HERO Sports welcomes you to "Two-a-Days", where we will preview every single one of the 125 FCS programs, with two being released each day from June 18 to August 18 (with the final day having three in one day). Today we give you … Robert Morris.
Robert Morris (2-9 IN 2017)
Northeast Conference (RMU was 7th in 2017)
COACH: Bernard Clark – 1st year (0-0)
2017 OFFENSE: 10.2 ppg (122nd in FCS)
2017 DEFENSE: 30.1 ppg (95th in FCS)
SUM IT UP: Robert Morris posted a second straight 2-9 campaign in 2017, so it felt like the right time for John Banaszak to step away from the program after a four-year stint as the head coach. (Before that, he'd been with the program as an assistant since 2003). Enter former Albany Defensive Coordinator Bernard Clark, who will lead RMU in 2018 as a first-time head coach. Clark's program-building will be a from-the-ground-up type of project, as Robert Morris has neither the history nor the personnel to inspire much hope in the short term. But the NEC is not an impossibly difficult conference, and Clark could work his way up into the middle of the 7-team group as soon as 2019. For now, Clark will likely have to content himself with a potential win over Sacred Heart — the Pioneers will also undergo a major rebuild in 2018 and could offer RMU its only potential conference win of the season. At the very least, RMU should be good along the line of scrimmage, and that's not nothing.
BEST-CASE SCENARIO: Robert Morris is still not great, but the Colonials are good enough to show some progress to a few key recruits. Pennsylvania is lush with talented high school kids, so there's plenty of good in-state players that will commit to FCS schools. Clark and his staff must do enough on the field to show real progress toward being a better football program. Unfortunately, with non-conference games against James Madison and Eastern Kentucky, that progress might not show up in the win column. A 3-8 record might be the ceiling in 2018.
TOP RETURNEE: LB Adam Wollet (Preseason All-NEC, 108 Tackles in '17).
THE NEXT FIVE: DL Amir Ferwick (Preseason All-NEC, 6 TFL's in '17); QB Jimmy Walker (1,669 Passing Yards, 9 Passing TD's in '17); OL Eric McAllister (Started all 11 Games in '17); LB Tyler Lamica (7 TFL's); DB Heavon Price (3 PBU's, 2 INT's, 2.5 TFL's).
TOP NEWCOMER: RB Terence Stephens (Bowling Green Transfer).
DID YOU KNOW?: Robert Morris offers a class centered around the WWE and its unique branding and marketing strategies.
THE QUOTE: "He's a talented coach and definitely ready to be a head coach. I'm excited for him that he's getting this opportunity. He's going to do a great job at Robert Morris." –Albany Head Coach Greg Gattuso, after former assistant Bernard Clark was hired by RMU in December.
SOCIAL MEDIA SPOTLIGHT
THE HASHTAG: #ColonialPride & #ColonialCulture
FOOTBALL TWITTER: @RMUFootball
— RMU Football (@RMUFootball) July 24, 2018