Coach's Corner - A Letter From Coach Priore
Oct. 29, 2008
Stony Brook, N.Y. - As I reflect on our win against Coastal Carolina University last Saturday, I would have to say that the victory was perhaps the most satisfying in my three years as head coach at Stony Brook. Not only did we beat a top FCS program that has been to the national playoffs, we did it on the road in front of a homecoming crowd with a team that has been working extremely hard each week to overcome adversity and discover its own identity.
In preparation for the game, we identified two key components that would be vital to our success. First and foremost, the team mandate was to win the turnover battle. We discussed at great lengths how turnovers played a critical role in our victory over Charleston Southern University the prior week and would certainly be a factor in determining the outcome against Coastal Carolina. Sure enough, our aggressiveness on special teams forced a turnover on the opening kick-off and we quickly capitalized to take an early 7-0 lead. Our special teams units also caused two more fumbles later in the game which also led to touchdown drives.
Second, we felt we had to show a greater level of toughness against our opponents. Chris Richards '10 (Quartz Hills, Calif.) set the tone on the opening drive, leveling the Coastal running back and letting them know that they would be in for a tough hard fought battle all night long.
Good football teams also handle specific game situations with success. Twice we stopped Coastal on fourth down and offensively we recorded 20 first downs by focusing on the sound fundamentals of blocking and running. One of the most pleasing aspects of the victory was watching our redshirt freshman quarterback, Dayne Hoffman '12 (Ada, Mich.), play the last 25 minutes of the game with poise and confidence that belies his experience. His leadership at the quarterback position was outstanding and it resulted in three second-half touchdown passes. We are very proud of Dayne for how far he's come from the "neck up". His toughness and leadership the past two weeks are signs of maturity and growth and he should be commended.
While we are upbeat about back-to-back wins, we know that we must move forward by building upon the positives while at the same time addressing our weaknesses. Gardner Webb University comes to town on Saturday boasting a nationally-ranked defense that almost led them to an upset win over Georgia Tech earlier this season (they lost at Georgia Tech 10-7). GWU is well coached and have a ton of talent (and several former players in the NFL). The challenge for us will be to play Stony Brook Football with the intensity and execution we have found during the last two weeks.
We hope to see you at LaValle on Saturday for the 3 p.m. kick-off. If you can't make it, be sure to listen to us on the radio on WUSB 90.1 FM or on the web at www.GoSeawolves.org. Remember, Wear RED and Go Seawolves!