6:13 PM EDT, August 17, 2013
Wide receiver Tre McBride has had a good preseason camp. The offensive line has done well. The quarterbacks are getting better. The running backs have competed and run hard.
That was the assessment of William and Mary’s offense, in order, from head coach Jimmye Laycock 11 days into preseason camp.
Quarterback remains an issue. Junior Raphael Ortiz is limited, coming back from shoulder surgery. Senior Brent Caprio is more limited, as he recovers from foot surgery.
Senior Mike Graham gets most of the work with the first-team offense. Redshirt sophomore Christian Brumbaugh and redshirt freshman Steve Cluley split most of the second-team reps.
“One day they’ll do pretty well, one day they’ll make some mistakes,” Laycock said.
Graham was held out of Saturday's scrimmage due to an illness, leaving Brumbaugh and Cluley to get most of the work.
Laycock said that he doesn’t know if Ortiz will be ready for the Aug. 31 opener at West Virginia, physically or in terms of preparation.
All of the quarterbacks have done individual work, Laycock said, but Ortiz and Caprio have been held out of team and scrimmage situations.
Ortiz, Caprio and Graham all played last season. None played long enough (injury), or well enough, to establish himself as a consistent presence.
The Tribe appears to have at least three solid options at wide receiver, with McBride, the all-conference junior, Sean Ballard and Christian Reeves, a 6-3 transfer from Virginia Tech.
Keith McBride, last year’s leading rusher, and Mikal Abdul-Saboor have split the bulk of the first-team carries, but the Tribe has other capable backs in Darnell Laws and redshirt freshman Kendall Anderson.
Versatile Matt Crisafi is one of the ringleaders of a line that's developing some reliable depth. Crisafi is one of three returning starters and has played several positions through the course of camp after playing center last season.
Placekicker and punter John Carpenter's development is encouraging. He blasted a 55-yard field goal in Saturday's scrimmage that had room to spare. Placekicking was erratic last year, and virtually non-existent from beyond 40 yards.
Laycock said the offense has just begun to put together packages of plays and run full-tilt game situations, as everyone continues to acclimate to new coordinator Kevin Rogers’ plans.
“I think they’re doing OK,” Laycock said. “I don’t think they’re knocking it out, but they’re doing OK. The other thing is they’re still getting used to the terminology and some of the different things Kevin has done with them. They’re having to think instead of just going out there and playing. That’s getting better, but in a sense they’re still kind of feeling their way. But I do see improvement.”
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