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Minutemen, Earl await Tribe in season-opener

  • Let's get it started
    Let's get it started  Fourth-ranked Tribe football team opens the 2010 season Saturday at Colonial Athletic Association foe Massachusetts.  Tribe Athletics
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The William & Mary football team beat Hurricane Earl out of Williamsburg, and although they may have to contend with rain and wind during Saturday’s season-opener at the University of Massachusetts, the fourth-ranked Tribe and unranked Minutemen expect the Colonial Athletic Association game to come off without any delays.

Kickoff is set for 3:30, and the game will be telecast by Comcast and broadcast on the W&M radio network at 3.

Rather than travel to Massachusetts on Friday as scheduled, coach Jimmye Laycock and team started the journey north after practice Thursday evening. Earl was expected to grow in a Category 2 storm by the time it hit Massachusetts Friday night or Saturday morning, and a state of emergency has been declared for the entire state by Gov. Deval Patrick.

With 12 starters -- six on offense, six on defense -- returning from last season’s team that equaled a school record with 11 wins, advanced to the NCAA semifinals and ranked No. 3 nationally in the final polls, the Tribe hopes to start the 2010 season with a strong performance against a team that has beaten them the last three times they’ve played.

Offensively, W&M will be led by fifth-year senior quarterback Mike Callahan, who will see his first collegiate action on Saturday. Helping lead the offensive attack will be All-American running back Jonathan Grimes, who enters his junior year as a Walter Payton Award Watch List honoree after setting a single-season school record with 2,043 all-purpose yards last fall.

Led by a trio of preseason All-Americans in linebacker Jake Trantin, defensive tackle Mike Stover and cornerback B.W. Webb, the defensive unit will look to build upon the success of last season when the team led the nation in rushing defense and ranked second in total defense and scoring defense.

UMass returns eight starters (four on each side of the ball) from last season’s team that posted a 5-6 record overall and a 3-5 mark in league play.  The Minutemen won five of six games at home last season.

Meanwhile, the broadcast team of Jay Colley and Bob Sheeran will once again relay the excitement of Tribe football over the airwaves. Colley has been a fixture of the Tribe’s sports broadcasts for more than 20 years. and in 2002, he was granted honorary alumnus status by the College.
A 1967 graduate of the College, Sheeran served as W&M’s sports information director for 16 years before entering private business in 1985. He has teamed with Colley for the last 25 years as part of the football broadcasts and has also served as an integral part of all W&M Quarterback Club booster functions since his graduation.

New for this year, Tribe football alum Matt Ridjaneck will join the broadcast team as the sideline reporter at all home games and select road contests.