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April 08. 2012 10:50PM

UNH notebook: Buzbee shows way in spring workouts

DURHAM — Alan Buzbee, one half of the University of New Hampshire football team's punishing and productive pair of linebackers, has had a couple of very good seasons as a starter.

He's looking to go out with an even better one his senior year.

Buzbee is 6-foot-3 and 238 pounds and was the first player coach Sean McDonnell cited after a physical and spirited spring workout on Friday.

“I'm pleased with the way he's practicing,” McDonnell said. “He's done some really good things. He had a good year last year and he wants to be much better than he was last year and he's really concentrating and doing a nice job out there.”

Buzbee has put up consistent numbers each of the last two seasons and has been third on the team in tackles each year. He had 86 as a sophomore and last fall had 88, exactly half of them solo.

Matt Evans, Buzbee's classmate and running mate at linebacker, led the team with 165 tackles last season and won the Buck Buchanan Award presented to the top defensive player in the Football Championship Subdivision.

Safety Chris Beranger, who will be a junior, had 142 tackles last season.

Friday's practice was UNH's first time out in pads and the third of 15 practices during a spring session that leads up to the Blue-White game on May 5. Practice No. 4 is Tuesday morning at 6:45.

The main challenge this spring is finding a starting quarterback to replace Kevin Decker.

It's a job that either senior James Brady, sophomore Andy Vailas of Bedford and Bishop Guertin or redshirt freshman Sean Goldrich will take over.

The process of sorting things out has just begun, McDonnell said.

“Everyone has done something good each day and everyone has been off in something each day,” he said. “It's still early. It's going to take a long time.”

Assorted Wildcats are on the sidelines for assorted reasons and varying times during the spring.

Evans has a hamstring issue and has not yet played, but may be ready to go as soon as Tuesday.

Sophomore wide receiver R.J. Harris, second on the team with 50 catches in the fall, and a couple of classmates who play defensive back have not participated.

“R.J. Harris, Tre Williams and Steven Thames have been suspended indefinitely for violating team rules,” McDonnell said.

Sophomore running back Nico Steriti is recovering from shoulder surgery and won't play this spring. Mike MacArthur, a junior kicker and punter out of North Hampton and Winnacunnet, is rehabilitating from hip surgery and won't kick during the spring.

The Wildcats do have a fourth quarterback on the roster, but he's not in the mix for the starting job. Cam Seymour, 6-foot-4 and 214 pounds, is out of Hyannis, Mass., and Nauset Regional High School, and spent a year at Bryant University but did not play there.

Defensive tackle Rashid Armand, a redshirt freshman, is coming back from an ACL injury and should be ready for the fall.

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The University of Rhode Island men and track and field teams from Maine, Bowdoin, Worcester State and Colby-Sawyer are due in Durham on Saturday for the Wildcat Invitational I.

Another Wildcat Invitational, including teams from Vermont, Massachusetts and Maine, is set for April 28.

Brice Paey, a senior out of Milton, won the shot put and junior Chris Dupuis of Plaistow the hammer in a meet in Durham against Holy Cross and Maine on Saturday. Junior Allison Brehm of Pembroke won the 100 and 200.

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While Bill Herrion and his men's basketball staff wrap up recruiting in the coming weeks with two scholarships to give for next season, they are also setting up next year's schedule.

The Wildcats have signed to play at Connecticut again in late November. Herrion has also tentatively agreed to return to Boston College for a game.

UNH gave UConn and BC all they wanted in the past two seasons.

The Wildcats lost at UConn, 62-55, on Nov. 30, 2010. The Huskies went on to win the NCAA tournament that season.

Last Nov. 14, UNH lost a 67-64 game at BC.

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The gymnastics team closed out its season with a sixth-place finish, out of six teams, in an NCAA regional at the University of Arkansas on Saturday.

UCLA, the top seed in the regional, and Arkansas, No. 2, finished first and second and advanced to the NCAA championships.

Allen Lessels covers UNH athletics for the New Hampshire Union Leader and Sunday News. He may be reached at alessels@unionleader.com.


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