Vailas to start in home opener
Sophomore QB to get start in place of injured Sean Goldrich
Published: Friday, September 14, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 15:02
As the weekend approaches, the University of New Hampshire football program gears up for its home opener against Central Connecticut State University. The game will take place at Cowell Stadium on Saturday at noon.
Sophomore Andy Vailas will be starting at the quarterback position in place of redshirt-freshman Sean Goldrich who, according to head coach Sean McDonnell, suffered a “slight separation of his AC joint” in his right (throwing) shoulder on the second offensive play of last Saturday’s crushing loss to Minnesota, 44-7.
Saturday will be Vailas’ first start in collegiate football. Vailas is from Bedford, N.H. and went to Bishop Guertin, where he was an all-state QB his senior year, as well as an all-state split-end his junior year. As a senior, he led the Cardinals to victory in the D-II state championship.
Vailas said he is excited to start and feels as prepared as any other week.
Goldrich is expected to be out for two to three weeks.
“You can never tell how quick people heal,” McDonnell said in his midweek talk with the media. “He took a pretty good shot there from watching the tape … now we got to go to work with Vailas and Brady. Next guy in.”
Goldrich suffered the same injury in a high school all-star game before beginning his freshman year at UNH.
Goldrich was injured as he carried the ball up the middle of line and was hit by a defender.
“The more you run the quarterback, the higher the risk of him getting hurt,” McDonnell said.
Vailas took over in the Minnesota game and completed 18 of 34 passes for 158 yards. He also threw one interception and was sacked four times.
“Andy is a terrific athlete,” McDonnell said. “He can really get going when he is on the perimeter.”
Vailas had one series in the Holy Cross game where he completed four out of four passes for 59 yards and a touchdown.
Getting called into the game so suddenly shocked Vailas at first, who was on the sideline with backup senior QB James Brady giving the signals to the offense.
Vailas described the situation, saying that he did not realize that Goldrich was hurt, and the next thing he knew he was on the field.
“I didn’t even have my helmet on and someone said I was going in and I said alright and then (wide receiver) Tim Farina handed me my helmet,” Vailas said.
Brady is next up if Vailas comes off the field on Saturday. Brady has dealt with tendinitis in his right shoulder that took him out of the QB competition in the summer, but McDonnell said that Brady has been practicing well and is ready to go.
“James knows what he’s doing and that will really help us if we have to get to him on Saturday,” McDonnell said. “It’s a tough situation to be in sometimes because you have three quarterbacks, but now it’s a good situation to be in because you’ve got kids that know the offense and have been in the offense.”
Brady is expected to play at least one series Saturday.
The last time UNH and CCSU met was on Sept. 4, 2010. UNH came out on top 33-3. Two years later, the Blue Devils returned to Durham hoping for a better out than their last visit.
The Blue Devils are a team that likes to run the ball, and McDonnell noted that run defense is one aspect in particular that has to improve. The Gophers ran over the Wildcats on Saturday with 240 rushing yards.
Watch for junior quarterback Andrew Clemens who rushed for 103 yards on 15 carries against Stony Brook. In that game, Clemens also completed 8 of 11 passes for 64 yards.
Sophomore running back Rob Hollomon rushed for 111 yards on 23 carries against No. 13 Lehigh.
The Wildcat’s run defense must step up against this double-headed run threat.