The Seawolves had a subpar season in 2015, finishing 5-5 in the Colonial Athletic Association. They finished seventh in the conference at 3-5 in conference play. The Seawolves’ problem last season was consistency, which was evident when they lost five straight games in the latter half of the season. Now, they’re focused on this year, and are hoping that they can put it all together for a strong 2016 campaign.
Stony Brook head coach Chuck Priore is entering his 11th season with the Seawolves. He has a combined 62-52 record at Stony Brook and 101-61 in his 16-year head coaching tenure. He felt that the spring practices in the offseason helped the team find their niche for the season ahead.
“It helps us develop an identity,” Priore said about spring practices. “You want to develop a great work ethic and habits. We also need to do some fundamental teaching and be able to take guys and get them prepared from the shoulders up and then fundamentally develop their techniques.”
The team is bringing back 17 players that started three games in the 2015 season. Priore is looking forward to a squad loaded with depth and youth.
“We’ve got a deep team, we’ve got a young team,” Priore said. “We got a lot of guys that played a lot of football but still have a lot of years left of football, which I think is good.”
Last year, the team began their season by winning their first two games and only allowed 15 points combined. The defense was not an issue at all for the team. The problem was their offense, starting with sophomore quarterback Joe Carbone, who had only two touchdowns and eight interceptions last season. He said he has been attempting to make many improvements.
“I’ve been doing a lot of time in the film room and getting a lot of work done with the receivers over the summer,” Carbone said. “I have been going over our playbook and watching film on the defense that we are playing.”
The Seawolves lost running back Stacey Bedell due to a shoulder injury early in the season last year. He is ready to get back on the gridiron, but, with a vengeance this time. He had 351 total yards with four touchdowns in just three games last season. He averaged seven yards per carry.
“It’s another opportunity to work harder and be able to perfect my craft even more,” Bedell said. “My shoulder is at full strength and it’s been feeling great.”
With Bedell out last season, Priore turned the ball over to freshman Isaiah White and sophomore Donald Liotine.
White played in six games and had 243 total yards, averaging 3.9 yards. Liotine played 10 games and earned seven starts, running for 708 total yards averaging 4.5 yards with five touchdowns. Now, add Bedell into the mix towards the running game.
“Our running game can be lethal,” Bedel said. “We have a lot of talent and it’s going to be fun playing alongside some great backs.”
The player that stood out the most last season was wide receiver Ray Bolden, who took the CAA by storm. He led the conference with 68 receptions and led the team with 782 all-purpose yards. With a successful sophomore year, Bolden feels less pressure heading into his junior season. The energy is also much more competitive and Bolden said he loves it.
“Last season, I was playing to prove more so to my coaches that I could be the player they expect of me and I feel I did that,” Bolden said about his sophomore season. “The biggest thing I’ve seen is the mentality we’ve taken on as a unit. I can see it in our competitive drills and just the way we work, it’s a great energy to be around.”
Lastly, Bolden explained what the team’s expectations are this season and that they are not any higher or lower than they were last year.
“We’re more experienced and have added pieces to help us execute and take advantage of certain things but the standards were always high,” Bolden said.