BANGOR, Maine — The Husson University football team plays its home opener against Alfred State (N.Y.) on Saturday at noon and head coach Gabby Price will be looking for improvement from his Eagles.
Husson opened with road losses to Hartwick (33-7) and Springfield (36-0).
“We’ve done some good things. But we’ve got to coach and play better,” said Price, who has returned to coach the Eagles after a four-year absence.
“It’s a performance-based business. We have to take things we’re doing in practice and apply them for a full 60 minutes in the game,” added Price.
“The attitude and effort have been excellent. I can’t say enough about the attitude and effort. But we must get better,” he reiterated.
Price acknowledged Husson lost to two quality opponents.
“Hartwick and Springfield were excellent football teams,” said Price.
One of the bright spots so far has been the special teams.
Australian sophomore punter and place-kicker Reece Attard has averaged 39.8 yards per punt.
“The kicking game and our coverages on kickoffs and punts have been excellent,” said Price.
The offense has produced only 150 yards per game and that must get better, according to Price.
“We haven’t been moving the ball consistently enough,” said Price. “We have shown improvement. We have to get better on third down and, more importantly, we’ve got to do a better job on first down.”
Senior right tackle Cody Ziegenfus from Messalonskee High School in Oakland and junior right guard Alex Young of Rockland have been outstanding, according to Price.
First-year quarterback Ryan Stroud of Dover-Foxcroft, a junior who transferred from the University of Maine, has completed just 13 of 31 passes for 75 yards and a touchdown. He has been intercepted twice.
Husson’s leading rushers are freshman Kyle McKinnon (23 carries, 88 yards), senior Byron Jackson (13-53) and junior Ryan Dorso (20-50) of Farmingdale.
Senior wide receiver Ben Foss of Wales leads the team with five receptions for 64 yards.
On the defensive side, Price said he has received exemplary play from linebackers Ellis Throckmorton of Bangor, junior Stephan Dance and Logan Steward of Hampden.
Throckmorton leads the team with 20 tackles, Dance is second (13) and Steward is third (12). Throckmorton has two tackles for losses and Steward has one sack.
Throckmorton and Steward are freshmen and Dance is a junior.
Sophomore safeties Dom Mowrer of Orono and Joe Saccereccia of Bangor have each been in on 10 tackles.
Husson has allowed 409.5 yards per game.
Alfred State enters the game 0-2 after losing to Concordia of Michigan 35-21 and Ohio Northern 55-0.
“There are no easy opponents right now,” said Price. “But it’s great to be home. Hopefully, we’ll get our bearings.
“We’re getting close,” added Price, who guided Husson to a 24-29 record during his six seasons after the school reinstituted the sport in 2002. The Eagles went 19-10 in his last three seasons and earned a spot in an ECAC bowl game in 2008.
Price resigned after the 2009 season and the Eagles have gone 7-32 under Niles Nelson and Sean Murphy, each of whom coached the team for two seasons.