DURHAM — The University of New Hampshire football team opens the 2019 season on Sept. 7 with a game at Holy Cross.
The Wildcats play their home opener two weeks after that — on Saturday, Sept. 21 — against the University of Rhode Island at Wildcat Stadium at 6 p.m.
How the Wildcats might look come their opening games will be determined in part by what happens Sunday morning.
UNH plays its annual Blue-White game Sunday to close out fall camp at Wildcat Stadium at 10 a.m. The scrimmage will be followed by a barbecue for season ticket holders featuring a meet-and-greet with coach Sean McDonnell and his coaching staff.
McDonnell and his staff will use the final scrimmage to set up the team’s depth charts heading into final preparations for Holy Cross.
Here are a few of the spots to keep an eye on in Sunday’s workout, positions to which the coaches will be paying particular attention:
Since Trevor Knight’s multi-year reign as the starting quarterback came to an end last November, the battle for to be the next starter has been ongoing. Redshirt freshman Bret Edwards and true freshman Max Brosmer, who enrolled in school last winter and was with the team through spring football, have emerged as the frontrunners for the job.
Sunday’s scrimmage will certainly play a role in the decision, but this is one that may extend close to game-time of the opener. Heck, it may last even longer than that.
Sophomore Tommy Herion, the only quarterback on the roster with collegiate experience, is slotted behind the top two at the moment and is being pushed by classmate Stephen Hedberg of St. Thomas Aquinas in Dover.
Senior Michael Balsamo, who started as a safety as a redshirt freshman, moved up to be a regular at linebacker the last two seasons and is the leader of that group.
Opportunities for playing time at linebacker abound after Balsamo, and this is a spot where younger players — including freshmen such as Oleh Manzyk, Zedane Williams and Ryan Toscano — will no doubt get a chance to shine.
Redshirt freshman J.J. Jerome had an impressive scrimmage the other night and seniors Cameron Brusko and Nelson Thomas are among others in the mix.
Who’s catching the passes thrown by whomever gets to throw them?
Senior Malik Love is back after missing almost all of last season due to injury, and that’s reassuring.
Beyond that, the grabs are, well, up for grabs.
Redshirt freshman Charles Briscoe III and freshman Griffin Helm have been among those earning early kudos from coaches and players such as senior Mike Vailas, sophomore Benyeal Hill Jr. and Brian Espanet are looking for playing time as well. Sophomore C.J. Turner and redshirt freshman Symir Blacknall have been slowed by injury.
“They all have some ability,” wide receivers coach Michael Ferzoco said. “Some have different talents from others, but they have the ability to play multiple positions, which gives us a lot of flexibility so that we can find a way to get the best three on the field.
“On the inside, Malik’s had a really good camp and he’s done a good job keeping himself healthy and finding ways to get open. ... The good thing is they’ve all performed on one day or the other. It’s finding that level of consistency we’ve had from guys in the past.”
Here’s something to watch just for fun: Check out the defensive secondary of safeties Pop Lacey and Evan Horn and cornerbacks Prince Smith Jr. and Isiah Perkins.
Horn’s a junior and the rest are seniors. Between them they’ve started a ton of games and made a ton of big plays over the course of the last three seasons. They intend to make a case for themselves as one of the top units in not only the Colonial Athletic Association but the FCS.
UNH tied for the national lead in the FCS in passes intercepted and returned for touchdowns last year with four. Horn had a pair of pick-sixes and Lacey had one.