Proof that Stony Brook running backs Miguel Maysonet and Marcus Coker are for real came when the Seawolves rushed for 217 yards in a close loss at Syracuse, followed by another 273 yards at Army in their first-ever win over an FBS opponent. But Maysonet and Coker are the first to tell you they don't do it alone.
Their gaudy numbers are a reflection of an offensive line that is among the best in the country at the FCS level and one of the major reasons ninth-ranked Stony Brook is a national title contender. A big part of their success is the work of center Mike Lisi and right guard Cody Precht, two Long Islanders who started last season as freshmen and have learned the complex blocking schemes that spring Maysonet and Coker.
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"Cody and Mike are the best of friends, and they hang together and study together all the time," coach Chuck Priore said. "They're focused, and that leads to a lot of success. We get out of games with very limited mistakes."
If the Seawolves (7-1, 3-0 Big South) follow form, they can look forward to another big day running the ball against Presbyterian (2-6, 0-3) at 1 p.m. Saturday in Clinton, S.C. The Blue Hose have allowed an average of 280 yards rushing this season.
"They're a little slow off the ball but very strong," Lisi said of the Blue Hose. "It will be tough to move them a little bit. You always feel confident, but you don't overlook them."
Lisi, from Franklin Square and Carey High School, was a redshirt freshman last season when he replaced departed All-American Paul Fenaroli. "He's just a class kid who never has a bad rep in practice," Priore said.
Precht was a true freshman from Centerport and Harborfields High who earned a full scholarship by winning the starting job. Priore credited him for making many of the pulling blocks that sprung Maysonet for 220 yards at Army.
You figure watching video after each game must be fun for the offensive line, but Precht said: "It's not fun all the time. You watch the film, and it's like one, two, three guys missed assignments, and still, Miguel is making us right. I'm not saying that's all the time, but he does help us out by making us look good."
Coker, an Iowa transfer, has a different style, but his blockers appreciate his power. "I never saw somebody run as hard as he does, popping linebackers," said Lisi, who often blasts those holes up the middle. "Miguel goes around guys, but Coker just goes right through guys. He really does wear defenses down."