August 30, 2010

Black Bears select Smith at quarterback

Quarterback will start against Albany in opener Thursday night

BY JENN MENENDEZ Portland Press Herald

Warren Smith was named quarterback at the University of Maine on Sunday, ending a preseason competition with former Portland High standout Chris Treister.

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WINNING THE JOB: Quarterback Warren Smith transferred to Maine when Iona College dropped its football program following the 2008 season. After beating out former Portland High standout Chris Treister, he’s going to open the season Thursday as the Black Bears’ starting quarterback.

Portland Press Herald Photo by John Ewing

Maine opens the 2010 season on Thursday against Albany, prompting the coaching staff to name a starter.

"The timing of the decision is based on the closeness of the competition," said Maine coach Jack Cosgrove. "It's one of those choices made difficult because of the level of the competition. It just came down to a slight edge."

Smith had a breakout year in 2009 helping Maine become the most prolific passing team in the Colonial Athletic Association after taking the job over against Syracuse.

A junior form Forked River, N.J., he transferred to Maine when Iona College dropped its football program following the 2008 season. Smith threw for 1,695 yards and 12 touchdowns. He also threw 13 interceptions.

Treister, also a junior, upped the ante late in the year when Smith injured his foot. Treister started the last two games of the year and put together two fine performances to close out the 2009 season.

His debut against Rhode Island set multiple program single game passing records. He finished the season throwing 60-of-96 passes for 771 yards.

The pair battled one another during preseason and were told before practice on Sunday afternoon that Smith would be the No. 1.

"I feel like we both left it out on the field," Smith said. "We both competed at such a high level, I feel like it helped out the football team in a good way. The tough part is someone had to make a decision. Chris became one of my very, very close friends over the past year and I know he wants to be out there just as bad as I do.

"He's a strong individual. Now we have to move on and I know Chris will help this team every way possible. His presence out there will help the team."

Treister said he was disappointed he will not be able to play for the scores of friends, family and fans who have supported him through the ups and downs of his career. But that he also leaves no regrets.

"I feel like I put myself in a position to play over the offseason and summer," said Treister. "I worked as hard as I could so I don't have regrets.

"It's tough to swallow but we both knew the stakes going into camp."

Cosgrove said the evaluation took he and his staff to the wire because of what both players were able to do during preseason.

"One guy is the one," Cosgrove said. "You don't expect everybody to like (hearing that). You just have to ask them to support it."

Smith, who had two bones fused together in his foot, said he is moving around well and is ready to go on Thursday.

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