ORONO, Maine — With a refreshing breeze ushering in cooler weather more reminiscent of football season, the University of Maine wrapped up its preseason camp with a Thursday morning practice on Morse Field at Alfond Stadium.
The Bears appeared to remain focused on their tasks, but there was a palpable sense of joy that training camp was finally coming to an end.
“For the most part, I was pretty happy with today’s enthusiasm and attitude, but there’s no doubt everybody’s breathing a sigh of relief to get a couple days to get our legs back and not worry about the heat as much,” said senior quarterback and co-captain Mike Brusko.
The protracted heat and humidity during August presented a physical challenge for the Bears, even those like Brusko who have gone through five training camps in Orono.
“It was the fact there were so many consecutive days that were just brutally hot,” Brusko said. “I just told the guys, I thought we did a good job of not complaining and coming out and working through it every day.”
Head coach Jack Cosgrove is pleased with the progress his still-youthful team has made, especially in light of the challenging conditions.
“Their attitude, their effort and their perseverance has been outstanding,” said Cosgrove, who applauded the fact all 90 players who reported to camp stuck it out.
“We’ve challenged them,” he added. “We’ve been very aggressive in going after the plan we had down before preseason in terms of installation of our offense, defense and special teams play books. We haven’t backed down from that. We haven’t shortened practices.”
After working through the “dog days” of summer, the Bears now begin preparing in earnest for their Sept. 3 season opener, a rare Thursday (7 p.m.) contest, against St. Cloud State at Alfond Stadium.
UMaine men announce schedule
The UMaine men’s basketball team will again take on a few of the premier programs in the country during the nonconference portion of its 2009-2010 schedule announced Thursday.
Coach Ted Woodward’s Black Bears will take on the likes of Connecticut, Syracuse and Boston College as they prepare for another challenging season of America East play, which begins in January.
“As always, we take pride on challenging ourselves against some of the best teams in the country,” Woodward said in a press release. “To have UConn, Syracuse and BC on the schedule, and play against top conferences like the Big East, the ACC and Atlantic 10 for almost a third of our nonleague schedule, certainly is a tough task, but one that our guys have been preparing for throughout the offseason.”
UConn was a Final Four participant last winter and finished the season ranked third in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll, fifth in The Associated Press Top 25 and fifth in the Rating Percentage Index used to rank all the nation’s programs.
Syracuse ranked 12th, 13th and 12th, respectively, in those samplings. The Orange lost in the South Regional semifinals of the NCAA Tournament.
Boston College, ranked No. 67 in the season-ending RPI, lost in the first round of the tournament.
UMaine also has lined up nonleague contests against Fordham, Norfolk State, Delaware State, Colgate, Columbia, Brown, Kennesaw (Ga.) State, Quinnipiac and the University of Maine-Presque Isle, a Division III program.
However, among those schools, eight teams ranked in the bottom 67 in all of Division I in the RPI during 2008-09.
UMaine has secured four regular-season home games against Quinnipiac (Nov. 24), UMPI (Dec. 9), Kennesaw (Dec. 13) and Princeton (Dec. 20). The Bears also have lined up a Nov. 1 exhibition game against Universite Laval (Quebec).
Jerrell Boswell joins Black Bears
Jerrell Boswell, a 6-foot guard from Covington, Ga., has enrolled at UMaine and will join the Black Bear men’s basketball team this fall.
Boswell comes to UMaine from Snead State Community College in Boaz, Ala., where he was the sixth leading scorer in the Alabama Community College Conference last season averaging 18.5 points per game.
Boswell, who will have two years of eligibility, connected on 147 3-pointers and shot 41 percent from behind the arc. He logged four games in which he hit 10 or more 3-pointers and drained 15 in one contest.
“Jerrell certainly adds some deep-range shooting and explosive scoring punch to our wing positions,” Woodward said in a release. “He is a great shooter with a very quick release who can stretch the defense.”
The eligibility of all student-athletes is contingent upon their admission to UMaine and compliance with NCAA initial-eligibility guidelines.
Bowdoin football names coaches
Bowdoin College head football coach Dave Caputi has announced the hiring of three assistant coaches for 2009.
Mickey Rehring, Sean Welch and Ben Larkins join the Polar Bears staff.
Rehring, who will coach the defensive line, was a four-year starter at Franklin & Marshall College and coached there last season.
Welch, who was a student assistant at Bowdoin last season, will become a full-time staffer as the defensive backs coach. He played three seasons in Brunswick.
Larkins, an All-New England Small College Athletic Conference pick at Bowdoin as a senior in 2008. He will handle the running backs.