Rhode Island is something of a second home for Stony Brook University quarterback Joe Carbone. His father, Guy, played football at URI in the mid 1980s and later took his son to watch games. Guy has remained an ardent follower of the program.
But all of that will evaporate Saturday when Joe Carbone’s Seawolves host URI on Homecoming. There are no divided loyalties. “I know who he wants to win,’’ the redshirt sophomore said.
It has been a tough season for URI, which enters the game 1-5. “I think he’s pretty disappointed when they do lose but it doesn’t affect him too much,’’ Carbone said of his father. “I think he’s more invested into our team and what we have going on. I’m sure it does hurt him every time they lose because they used to be pretty good when he was there.’’
The elder Carbone played free safety and his team made it to postseason in his junior and senior years behind quarterback Tom Ehrhardt, who transferred from C.W. Post and became an All-American who later had brief looks by the Jets and Bengals.
“I hit it at the right time,’’ said Guy Carbone, a chiropractor in Wethersfield, Connecticut. “Absolutely, I go back every year. I was back two weeks ago. We had a great group of teammates. Something I always tell [Joe] about, the relationships you form will be for life. We had a great group of guys and we do stay in touch.’’
Carbone’s son often sees his dad’s friends over the summer. “They usually come down to the beach with us,’’ Joe Carbone said. “I do hear about the glory days back in the day. They talk about how good they used to be. Every year they get more and more dramatic,’’ he joked.
Joe’s father is glad his son is a quarterback. “There’s always an inherent risk in anything especially when you’re on the football field,’’ he said. “The nice thing about quarterback, you only get hit once a week, so it’s a lot safer. Is there a concern? Yes, but I don’t dwell on that. Take care of yourself, do the right things.’’
Joe added, “He tells me all the time I’m lucky, I have the best position on the field and I think I do have the best position. All week I’m staying up most of the time.’’
Rhode Island recruited Carbone. “I felt Stony Brook was a better fit academically,’’ he said. “And with coach [Chuck Priore] being a great guy that’s where I ended up. It all happens for a reason and I couldn’t be happier with where I’m at now.’’
His father had no issue with him bypassing URI, saying, saying, “I really wanted him to create his own thing. I didn’t want him to be compared to anything. I think it’s nice and fresh to be somewhere different.’’
The father-son bond has been strengthened by football. “It’s a surreal experience,’’ Joe said. “I’m very excited for the opportunity when it comes up on Saturday afternoon. Having my family there is awesome.’’ And for it to happen against his father’s alma mater? “Not too many players can say that, I’m extremely blessed,’’ he said.
There will not be much time for nostalgia once the game begins. Stony Brook is 3-2, but more importantly 2-0 in the Colonial Athletic Conference and going for its first FCS playoff berth since joining the conference in 2013.
URI has allowed an average of 43 points in its losses. Its offense also has had difficulty, averaging 13.2 points. For Stony Brook, Carbone directs a run-oriented offense that features Stacey Bedell (378 yards, seven touchdowns) and Jordan Gowins (234, one TD). Carbone has completed 58 of 107 passes for 660 yards and one TD. He has been intercepted five times.
Guy Carbone attends all of his son’s games, but this one will be extra special. Many of his former teammates from Rhode Island will be in the stands. “I talked to a couple of the guys when my son chose Stony Brook,’’ he said. “I said it looks like I’m a Seawolf for four years, then I’ll be a Ram again after that so it’s not a big deal. I had a wonderful experience at Rhode Island, love it as a school. I’d love to see them win every single game except when they play Stony Brook.’’