New Hampshire Football Report

UNH has new leadership

Allen Lessels
UNH Insider

DURHAM — The captains are in place.

The University of New Hampshire football team has only one major task remaining before it closes out its spring season: The Spring Game in Wildcat Stadium at noon on Saturday.

Put it another way: The 2017 season opens 18 weeks – or four months – from tonight with a “Thursday Night Throwdown” game against bitter rival Maine on Aug. 31 in Wildcat Stadium (7).

Center Jake Kennedy, running back Trevon Bryant, running back Donald Goodrich and safety D’Andre Drummond-Mayrie were elected captains by their teammates. They and junior starting quarterback Trevor Knight will lead the Wildcats into Saturday’s Blue-White Spring Game at noon in Wildcat Stadium that wraps up spring football.

The new captains have already stepped up, according to UNH head coach Sean McDonnell.

“They’re four kids that I think have done a great job in taking over the leadership role since January, four kids that have emerged,” McDonnell said. “The good thing is there’s a different style from each kid. I think Bryant and Goodrich are very vocal and lead by energy and effort. Kennedy and Drummond, I think, are guys that are well respected for how they go about doing their daily business here, the work they do on the team.”

The different styles and four captains are good, the coach said.

“It’s needed,” McDonnell said. “Not one or two guys can do it anymore. Last year we were very fortunate that the three guys we had were well respected by the whole team because of how they did everything.”

Casey DeAndrade, Ryan Farrell and Adam Riese led the Wildcats to an 8-5 season, a 13th straight appearance in the FCS tournament – the longest mark in the country — and a first-round win over Lehigh in Wildcat Stadium.

“They did such a great job and set the bar so high,” Drummond-Mayrie said. “We know we have to raise that bar. Like coach Mac always says, great players, great teams, don’t rise to low expectations.”

The goals of chasing a CAA title, tournament berths and a national championship never change, nor does the pressure that comes with those pursuits.

“The playoff streak is a big part of our tradition here.” Kennedy said. “But the bigger part of our tradition is the biggest game is the next one. So we’re taking it one step at a time. Coach Mac puts us through a lot of rigorous, strenuous, stressful situations to create some pressure on us and I think we’ve handled adversity pretty well. We’ve still got to improve. There’s a lot of room to improve, especially between April 29 and July 30.”

Bryant suffered a knee injury in practice a couple of weeks ago, is due for surgery in May and will likely not be able to play this fall.

“It (being elected captain) is definitely an honor, but I think it’s going to be a challenge as well,” Bryant said. “Dealing with this injury and also having to lead the guys at the same time. I think it’s going to force me to become more mature mentally, become stronger. Just going through this myself is going to make me be a better athlete and a better leader for my teammates.”

The captains are looking forward to the season ahead.

“I’m excited to get ready for this year,” Goodrich said. “I’m excited about the team that we have. I’m really looking forward to the season coming up. I think we’ve got a lot of young talent right now. I’m excited about Trevor coming back. He’s going to be a great talent again. I think he’s going to really open up this year.”

Goodrich awaits the opener for another reason, too.

“I’m also just excited to start off with Maine,” Goodrich said. “That’s going to be an exciting game. I’m from Maine, too, so that makes the rivalry a little bit more real for me. I think the spring was good. We took some steps forward in the spring. We definitely still have some work we’ve got to get rolling on, but overall it was a good spring for us.”

Follow Allen Lessels on Twitter: @UNHInsider.

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