ORONO, Maine -- The University of Maine football team will host the 10th annual 'Jeff Cole Memorial Scrimmage' on Saturday, May 3 beginning at 10 a.m. at Alfond Stadium. Admission to the scrimmage is FREE and all fans are encouraged to attend and get an early look at the 2014 Black Bears.
Maine's annual spring scrimmage pays respect to former assistant coach Jeff Cole (1974-2004) who served on the Black Bears' staff for six years. Cole is best remembered for his passion for life and the game of football, his commitment to education and his love for family and friends. Jeff Cole passed away on Oct. 18, 2004 after a multi-year battle with cancer. Cole is responsible for the Maine 'One Direction' arrow seen on every players helmet as well as engraved into the 'One Direction' rock at the entrance to Alfond Stadium. Cole's 'One Direction' motto has been adopted by the Black Bears as their symbol of one group working together and moving as a single unit in one direction.
During his tenure with the Black Bears he coached the running backs, tight ends and wide receiver positions. He also served as the team's special teams coordinator. His impact on the young men he coached as a teacher, mentor and friend was immeasurable. An endowed foundation has been initiated in Cole's memory. The Mission of the Jeff Cole Foundation is to raise funds for the purposes of providing academic scholarships to graduation Avon High School (Avon, N.J.) seniors planning to study education or history; otherwise promoting the value of higher education; and supporting high school and intercollegiate athletics to best commemorate his life. Persons wishing to make a gift to the Jeff Cole Foundation may direct contributions to:
Jeff Cole Foundation
PO Box 2571
Bangor, Maine - 04402
WHAT TO WATCH FOR AT SATURDAY'S SPRING GAME:
The Black Bears will return 30 lettermen (13 offense/15 defense/2 specialist), including 15 starters (5 offense, 8 defense, 2 specialist), from its 2013 Colonial Athletic Association championship team.
- Quarterback: Following the loss of Colonial Athletic Association first team all-conference selection Marcus Wasilewski, Maine will be looking for the next quarterback in line. Dan Collins (#14) returns with the most experience as a sophomore while redshirt freshmen Kellen Croce (4) and Dan Hoffer (10) also figure into the battle.
- Running Back: Junior Nigel Jones (26), who split carries last season with senior Rickey Stevens, returns in the back field a year after rushing for 596 yards and a team-high eight rushing touchdowns. Speedy sophomore Sacoy Malone (28) looks to figure into the mix while redshirt freshmen Vasilios Grigorakos (41) and Jerickson Fedrick (34) battle for time at tailback. Senior leader Carlton Charles (12), who has struggled with injuries over his time at Maine, leads the way at fullback. Charles will be backed by sophomore Jeremy Salmon (36).
- Wide Receiver: Despite losing three of its top five receiving threats from a year ago in John Ebeling, Derrick Johnson and All-American tight end Justin Perillo, the Black Bears return a pair of threats on the outside. Senior Damarr Aultmann (88) leads the returners a year after hauling in 46 catches for 550 yards and five scores and will be joined by fellow senior Arthur Williams (89) (24 catches, 344 yards, 3 TDs). Sophomore Jordan Dunn (81) looks to factor significantly into the receiving corps joined by junior John Hardy (87) and redshirt freshmen Jaleel Reed (83) and Jared Osumah (42). Looking at the tight ends, sophomore Sean Reuss returns a year after backing up Perillo and recording five catches for 74 yards. Reuss will be joined by the physical Max Andrews (86) and redshirt freshmen Jason Simonovich (47) and Michael Supp (48).
- Offensive Line: The O-Line will look to fill in key losses from CAA first team selection Jeff Gakos and second-team honoree Joe Hook along with senior leader Tyler Patterson. Bruce Johnson (55) returns at center as a junior along with fellow junior right guard Daniel Carriker (56). Ben Wezel (70), at 6-8, 305 lbs. looks to slide in at left tackle while redshirt freshman Isaiah Brooks will opposite him at right tackle. Redshirt freshman John Reddington (78) will be currently slotted in at right guard while fellow redshirt freshman Daniel Burrows (67) battles for time in the mix.
- Linebackers: The Black Bears return eight starters on defense led by its linebackers and top two tacklers in CAA defensive rookie of the year Christophe Mulumba Tshimanga (4) (118 tackles) and Cabrinni Goncalves (2) (101 tackles). Junior Randy Samuels (32) looks to step in the void left at linebacker by senior leader Troy Eastman. Junior Matt LeBlanc (43) and redshirt freshmen Austin Brown (30) and Ben Davis (57) will provide key depth in the middle line of defense.
- Defensive Line: Maine loses a pair of threats at defensive line in all-time sacks leader Mike Cole and Erwin Roach but will enter 2014 very deep along the line. The versatile Trevor Bates (92) will pave the way on defense and will be joined by Maine's fourth leading tackler from a year ago in sophomore Patrick Ricard (44). Veteran stopper Matt Wilson (52) enters his senior year inside for the Black Hole defense while Maine also gains Mike Kozlakowski (95) back from injury who, two years ago, recorded 47 tackles and 5.0 sacks. Senior Devin Clark (97) looks to be a large part at tackle along with senior Jonathan Louis (91), who played in all 13 games in 2013, and sophomore Darius Greene (98), who saw action in seven games before going down with an injury, figure into the mix.
- Secondary: Maine's biggest question mark on defense comes in the secondary with the loss of All-American and CAA first team selection at corner back Kendall James, senior leader Jamal Clay at safety and Michael Mangiarelli. However, the Black Bears return heavy experience in senior Axel Ofori (1) at corner. Ofori has seen action in all but one game during his career at Maine and led the Black Bears with three interceptions a year ago. Also returning in the secondary will be senior leader Khari Al-Mateen (24) who slots in at free safety a year after notching 35 tackles and an interception. Junior Sherrod Baltimore (3), who gained great experience at the end of last season when called upon to step in, will be first in line to replace James at corner. Sophomore Davonte Burke (31), who missed last season, will be slotted in to fill the void at strong safety. Senior Patrick Pascal (25) and redshirt freshman Spencer Carey (19) will assist in the secondary along with sophomore Javar Coleman (22) at corner.
- Kickers/Punters: CAA first team selection at kicker Sean Decloux (37) returns for his junior season a year after hitting a school-record 16 field goals. Senior veteran Jeff Ondish (35) will do the punting for the Black Bears. Redshirt freshman Sam Lenson (38) will back each Decloux and Ondish.