Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Scouting Wagner

Jason Houghtaling


Throughout the off season I found myself having to remind a lot of fans that Wagner was not a weak opponent and the Seahawks were stacked with FBS transfer talent. But since the season started, it’s clear Wagner is not as strong as anyone thought as the team is struggling with injuries and other problems under first year Head Coach Jason Houghtaling. At 0-4 coming into this game, it’s obvious this will be seen as a chance for the Seahawks to get that first win.


Wagner started the season with their hopes resting greatly on senior option QB Chris Andrews. But Andrews was having trouble completing passes and was yanked after two games. The new QB is sophomore Alex Thomson who is also a dual threat. But like many inexperienced sophomores, Thomson has been erratic. He’s thrown some crucial interceptions and doesn’t yet seem to have the upperclassmen totally in sync with him on the field.

But in Thomson’s defense, he seems to be working with a dearth of serious talent at the skill positions. Perhaps the best Wagner weapon is junior WR Andre Yevchinecz, but even he has been held under four catches per game. The Seahawks mostly run by committee, but the leader on the ground is junior Matt McKinnon, who seems poised for a breakout game at some point. Senior Otis Wright was the rushing leader for Wagner last year, but isn’t getting as many carries this season.

The offense line has been spotty, and it could get worse. Senior Center Eddie Garcia went down to injury in last week’s loss to Robert Morris and his status is questionable for Saturday night. Wagner’s offense visibly started to stall once he went down.


The Seahawks defensive stats are a bit misleading because of the team’s opening game at Rice and the inevitable beat down that ensued. But it does appear Wagner is a bit better at stopping the run than the pass. Yardage isn’t the key problem; it’s the total number of completions allowed. The Seahawks have allowed 20 more completions than they’ve made. The bad rushing stats appear to mostly be a result of the Rice game.

There’s a lot of talent here despite the bad results.

The most fearsome weapons for Wagner’s D is senior DE Mike Mentor who has four sacks and should have a nice cheering section in the stands as he hails from very nearby Bergen County, NJ. He’s the pass rush specialist. Also from NJ is the big run stopper DT Fidel Okoye, who is a 295 monster who will be difficult to block. And yet another NJ native is Wagner’s best overall tackler, senior DB Brett Brittingham who also is a good pass defender. The best linebacker is senior Najee Harris who can rush the passer and defend the pass very well.

Special Teams

Wagner has a place kicker from Alaska, so it shouldn’t surprise anyone that he knows how to deal with the wind and other rough conditions. He hit two long field goals in last week’s loss to Robert Morris despite some crazy winds. Overall, he’s 5-8 on FG’s, but is money on kicks under 40 yards.

Junior Punter Bryan Rafano is in his first year as a starter and is posting mediocre, but not terrible stats.

Yevchinecz is the punt returner and he can be dangerous. Wright is the primary kick returner who has an 83 yard return this season but hasn’t been a consistent threat. 


Coach said...

Walt Hameline has run a terrific athletics's program at Wagner for over 30 years, and has been an outstanding football coach and recruiter. It just amazes me that in all these years that he was never even interviewed for the AD or football job at Columbia. Just too snobby to hire someone from Wagner.

Anonymous said...

Interesting I was oblivious to the retiring of Hameline. That new guy has the look of a Dave Archer Jr in way over his head - AND, one too many trips to the cookie jar. Game, set, match.

Chen1982 said...

Al and staff must have the team focused on THIS game. Not homecoming

I remain, very truly yours, Richard Szathmary said...

My prevailing impression of Wagner is formed from watching them play us in basketball. Year after year, they played like thugs. Mostly hurt themselves in the process.

Jake said...

The Staten Island Advance has a very good preview of the game with key info on the Seahawks here: