The next time the University of Maine’s football team lines up in full pads with something at stake, it will be on Morse Field Sept. 2 against the University of Delaware’s fifth-ranked Blue Hens for their mutual season opener.
The Black Bear offense showed the ability to complete successful plays on Wednesday in its second and final scrimmage as it converted several third-and-long situations with the team’s quarterbacks hooking up with wide receivers, tight ends and running backs. Starting quarterback Joe Fagnano and steadily improving back-up Derek Robertson both saw play time.
What made the passing game especially noteworthy was that it clicked without All-Colonial Athletic Association wide receiver and captain Andre Miller from Old Town, who is nursing a groin strain but is expected to be ready for the opener.
One of the wide receivers who shone on Wednesday was Jacob Hennie, who caught several passes including a touchdown reception from Robertson.
Hennie, who caught seven passes for 97 yards and a touchdown in UMaine’s four-game spring schedule, said he likes the way the offense has come together during training camp.
“For the first scrimmage, the offense came out a little slow. The key today was to start fast and we did that by scoring a touchdown on the opening drive,” Hennie said. “This was a great day to have because we feel it now. We know what we have to do.”
Hennie, a 5-11, 185-pound senior from Rancho Cucamonga, California, said he has more confidence this season and has a better grasp of the offense.
The highlight of the scrimmage was a 30-yard pass from Robertson to sophomore wide receiver Michael Monios, who hauled it in with one hand down the left sideline.
UMaine’s wide receiver position is deep and talented, according to head coach Nick Charlton. In addition to Miller, Hennie and Monios, there is also Devin Young, who had a 41-reception 2019 season, senior Xavier Scott, and sophomore Montigo Moss.
“The receivers room is super competitive and they have a lot of continuity,” Charlton said. “These guys are all competing very, very hard with each other right now. … There are things they have to clean up just like anybody else but, overall, I’m pleased with them right now.”
Hennie agreed with Charlton’s assessment of the wide receiver corps.
“We’re deep. I just want to do what I can to help the team,” he said.
The running game was not as efficient Wednesday.
Sophomore running back Freddie Brock, who averaged 5.7 yards per carry this spring and was UMaine’s leading rusher with 165 yards on 29 carries, caught a touchdown pass from Fagnano to cap the first drive.
Fellow sophomore Tavion Banks had the most productive runs of the scrimmage.
“We still have to be able to run the football better,” Charlton said.
However, in assessing the scrimmage, Charlton was encouraged.
“We powered through it. A couple guys got banged up in there but, overall, we’re relatively healthy considering we’re over halfway through camp,” Charlton said. “There are a lot of execution things we need to clean up on both sides of the ball.”
Several potential starters were held out of the scrimmage including Andre Miller and transfer linebacker Ray Miller (sprained ankle).
Freshman wide receiver Logan Martin from Dover-Foxcroft suffered a leg injury near the end of the scrimmage and was lifted onto a cart and transported to the training room.