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McDaniel Football Preview

August 15, 2017
Previews:  Maryland  |  Navy  |  Towson  |  Morgan  |  Johns Hopkins  |  Stevenson 

Head Coach:
Mike Dailey (second season)
2016 Record: 3-7 overall, 3-6 Centennial Conference.  
Key Returners: WR Bamasa Bailor, QB Will Koester, LB Drew Scott, RB Perry Stefanelli.
Key Games: Sept. 2 vs. Catholic University; Nov. 11 vs. Johns Hopkins.

What a difference a year -- and a small taste of success -- can make. 

McDaniel had lost 22 straight games spanning more than two years before Spencer Wiersberg kicked a last-second field goal to beat Ursinus Sept. 24, 2016. It later added narrow wins against Dickinson and Juniata. The 3-7 record marked McDaniel's best season since 2010.

Dailey won't take this feeling for granted. The McDaniel head coach knows just how fleeting it can be.

"More than anything, it's a sense of hope," Dailey said. "Human beings function on hope. Our guys realize now they can win."

The mission now is keeping those positive vibes going past the Sept. 2 opener at Catholic University.

"Once you get beyond [the losing streak], you start to realize if you continue to play and spend yourself in a 60-minute competition, then you've got a chance," Dailey said. "The wins we got were all close. It wasn't like we were dominant in any game. We just found a way to come out on the good end."

McDaniel seems to have the pieces in place to capitalize on its newfound momentum.

Koester has the physical tools to be among the best quarterbacks in the Centennial Conference but needs to be more consistent. He enters his senior season with 21 touchdowns and 22 interceptions in 16 career games.

"The more he plays, the better he is about making good decisions in the pocket, throwing the ball on time, making the right reads," Dailey said. "I think it's just continuing the growth for him. He's working at it hard."

A familiar group of weapons should help. Koester has back his top three receivers.

The Green Terror found ground success last fall with Stefanelli providing the speed and John Chamberlin packing the power. They both return after combining for more than 1,000 rushing yards and five touchdowns.

Defensively, McDaniel must get better. The Green Terror gave up an average of 32 points and 404 yards of total offense per game in 2016. It's no coincidence the unit was much better than that in the three wins.

Dailey hopes the group learned from taking some lumps last season. He believes defensive lineman Ray Doh, linebacker Scott and cornerback Chris Inge have All-Centennial Conference potential.

McDaniel may not be ready to challenge the conference's best -- the Green Terror lost to the top five teams in the standings by an average of 22 points per game last season -- but Dailey's squad is clearly on the upswing, and that's a good feeling.

"It takes some time to get it right," Dailey said. "You have to have some patience. Everybody wants it to happen on an accelerated pace, but the reality of it is it does take a little time."

Issue 236: August 2017