Down 13-0 and seemingly going nowhere last week at Maine, Stony Brook football coach Chuck Priore junked the game plan at halftime and reverted to his trademark power running game. The Seawolves came back to take a brief one-point lead before losing a 19-14 decision.
If nothing else, the Seawolves (3-5, 1-4 Colonial Athletic Association) regained a sense of identity they want to carry over against Richmond (3-6, 1-4) at 1 p.m. Saturday at LaValle Stadium.
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Recalling Priore's halftime speech, right guard Arthur Doakes said, "Coach P. told us we were going to come out old-school Stony Brook football. We were getting it done at the end. Unfortunately, we lost, but this game, we'll go right back to what we were doing the second half against Maine."
The 6-6, 350-pound Doakes, who transferred from Pitt, played a major role in plowing a path up the middle for a running game that totaled 184 yards, including a season-high 124 yards by running back James Kenner, who topped 100 yards for the second straight game. It was the style of football that attracted Doakes to Stony Brook.
"I'm a big mauler, I love power, inside zone blocking," said a player who is known for "pancaking" opponents, which is to say putting them flat on their backs. "I go out there every game trying to get as many pancakes as I can. If you're getting pancakes, you're doing something right."
As a sophomore at Pitt, Doakes started four games, including his debut against Notre Dame. But a season-ending suspension for a team rules violation before the BBVA Compass Bowl, which he declined to discuss, prompted his decision to transfer.
Priore said SBU recruited Doakes after determining he "was a high-character kid who made a mistake . . . He is extremely physical. When he gets his hands on you, you can't escape him. He's a different strength type of athlete than we've ever had."
Originally, Doakes pictured himself starting alongside former Seawolves tackle Michael Bamiro, but the NCAA ruled the 6-8, 335-pounder was out of eligibility and couldn't play as a graduate student. "It would have been nice having Mike with us," Doakes said. "Two big guys on the right side of the line."
That didn't work out, and then the Seawolves lost No. 1 running back Marcus Coker with a season-ending abdominal injury after two games. "The next guy had to step up," Doakes said, "and I think James [Kenner] has done a great job so far."
Needing to keep Richmond quarterback Michael Strauss, the No. 1 passer in the CAA, off the field to help an SBU defense missing three injured starters, the Seawolves must control the ball with the run.
"We've got to get the job done," Doakes said. "Whoever is in there, you've got to do your job."