New Hampshire Football Report

UNH Presser Points


News and notes from the University of New Hampshire’s press conference Wednesday in advance of UNH’s road game against Western Michigan on Saturday (6 p.m.):

— Western Michigan is 1-3 overall  (1-0 MAC). The Broncos opened the season with a 35-13 loss to Michigan State, beat Ball State 37-30, and then dropped a 34-13 decision to Pittsburgh and lost to San Jose State 34-6.

— UNH head coach Rick Santos on Western Michigan: “Offensively they have two quarterbacks who have have (started), so we have to figure out what kind of scheme they’re going to attack us with. Jack Solopek is more of a drop-back passer, elite arm talent. Can throw it all over. And then No. 7, Mareyohn Hrabowski, is a bigger QB. He’s more like a fullback. They have two distinct offenses when either one is in there. They’re going to run the quarterback a lot with No. 7, and then when the other guy is in there, they’re very multiple, RPOs. I think they have an explosive running back. He’s also their kick returner, Sean Tyler. I think he’s the key to the whole thing. He’s as dynamic of a running back as we’ve faced this year, so we have to tackle him well. If he gets in open space he has the ability to score any time he touches the ball, including on (special) teams. He’s definitely somebody who’s electric and we’re extremely aware of that. We have to keep him in there and cage him up.

“And then defensively they blitz from all over and they do a good job of switching up the coverages behind the same blitz patterns, so for us as an offensive staff, and more importantly our players, we have to do a great job of watching film all week. Max (quarterback Max Brosmer) in particular to make sure he can trust his progressions.”

— Salopek, a redshirt freshman, has completed 52 of 97 passes for 522 yards and one touchdown in three games. He’s been intercepted four times. Salopek did not play in last week’s loss to San Jose State reportedly because of an upper-body injury. Hrabowski, who is also a resshirt freshman, was the starting QB against San Jose State and went 4 of 8 for 56 yards. He was sacked twice. Sophomore Stone Hollenback, the No. 3 QB on the depth chart, also played and was 4 for  for 15 yards and was sacked once. His only incompletion was an interception.

— Santos on preparing for two quarterbacks with different skill-sets: “The good thing is we’ve faced some running quarterbacks through the first month of the season, so we’ve practiced a lot of the schemes that Western Michigan poses and we’ve seen on tape. So with a lot of that stuff there’s some carryover from the game plans they guys have already practiced. … The other thing is (freshman quarterback) Barry Kleinpeter is a young, talented guy for us who does a great job on the look squad. He’s extremely athletic, so I think he gives those guys a really good look. He can flat-out run, so when we do the Q-run design plays in practice he’s got a very good first step. Very quick and downhill, so I think those guys are getting good looks as well.”

— UNH has a 6-12-0 record against FBS opponents. The program’s last win against an FBS school came in 2017 against Georgia Southern (22-12).

— Defensive tackle Niko Kvietkus on the defense’s biggest challenge Saturday: “Front seven. They’re a bigger FBS opponent. We’re going to have to help out the linebackers by eating blocks. Ideally we can eat people up front and let Shaw (linebacker Bryce Shaw) and Toscano (linebacker Ryan Toscano) run free, make plays. Goal No. 1 is stop the run and then everything will fall in line after that, so the front seven has to come ready to play and buckle down.”

— Santos on freshman running back Miles Thomason, who has played in three of UNH’s four games: “Miles Thomason has been practicing really well. We want to try to fast track him a little bit. Even though he’s a true freshman he’s showed a lot of heart. He does things the right way. He loves football. He gives elite effort every single day and we’re going to reward those guys who practice that way. I think it’s a credit to him kind of forcing us to get him on the field.”

— Thomason had three rushes for 13 yards as well as two kick returns for 64 yards in last Saturday’s victory at Towson.

— Santos on the team’s injury situation:“Eichman (safety Joey Eichman) is close. He’s gonna work to practice (Wednesday). We’re gonna see if that’s gonna give him the ability to go this week. He’s 50-50 right now. I don’t think Edgar (wide receiver Andrew Edgar) is going to be back this week. He should be back the following week. He’s progressing with his hamstring. Just a little bit left in the rehab process. Mead (sophomre cornerback Caleb Mead) will be back this week (thigh contusion). Practiced Tuesday. It should be a similar two-deep to what it was last week.”


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