Kenny Scotland put his fingers in the dirt and got into a three-point stance, ready to attack. Fortunately for LIU Post quarterback Jeff Kidd, they are teammates, which meant Kidd wouldn’t be on the back end of a big hit or tackle for loss while being flushed out of the pocket. But after the 6-4, 245-pound Scotland got around the offensive tackle and forced an incomplete pass during a recent practice, he made sure the offense knew what happened.
“Practice gets a little dead sometimes, so it’s good getting after it with the offense a little bit,” Scotland said. “Talking a little trash. I love it, talking trash. When we go into the locker room, it’s all good fun after that. We’re all family in the end.”
After a 7-4 season, Post enters 2016 ranked No. 3 in the Northeast-10 Conference preseason coaches’ poll. The Pioneers return a significant amount of talent on both sides of the ball, starting with Scotland, a defensive end who led the team with 11 1⁄2 tackles for loss and was tied for first with seven sacks, and linebacker Nate Feliz, a Bellmore JFK graduate who ranked second on the team with 78 tackles.
Scotland, who has long blond hair flowing out of his helmet like Clay Matthews, dons a black band around his upper right arm and wears a multicolored tinted visor. The Comsewogue graduate brings the pressure on the quarterback that makes the rest of the defense’s job easier.
“When you have a stand-up player like Kenny — who can rush the passer like he does — it takes the pressure a little bit off those defensive backs,” said coach Bryan Collins, who added that the secondary was a weaker part of the team last season.
Collins is very confident about the offensive side, largely because of returning first-team all-conference quarterback Kidd, who led the Northeast-10 in completions (235), passing yards (2,778) and passing touchdowns (29). He has playmakers in Shane Hubbard, an All-Conference selection who led the Pioneers with 830 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns. David White and Malik Pierre (Sachem North), who split carries out of the backfield, also return.
“It makes my job 10 times easier. When you just got to get the ball to the playmakers, they make you look good,” Kidd said. “My job is easy. Just find the playmakers. They’ll do what they do best, and that’s make plays.”
Offensive tackles Chris Coles and Joseph Lacey (Patchogue-Medford), guards Chris McBride and James Louison (Hauppauge) and center Matt Carroll will be responsible for creating the lanes and the time for Kidd to get the ball to his weapons.
Hubbard said the chemistry with Kidd and the fact that this is his senior year could lead to a special season. “This is my last year, so I have to make every rep count,” he said. “Last year, it was kind of like ‘maybe I have next play. Maybe I have next year.’ But this is it.”
Post’s strong senior class has only one goal in mind, and the players believe it’s very achievable.
“At the end of the day, I’m looking to go out with a championship,” Scotland said. “That’s all that really matters at this point.”
LIU Post schedule
Saturday 1 p.m. at Virginia Union University
Sept. 10 1 p.m. vs. University of New Haven
Sept. 17 6 p.m. at Stonehill College
Sept. 24 1 p.m. vs. Bentley University
Oct. 1 1 p.m. at Assumption College
Oct. 8 1 p.m. vs. Saint Anselm College
Oct. 15 12 p.m. at Southern Connecticut State
Oct. 22 1 p.m. vs. American International College
Oct. 29 1 p.m. vs. Pace University
Nov. 5 1 p.m. at Merrimack College