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W&M's Laycock said offensive changes likely

Employing the spread offense or the triple-option aren’t under consideration, but William and Mary’s Jimmye Laycock said that just about every other aspect of the offense is under review, after an uncharacteristically poor season.

“One of the things we’re looking at is kind of a re-evaluation of everything we’re doing offensively,” Laycock said Friday. “We might make some changes there, some different things. That’s the biggest thing we’re doing right now.”

Six weeks of review confirmed what Laycock believed during and immediately after the season, that the offense wasn’t productive enough. But it’s difficult to make major changes in the middle of a season.

Laycock wouldn’t elaborate on possible changes, explaining that he and the staff are in the midst of the eval process. The pro-style scheme that he’s employed since he arrived 33 years ago remains the foundation, but improvement is clearly needed after a 2-9 season, the program’s worst record since Laycock’s first season at his alma mater (1980).

The Tribe has been near the bottom of the Colonial Athletic Association in most major offensive categories for the past two seasons. Last season, W&M was ninth in scoring (21.2), eighth in pass offense (188.7) and total offense (342.2) and ninth in pass efficiency.

In 2010, when the Tribe finished 5-6,  it was 10th in scoring (18.4), ninth in pass offense (168.5) and total offense (334.8), and 10th in pass efficiency.

“When you don’t do as well as you’d like,” Laycock said, “there are a lot of reasons that sound like excuses, but that’s not what we’re into. We’re just trying to look for ways to improve and make ourselves better.”

Inconsistency at quarterback is a primary reason. The Tribe started three different quarterbacks each of the past two seasons, due to injury and spotty play. Last season, all three quarterbacks — Raphael Ortiz, Brent Caprio and Michael Graham — were injured at various times.

Ortiz and Caprio had season-ending injuries. Ortiz is not expected to be available for spring practice after undergoing shoulder surgery, but Caprio and Graham should be full go.

Laycock joked that keeping quarterbacks healthy would be beneficial. There’s been no common thread to their injuries, nor some practice or routine that might keep them upright.

“We have to look at the whole thing,” he said. “We can’t just say, ‘If we didn’t get quarterbacks hurt, we’d do better.’ That’s certainly part of it, but we have to look at other things, maybe the structure of some things we’re doing. We’re evaluating the whole operation.”

Laycock said that the coaching staff is undergoing evaluations, as well.

“There may be some changes, there may not be,” he said. “I can’t really say at this point, but that’s all on the table.”

Record aside, Laycock saw positives in a season in which six of the Tribe’s losses were by seven points or fewer.

“I thought we had some young guys who played hard,” Laycock said. “I was very satisfied with the effort, I was very satisfied with how hard we practiced, I was very satisfied, for the most part, with how hard we played.”

Only twice under Laycock has the Tribe had a stretch of three consecutive losing seasons: from 1980-82, his first three years; and from 2005-07, in the aftermath of their first FCS semifinal appearance in 2004.

“I think we’ve got a good nucleus of solid players in our program,” Laycock said. “We want to put them in a position where they can achieve some success. We’ve done it before, we’ll work to do it again.”

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