1. NFL BLOODLINES
With Clay Beathard, younger brother of 49ers quarterback C.J. Beathard, quarterbacking the offense, the Sharks have a heady signal-caller with poise to replace Chris Laviano. The transfer from Iowa Western completed 55.2 percent of his 116 attempts last season. Head coach Bryan Collins raved about Beathard’s “good, quick release.”
2. NEW COLORS, SAME MANTRA
The gold remains, but the green is gone. In its place is a light blue that reminds Beathard of the old San Diego Chargers uniforms (his grandfather, Hall of Famer Bobby Beathard was GM of the Chargers, among other teams). The new look has brought new excitement, but Collins stressed at the NEC’s Media Day in July that the team’s mindset is the same. “We can’t forget who we are through this all,” he said. “Our expectation is to come in and compete for a championship."
3. BABY SHARKS
Just nine starters return after 22 players left the program (20 to graduation, two transfers). Collins has 35 signees to work with, and the infusion of youth should help LIU’s prospects of improving in future FCS seasons. A key freshman to watch is Liam McIntyre, a Westhampton product and last year's Hansen Award winner who will start at outside linebacker. He is one of 15 freshmen from Long Island.