Preview: William & Mary at Hampton

Hampton vs. WM
William & Mary vs. Hampton last season via Tribe Athletics

This isn’t last year’s Hampton football team. The offseason has brought profound change to a program in need of a spark. Providing that spark is new head coach, Connell Maynor. Maynor is a former Winston-Salem State (Division II) coach who compiled an impressive 46-2 record. Maynor also brings with him a new defensive coordinator in Kenny Phillips. The Pirates are hoping that this new tandem provides the right mix for Hampton, a school that competes in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) of Division I FCS football.

Hampton Last Week: The Hampton Pirates took on their cross town rival, the Old Dominion Monarchs (now FBS), falling by a score of 41-28. The Pirates actually contended relatively well in this game and put up some serious points for an FCS school playing against an FBS opponent. They were able to chuck the ball around and rack up a significant amount of yards through the air. But while Hampton was able to get things going in the passing game, their run game really faltered, gaining a paltry 9 yards on the ground despite 26 total carries. In the end, the Pirates made mistakes, and weren’t able to hang on.

Last Meeting with the Tribe: Last season, Hampton played William & Mary at Zable Stadium in what was just the second game of the season for the Tribe. Tribe QB Michael Graham threw for 106 yards and one touchdown, Mikal Abdul-Saboor carried the ball for 111 yards and one touchdown, Kendall Anderson rushed for 97 yards and two scores, and Sean Ballard caught two balls for 52 yards and one touchdown. Overall, the Tribe dominated the game on both sides of the ball, but especially in the rushing game. The Tribe defense also held Hampton to a grand total of 24 rushing yards in the entire game. The conetest ended with a Tribe victory, 31-7.

Hampton’s Players to Watch: With a new offensive system that likes to throw the ball around, Hampton QB #12 Jaylian Williamson is a player to watch. He actually torched the Old Dominion secondary last week, completing 32 of 45 passes for 407 yards, 3 touchdowns, and one interception. The junior quarterback checks in at a diminutive 5’10” and 175 pounds on Hampton’s official website. But don’t let that fool you. Adding to his repertoire, Williamson also has the ability to tuck the ball and run, which makes him a true dual-threat quarterback. In addition, Williamson was the starting QB for Hampton who played against the Tribe last year, and he knows what to expect from our vaunted defense. 

“Those guys [William & Mary] played hard, they played physical,” Williamson said. “They try to get you out of your game. I feel like I learned a lot from that game last year and I feel like our guys will definitely come out this year with a mentality of playing physical and establishing it early in the game and not backing down. They’re a pretty good team, but we’re a good team, also, so we want to go out there and leave it all on the field, with no regrets.”

Joining Williamson on the offensive side of the ball is Hampton wide receiver #11 Rayshad Riddick. Riddick assisted Williamson in burning ODU defensive backs last week, hauling in 11 passes for 119 yards. Including Riddick, three Hampton wide receivers garnered over 90 yards a piece last week.

One player to watch on the defensive side of the ball for the Pirates is junior defensive back, #6 Breon Key. Key intercepted ODU quarterback, Taylor Heinicke twice in last week’s game alone. Those who remember when ODU was in the CAA know that Heinicke is a solid quarterback who can really spin the ball. Anyone who can pick off (twice) a senior quarterback of that caliber is worth taking note of. Fun fact: Breon Key is a true athlete, he is also on Hampton’s basketball team. He averaged 5.8 points per game and shot 56.6% from the floor last season in his Sophomore year.

Tribe Keys to Victory:

  • Establish the run game early. It worked in last year’s game, stick with what works!
  • Get to the quarterback. Disrupt Williamson and don’t let him come anywhere near his numbers from last week.
  • Good Cornerback play. This will be a great early-season test for our corners and safeties; shut-down play will be needed.

Tribe Injury Updates: As far as we know, Tre McBride is still day-to-day and we think it is more than likely that the team will keep him out this week to keep him fresh for CAA play. Rushing McBride back and having him re-injured versus Hampton would do the team absolutely no good. Though losing valuable game time reps with newly crowned QB Steve Cluley will hurt, it may still be a good idea to keep McBride out of this one. If Tre can’t go, look for true freshman DeVonte Dedmon to receive several reps in this game.

Jimmye Laycock declared Bo Revell out for the year with a foot injury. A very tough pill for the Tribe to swallow, as Bo was a Senior captain on this year’s team at a position with very little experience behind him. Revell also handled long snapper duties, an oft-overlooked yet very important position that will now have to be replaced. We wish him all the best. No word yet on whether Revell will pursue a medical redshirt at the end of the year.

PredictionWilliam & Mary 38 Hampton 17
Hampton will be able to get some things done in the air, and it may be closer than most people think it should be. But in the end, we believe the Tribe will establish the run game, the defense will get to the quarterback, and Cluley will do enough to put the team well over the edge. Check out the official game notes here!


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