Three weeks into the 2011 season and the Colonial football team is 0-3 heading into their bye week; their last lost a 13-12 heartbreaker to Morgan State. Now, the remaining eight games on the schedule are all against Northeast Conference (NEC) foes.
Before the Colonials take on Monmouth on Oct. 1, they’ll need to use the bye week to rest and refocus. Two RMU defensive starters have been sidelined due to injury, one for the remainder of the season.
In last Saturday’s loss, junior defensive tackle R.J. Cook suffered a severe ankle injury that required surgery and will cost him the rest of the season. Other than Cook, senior linebacker Jon Krepps has been out of the starting lineup since suffering a hamstring injury in practice after the 19-13 loss to Dayton the first week, but is close to returning.
On offense, senior tight end Paul Evans has been in a protective walking-boot since the 38-7 loss to Liberty in week two. The foot injury may keep Evans out for an extended period of time, but depending on his rehabilitation, could be back in two weeks.
Other than injuries, continuity has been a problem for the Colonials, especially on the offensive line. Through the first three games, RMU has given up 16 sacks. The first change was made when right tackle Jon Hill was pulled at halftime during the game in Liberty and replaced by junior Nate Hargraves.
Hargraves started and played the whole game last week in Baltimore with little to complain about. Starting left guard Brian Bevilacqua rested a sore back as Hill, Vince Mongelluzzo and Alex Kirsch all got reps in practice.
“Everybody on the o-line got quality work this week,” Kirsch stated “We focused on fundamentals and improved as an overall unit.”
Unlike the offense, the defensive line has been one of the most consistent groups for the Colonials thus far. Led by All-NEC Nolan Nearhoof, the RMU front line collected six and-a-half sacks last weekend against the Bears.
With NEC play just around the corner, the Colonials “second season” is almost underway. RMU finishes their three-game road trip at Monmouth Oct. 1 before heading home for the first ever game under the lights at Joe Walton Stadium Oc.t 8 at 7 p.m. against St. Francis University.
“We’re refocused and the first three weeks are behind us. It’s a whole new season now,” Kirsch added.