Dan Collins spent the final minutes of Saturday night’s game at Tulane standing on the sideline with his right hand heavily wrapped up in an Ace bandage.
On Monday morning, University of Maine head football coach Jack Cosgrove said, “Dan’s fine,” when asked for an update on the status of the junior quarterback.
Collins was seen throwing the football later on Sunday as the UMaine contingent tried to regroup after a bleary-eyed 6 a.m. arrival in Orono.
Sophomore Drew Belcher finished out the contest at quarterback, playing two series against the Green Wave, which took advantage of its size and speed to pull away from the Black Bears in a 38-7 victory at New Orleans.
“At the end of the day, [when] we walked off the field, we got our butts kicked,” Cosgrove said during Monday’s weekly CAA coaches teleconference. “That’s the way it felt. That’s the way it looked. That’s the way it was.”
The Black Bears, who are 0-2 after games against Football Bowl Subdivision teams Boston College and Tulane, again had difficulty establishing any consistency on offense.
Collins went 11-for-25 passing good for 131 yards and was intercepted twice.
“He put some balls on the money that should have been caught and he had some questionable decisions and throws,” Cosgrove said. “Two ended up as interceptions and that’s just unacceptable stuff.”
Cosgrove also pointed to deficiencies among the receivers as a factor in UMaine’s offensive woes, which was 3-for-15 in third-down situations.
“We didn’t help [Collins] out again. We’re dropping the ball way too many times in the wideout position especially,” Cosgrove said.
Belcher, who started five games for the Black Bears in 2014 after Collins was lost with a season-ending shoulder injury, completed 7 of 13 passes for 72 yards in his stint. Most of that action was against Tulane’s backups.
“He did what we needed him to do, executed our offense; threw it, ran it and did a nice job,” Cosgrove said.
Cosgrove said Collins, who won the quarterback job during a preseason competition with Belcher, remains UMaine’s starting quarterback heading into Saturday’s 3:30 p.m. Colonial Athletic Association opener against Rhode Island on Morse Field at Alfond Stadium.
A couple of bright spots for the Black Bears on offense were sophomore tailback Nigel Beckford and redshirt freshman wideout Micah Wright.
Beckford, who missed the opener while serving a suspension for violating the student-athlete code of conduct, returned to pick up 65 yards on 13 carries, a healthy 4.5 yards per rush.
Wright, who received a medical redshirt after a shoulder injury ended his 2014 debut prematurely, caught 8 passes for 107 yards, including a 35-yarder.
The baptism by fire continued for UMaine’s young safeties at Tulane.
Redshirt freshman Sinmisola Demuren (6 tackles) started at strong safety in place of injured sophomore Darrius Hart, while sophomore Jason Matovu (6 tackles) got the nod at free safety. Redshirt freshmen Mozai Nelson and Jeffery DeVaughn and first-year player Joshua Huffman also saw action.
“We got beat in coverage a couple times, man-to-man situations and also a zone [coverage] situation where our safeties were at fault for not being where they should be,” Cosgrove said.
The Bears experienced some issues with assignments and tackling against the Green Wave’s receivers and running backs.
“Their skill set we felt was superior outside at the wide receiver spot and in the backfield,” Cosgrove said in comparing Tulane to Boston College’s bigger players at those positions. “These guys were quick, agile.”