If we were able to beat New York and Maine that would mean a lot because we’re similar schools and the kids have similar aspirations, they go through similar experiences while they’re here, so those two games are huge. Bridgewater is right up the street, so there’s a lot of guys on our team that have friends that play for them, there’s a lot of history there and our guys certainly get up for that game as well. Then there’s the Framingham game. Tom Kelley’s son works on our staff and that’s another big game as well, but they’re all big games, though. Those four certainly stand out on our schedule”
On season objectives: “We want to get better every week. It doesn’t matter what happens because we’re looking for the guys to stick together. We’re looking for everyone to play as a team. Our guys are working toward that goal and we’re excited about the season.”