PORTLAND — It still feels like summer, but fall is coming soon. On Thursday, the Maine Chapter of the National Football Foundation hosted its annual kickoff luncheon, at which the head coach of each of the state’s six college football teams said a few words about his team and the upcoming season.

The University of Maine will be the first college team in Maine to begin, when players report to preseason camp on Sunday. The Black Bears open the season on Sept. 5 at Boston College in the first of two games against Football Bowl Subdivision opponents this season. Maine travels to New Orleans to take on Tulane on Sept. 19.

“We have a very challenging schedule,” Maine coach Jack Cosgrove said. “Fortunately, we have a bye week in between our FBS opponents.”

Before talking about the upcoming season, Cosgrove addressed the growing problem of head injuries in football. Football is a naturally voilent game, Cosgrove said, but in recent years has become even more so.

“Our game is getting more violent. We have bigger, stronger, faster athletes,” Cosgrove said. “We have eight guys who cannot play for us because of injury.”

Cosgrove said he and his coaching staff will try to be prudent with the Black Bears during the preseason, in an effort to keep players healthy and ready to play on Saturdays.

• • •

As usual, Colby’s schedule will be frontloaded with its toughest opponents. Colby’s first four games are against Trinity, Middlebury, Wesleyan and Amherst, team that went a combined 26-6 in 2014, and finished as the top four teams in the New England Smal College Athletic Conference.

“That’s a reality we’ve known about for nine months,” Colby head coach Jonathan Michaeles said.

Colby opens the season on Sept. 26 at home against Trinity. The Mules have just 12 seniors, Michaeles said.

“But it’s a good group. It’s a group of guys with no egos,” Michaeles said.

• • •

Husson head coach Gabby Price said the key to the Eagles run to the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference title and a trip to the NCAA playoffs in 2014 was the work the team put in during the offseason.

In 2013, Price’s first season back as head coach after being away from the program for four years, Husson went 5-5. But losses in three of the final four games, none by more than six points, is what stuck with the Eagles.

“They weren’t happy. They were motvated by ’13,” Price said.

Husson will have to work hard to repeat the success of 2014, in which the team went 8-2, 7-0 in conference play, and ended the season with a home loss to M.I.T., 27-20, in the first round of the NCAA playoffs.

“A lot of things went well for us,” Price said. “We had tremendous leadership.”

• • •

It’s rare to have two players with the same name on a football team. Not only does Maine Maritime Academy have a pair of Joe DiBiase’s on the roster, they’re both from South Portland, and they’ll both see time in the Mariners’ backfield this season.

“They have a different middle initial. That’s how we figured them out,” MMA head coach Chris McKenney said.

Joe DiBiase, a junior, wears No. 27. Joseph DiBiase, a sophmore, wears No. 28. Both are 5-foot-7. Joe is 195 pounds, while Joseph is 180.

Joe had 45 carries for 256 yards and four touchowns last season. As a freshman, Joseph had four carries for 22 yards.

The Mariners also return the Doolan twins, Jake and Josh, to the backfield. The Lawrence High grads combined for 1,500 yards rushing for MMA last season, and Jake was the New England Football Conference Offensive Rookie of the Year.

• • •

JB Wells, the new head coach at Bowdoin, is happy to be back coaching in the NESCAC, the conference in which he spent many seasons working as an assistant coach.

“I was not really expecting to have an opportunity like this,” Wells, who graduated from Trinity in 1991, said.

Wells spent the last 14 years building the football program at Endicott into a contender for the New England Football Conference title. Wells coached the Gulls to the conference title and trips to the NCAA playoffs in 2010 and 2013.

Bowdoin went 2-6 last season. While the other coaches went into more detail about returning starters, Wells did not, because he has yet to see his team even practice.

“We have no idea. We don’t have spring football. I haven’t had a chance to watch these guys play,” Wells said. “They’re anxious to win and anxious to learn. What I can tell you is these guys are ready to go.”

Wells brought his two coordinators, Shem Bloom (defense) and Tom Blumenauer (offense) from Endicott.

• • •

Bates enters the season winner of the Colby-Bates-Bowdoin rivalry in two of the last three seasons. Head coach Mark Harriman said he’s excited about the Bobcats’ offense, which features eight returning starters, coming into 2015.

One of those returning starters in senior Lawrence grad Shaun Carroll, who led the Bobcats in rushing last season with 281 yards and three touchdowns. Carroll also had 12 catches for 96 yards.

“He’ll give you everything he’s got,” Harriman said of Carroll.

Harriman is also looking forward to a healthy season for quarterback Pat Dugan. Now a senior, Dugan won the starting job as a sophomore, but broke his ankle in the second game. Last season, Dugan played in three games, but was never 100 percent healthy, Harriman said.

“I’m looking forward to having him back at full speed,” Harriman said.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.