Talk about a big space to fill, junior Cody Precht faces a huge responsibility as he slides from right guard out to the right tackle spot that 6-8, 335-pound Michael Bamiro occupied the past three seasons at Stony Brook. Centerport native Precht has a powerful 6-3, 290-pound frame and the experience and smarts to understand how to play the position.
But “Big Mike,” as Bamiro was known to his teammates, was a true force in the Seawolves’ running game, paving the way for the likes of former stars Miguel Maysonet and Brock Jackolski, as well as current No. 1 running back Marcus Coker. That will be one of the major changes to watch as Stony Brook opens the season with a Colonial Athletic Association game at Rhode Island (0-1) at 1 p.m. Saturday.
“It’s not that big an adjustment,” said Precht, who is one of four returning starters on the offensive line along with center Mike Lisi, left guard Fernando Diaz and left tackle Scott Hernandez. “I practiced there in spring ball and in years past. It’s a little more out in the open, a couple more one-on-ones. I’m used to being in the middle, but playing guard and center before helps me out.
“I think it’s going to be all right…It’s a loss, but we’re practicing pretty well and meshing with Arthur Doakes, the new kid.”
The “new kid” is 6-6, 350-pound Arthur Doakes, a transfer from Pittsburgh. It might not be long before they’re calling him “Big Art,” if they aren’t already. Since transferring for the spring semester, Doakes has taken up residence (a double-wide room?) at Precht’s old right guard position.
“Honestly, he’s enormous,” Precht said with a laugh. “He’s like a wall. He definitely gives a nice double-team, so, we’re appreciative of that.”
Despite losing Bamiro, who now is on the Philadelphia Eagles’ practice squad in the NFL, Stony Brook coach Chuck Priore is confident his offensive line will maintain its high performance. He noted that Precht (pictured, No. 75) has worked as the third tackle in the past and has the athletic ability to play in space at tackle.
As for Doakes, Priore said, “He’s our most physical kid on our offensive line. He’s good at our style of football. There’s a learning curve, but this week has been a good week for him because we have a specific gameplan. I really like our starting five.”
For three straight seasons, Stony Brook has had two 1,000-yard rushers. Coker, who was the Big Ten’s second-leading rusher two years ago at Iowa, will be the primary back this season but will have backup help from Cincinnati junior transfer Jameel Poteat and sophomore Jamie Williams, who broke a 45-yard touchdown run in the Seawolves’ 17-3 scrimmage win over Penn a week ago.
Coker was held out of the scrimmage as a precaution, and Poteat, who was coming back from a concussion, was limited. The Seawolves are bound to miss Maysonet, who was runnerup for the Walter Payton Award as best FCS player last year, but Precht is looking forward to seeing what Coker can do as the featured runner.
“I think it’s going to be great for him,” Precht said. “I’m excited to see him run the ball with him being the main guy. I think he’s going to come into his own and show everyone what he can do.”
If Coker shines, as expected, Precht’s work in place of Bamiro will be a major factor.