William & Mary shrugs off preseason predictions

WILLIAMSBURG (WAVY) — When the preseason predictions for the Colonial Athletic Association were released last month, William and Mary was picked to finish in 7th place in the conference, a little low perhaps, but if you ask the players, it’s no big deal.

“It really means nothing,” senior offensive lineman Chris Durant said. “Last year we were predicted 2nd and finished 5-6, and the year before that we were predicted 6th or 7th and we ended up winning the conference, so preseason rankings really mean nothing to us.”

The Tribe coaches still have not named a starting quarterback, it’s still a five way competition, with a couple of local players in the mix —– freshman Shon Mitchell from Chesapeake and Tommy McKee from Virginia Beach.

“I have three and a half years under my belt,” Mckee said. “I’ve been the back up, I’ve had game experience I know the nerves that go into it.”

“We’re all supportive, we’re all good friends, we all wear Tribe football across our chests,” Shon Mitchell said. “So we’re out here competing but we are all very supportive of each other, we’re all teammates and just want what’s best for the team.”

Whoever will be under center, he’ll have weapons. Devonte Dedmon and Andew Caskin are both seniors. Caskin is a big sure hands tight end while Dedmon a multi-threat receiver and return man from Williamsburg who has 17 career touchdowns.

“I’m hoping that he stays healthy,” coach Jimmye Laycock said. “I’m hoping that we can get him to play every game because I think that he’s a game breaker, I think he’s a big play, player and he’s one we certainly want to get the ball in his hands.”

William and Mary normally schedules a Power 5 program every year, this year, the Tribe open the season at the University of Virginia. While most FCS schools are over matched when they play FBS programs, the Tribe are almost competitive in those games.

“When we are recruiting players that’s one of the things that I want,” Laycock said. “I want guys that are up for that kind of challenge that want to compete, that maybe feel like they should be playing at that level.”

But the goal is to win the conference, a conference that includes the FCS national champions James Madison.This year, the Dukes come to Williamsburg.

“We’re playing them for homecoming, I think we’ve split like the last 4 or 5 games, whoever was home won,” Durant said. “We’re not looking at it like that, we’re just excited to get our revenge this year.”