William and Mary | College football preview

THE COACH

JIMMYE LAYCOCK

34th year (215-160-2, all at W&M)

The architect of modern William and Mary football wants no part of soft landings and a cushy endgame while rattling around the building that bears his name. That's why he shook up his offensive staff after two sub-standard seasons and brought in longtime friend and fellow W&M alum Kevin Rogers to run the offense and coach quarterbacks. Landing Rogers was a product of fortunate timing and Rogers' respect for Laycock and affection for his alma mater. It also speaks to the Big Whistle's hunger to return to the top of the conference and the FCS playoffs. The Tribe is only four years removed from the FCS semifinals, with a team that was good enough to win it all, and three years from a tie for the conference title. Laycock is convinced that the Tribe had better talent than its 2-9 record and will do whatever's necessary to avoid a repeat.

THE STANDOUTS

TRE McBRIDE

WR | 6-1 200 | JR

Preseason All-CAA and one of the league's best receivers. Good hands and speed, improving route runner. Ability to make plays, possesses a knack for coming up with balls in the air. Led the Tribe with 55 catches, 897 yards and 10 touchdowns last season. Third in the CAA in yards per catch (16.3) and fourth in receiving yards per game (81.5).

JEROME COUPLIN III

S | 6-2 215 | SR

Team captain is one of the CAA's best defensive backs. Third-team all-conference last season, when he totaled 91 tackles — fifth overall and his 8.3 tackles per game were tops among defensive backs. Effective against run and pass. Five games with double-figure tackles, including a career-high 15 versus Towson.

GEORGE BEERHALTER

DT | 6-3 280 | SR

Exceptional interior lineman and one of the team captains. Had his first healthy offseason, which allowed him to fully participate in conditioning and sets him up for excellent senior year. Enters fall in best shape of his career. Battled injury last season, playing with a soft cast on his hand that limited him to five starts and 34 total tackles.

THE SCHEDULE

Aug. 31 | at West Virginia | Noon

The Tribe opens with their annual FBS game. No Geno Smith to contend with, but the Mountaineers and their hurry-up offense and athletic defense present huge challenges.

Sept. 7 | Hampton | 7 p.m.

The teams last met in the 2004 playoffs, a wild 42-35 Tribe win. Both teams come off sub-standard seasons, due largely to offensive inconsistency. Both have new offensive coordinators.

Sept. 14 | at Lafayette | 6 p.m.