Frazier plans an aerial attack
In 2005, Frazier scored a touchdown or less in five of its nine games. But this season, coach Lew Sweitzer is hoping a strong passing attack will bolster the Commodores' offense and perhaps its win total, as well.
"We're going to be a passing offense, but I'm still of the school that you have to be able to run the ball," Sweitzer said.
If the Commodores can keep defenses honest with a capable ground game, it should open things for a potentially potent passing attack.
"I think our passing game will be much improved," Sweitzer said. "These kids know the offense very well."
Two important pieces in the passing game will be seniors Joe Kulikoski and Jim Traynor. Both are returning two-year lettermen.
Kulikoski faces the challenge of adjusting from wide receiver to quarterback. He replaces graduate Tony Battaglini as the team's starting quarterback.
"Joe has a good arm and he can run," Sweitzer said. "He is a fine athlete."
Kulikoski is handling the transition well thanks in part to the fact that he knows the receiver pass patterns.
"I know all the reads and have a feel for what the guys are going to run," Kulikoski said. "I think the chance to be a quarterback is exciting and we have a passing offense."
One of Kulikoski's favorite targets will likely be Traynor. Traynor has been one of the team's top wide receivers for the past two seasons. He caught five touchdown passes in 2005.
"Jim plays hard," Sweitzer said. "He's tough and he's a smart player."
Although there may be a period of adjustment between Traynor and Kulikoski, Traynor believes the tandem will form a dynamic combination.
"Tony (Battaglini) was a good quarterback, but Joe is doing well and he has confidence throwing the ball," Traynor said. "That is important."
And with Kulikoski at the helm, Traynor is expecting a big season.
"I had a pretty good year last year and I'm hoping to do even better this year," Traynor said. "I think I'll be his number one target."
In addition to Traynor, Kulikoski should have other capable pass-catchers in senior tight end Tim Holt and senior wideout Vince Conti.
"We have good players that aren't afraid to go up in traffic and catch the ball," Kulikoski said.
If the offense can click, there is reason to expect the Commodores could have a good season after a 2-7 campaign in 2005.
"I think the kids understand what it takes to improve," Sweitzer said. "I expect our team to be competitive."