Former OLB Lamica making smooth transition to receiver

Chris Mueller, Sports Editor

There obviously weren’t a lot of positives to take out of Robert Morris’ 52-13 loss to Sacred Heart last weekend. The collective struggles continued in all three facets against the Pioneers, and now six games into the season, there’s been minimal improvement visible from a week-to-week basis—if anything, Robert Morris is regressing in several areas.

Through the chaos that’s occurred in the last few weeks, the coaches have been tweaking this and that in search of any type of spark to at least get the Colonials going. Although every move hasn’t been correct, offensive coordinator Darrin Hicks definitely hit the nail on the head by moving outside linebacker Nic Lamica to wide receiver for the long term future.

Listed 6-foot-4, 230 pounds on the official roster, Lamica has been forced to make quite the transition since the switch became official three weeks ago.

“I had to lose a lot of weight, obviously since I’m doing a lot of running,” the redshirt-freshman said. “I’ve just been getting back in the feeling of catching and tucking the ball and getting up field.”

Lamica is down 15 pounds in three weeks, showing his true athleticism at the position while trying work the kinks out. He last played receiver in high school, and has been getting extra work in with quarterback Derik Abbott after practice. Anything to establish continuity.

“It’s coming together,” Abbott said. “Obviously, I couldn’t stand [Nic] when he was on defense because he was such a pain in the ass for me. Now that he’s on our side, he’s a kid that really gives a damn about this game, so me and him are getting along really well. He’s always asking for help and we’re always going over stuff together. We need a lot more kids like him that care.”

“Any team needs that, he’s a kid that gives a crap about what he’s doing,” he added.

It’s not expected to be an easy transition, especially after starting the season on the opposite side of the ball, where he racked up 30 tackles in four games. Now asked to learn an entirely new position, the extra work after practice is making up for lost time. The routes look crisp, and the potential is evident.

It’s also beginning to pay off.

Against Sacred Heart, Lamica caught four passes for 93 yards and his first career touchdown reception, a 20-yard score in the fourth quarter. Lamica is getting better in his route-running, and is displaying clear ability to gain enough separation from defenders. He already has the perfect frame to do so.

“He’s a big target and he can move down the field, so being able to put the ball in a certain area and knowing he can run under it and make that catch,” said Abbott. “He’s got a long wingspan, so obviously that’s a quarterback’s friend.”.

Lamica at receiver gives the Robert Morris offense a one-two punch at the position alongside senior Duane Mitchell. Mix in Sean Gavin to the equation and it’s a dangerous mix, a group that should be utilized much more than it currently is.

“We’re going to work him in slow into what we try to do with him as a guy that’s been playing receiver for us for two weeks,” said Hicks. “But he’s a guy that can be very exciting for us.”

Lamica, Abbott and the rest of the RMU offense will look to exploit a Central Connecticut State secondary that gave up four touchdowns through the air last week to Duquesne quarterback Dillon Beuchel. Kickoff is set for noon at Joe Walton Stadium.