Williams College football team welcomes Middlebury to town eyeing 5-0 start
WILLIAMSTOWN — The Williams College football team crosses the midpoint of the 2018 season on Saturday.
The Ephs players and coaches are happy to be 4-0 as they prepare for the fifth game, but being satisfied is another story.
"Coach [Mark] Raymond is always talking about getting better every single weekend," quarterback Bobby Maimaron said. "I think we've done that so far and that's how we've been able to get to 4-0.
"Now, we need to continue to improve every single week, and keep that upward climb going."
Week 5 will provide the Ephs with a challenge as Middlebury visits Farley-Lamb Field for a 2 p.m. kickoff.
The Eph head coach, in the middle of his third season, was asked about being happy or satisfied.
"It's hard to quantify, right?" Raymond said after practice on Monday. "We've won four games, but I think we have a long way to go in improving and executing."
In Saturday's win over Bates, running back T.J. Dozier was the NESCAC offensive player of the week. He ran the ball 12 times for 151 yards. He scored two touchdowns and averaged 12.6 yards per carry. What is unusual, and rough for Williams' future opponents, is that he gained only 17 of those yards on two carries in the first half.
That's because Raymond and his offensive coaches decided to go with two running backs last week. Freshman Carter Begel ran the ball 11 times for 36 yards in his Williams debut.
Expect to see more of this.
"I think you've got to have two backs. You have to have two guys who can carry the ball," Raymond said. "We like to run the ball, and in order to keep guys healthy and fresh, and keep defenses challenged, we need to have two guys who can run.
"Carter's back in the lineup after being out for the first three."
Begel, a native of Sherman Oaks, Calif., played a post-graduate season at Millbrook (N.Y.) School, where he was also a good point guard on the basketball team. Begel is similar to Dozier in that he is 5-foot-10, 200 pounds and Dozier is 5-11, 205.
"They're pretty similar [runners]," said Raymond. "We'll see more of Carter as we get going. They're both tough, hard-nosed."
The Middlebury team that will visit Farley-Lamb Field on Saturday is a bit different than some of coach Bob Ritter's past teams. In the last several years, the Panthers have been a pass-first squad. They might be that way this year, but the ratios are much, much closer. In fact, Middlebury has thrown for 729 yards and ran for 638.
Quarterback Will Jernigan was only 15 of 32 for 133 yards in last week's 21-0 loss to Amherst.
"The quarterback position is a little bit different," said Raymond. "They had a great quarterback there the last couple of years who could do a lot of things."
That quarterback was Jared Lebowitz, who threw 29 touchdown passes in 2016, second most in Middlebury history.
The Panthers will run more this year with sophomore tailback Peter Scibilia, who played last year as well. That's going to put some pressure on the Williams defense, especially inside linebackers Jarrett Wesner and T.J. Rothmann. Wesner had 14 tackles in last week's win over Bates, while Rothmann had 11. Eleven of Wesner's 14 tackles were solo stops.
Rothmann, meanwhile, is second in NESCAC with 40 total tackles.
Raymond said what he is most pleased with, when it comes to this year's team, is its mindset. The players seem to let little bother them on the field.
"We've played from behind and we've played with the lead," Raymond said. "I think these guys are figuring out where we need to be to play against everyone."
Howard Herman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, at @howardherman on Twitter, or 413-496-6253.
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