Obviously there aren't many places on the internet dedicated to Stony Brook athletics. After scouring high and low, we were directed to The Statesman, Stony Brook's student newspaper, and in particular sports editor Sam Kilb. Sam was more than happy to help us out in giving us a scouting report on the Seawolves, and telling us if he thinks Stony Brook can pull off the upset.
1. Obviously USF fans don't get to see that much Stony Brook football. Can you give us a brief synopsis of what Coach Priore likes to run on offense and defense?
Offensively, you're going to see a lot of run. The team has a triple-threat at running back that could be one of the top rushing attacks in the nation this year, after being ranked in the top 30 last year.
On defense, the Seawolves play a 4-3. There's a lot of talent but a lot of inexperience.
2. Who are the leaders of the team? Anyone we should keep an extra eye on?
Try to keep an eye on all the running backs. Stony Brook's offense features three running backs -- Eddie Gowins, Brock Jackolski and Miguel Maysonet -- that are game-tested playmakers. I expect Gowins to get a majority of the work, but Priore will be giving the others a chance to show themselves. Junior Michael Coulter will need to have matured at the quarterback position, so all eyes will be on him.
Defensively, the team needs someone to step up at the linebacker position. A star could be born or a major weakness exposed. Safety Arin West will be a leader on that side of the ball.
3. What are your expectations for the year? Do you expect to compete for the Big South championship?
Stony Brook should win the conference this year. The preseason polls put Stony Brook in second behind perennial Big South powerhouse Liberty. Last year, with similar poll results, Stony Brook beat Liberty in the final game of the season to earn a share of the title. This year, the winner of the Big South gets an automatic bid to the FCS national championship playoffs, so that will provide added motivation. If the team can avoid mistakes, there's enough talent to go to the playoffs.
4. Are there any true freshman that will compete for playing time? Who was the marquee name in last year's recruiting class?
Both true freshmen that will have a shot at playing this year are on the defensive side of the ball. JeVahn Cruz, a Suffolk County product who was the county player of the year last season, will fight for time at the cornerback position. Andres Trujillo, out of Miami American High School in Florida, will help fill the shoes of Stony Brook's departing All-American linebacker, Tyler Santucci.
The big story in recruiting was transfers. Five members of Hofstra's football program, which folded last winter, will wear Seawolves red this fall. Additionally, junior DB Al-Majid Hutchins joins Stony Brook from Rutgers and sophomore DB Sheldon Armstrong comes from Utah State.
5. Any predictions for Saturday? Do you think Stony Brook will pull an App State and upset the Bulls?
I'm cautiously optimistic about the game from the Stony Brook standpoint, but I don't think we're looking at an App State situation. It's Stony Brook's first game in program history against an FBS team, so the team needs to avoid getting caught up in the hype. If they keep their heads, the Seawolves have the talent for the upset. But for many of them, it will be the first time playing in a stadium this big. The mental games that plays with you will be tough for them to overcome.
Bonus 6th Question: What exactly is a Seawolf?
I'm a Seawolf!
This cheer (What's a Seawolf? I'M A SEAWOLF!) was started a couple years ago by students fed up with being taunted by opponents, and has become a rallying cry for Seawolves athletics (and one of my faves). Technically, a seawolf is either a mythical wolf-like creature who lives at sea or a wolf near the sea. According to legend, it is lucky to see a Seawolf. It's not as lucky to see one in your endzone.
Thanks to Sam for taking part in our first Bulls Recon of the year. I should have something up for him soon, and will give you the link once it goes live.