The graduation of offensive lineman and former member of the Philadelphia Eagles Michael Bamiro left a big pair of shoes to fill, both literally and figuratively, for the Stony Brook football team.
The man, known to his teammates as “Big Mike,” stands at 6-foot-8-inches and weighed 335 pounds and was a major reason for the success of the team’s running game in recent years.
At the start of the 2013 season, the Stony Brook football team had to deal with the loss of its All-Big South tackle, and, as a result, decided to have its right guard, Cody Precht, slide over to Bamiro’s former position.
Taking over for Bamiro may seem like a daunting task, but Precht said he did not have much trouble making the transition.
“Believe it or not it wasn’t too big of a jump because I started getting some practice reps (at right tackle) the previous spring,” Precht said. “I mean it took some time getting used too but it wasn’t that big a deal.”
Precht certainly was able to fill the large shoes he inherited, as last season he helped pave the way for Stony Brook’s three leading rushers to average over 4.3 yards per carry each.
When asked about Precht’s move over to tackle, Chuck Priore, the team’s head coach, had nothing but praise for Precht’s work ethic and performance.
“Cody’s a great kid,” Priore said, “He’s a team player, so he reacted well [to the position switch] and played very well. He’ll be there again this season and he’s done a good job at it.”
Precht, who made his first career start for Stony Brook against the 2011 season opener for the University of Texas at El Paso, has been the cornerstone of the Seawolves offensive line since, starting in all 37 games from the 2011 season onward.
Precht started his playing career at right guard and was part of a combined offensive line that helped propel Stony Brook to a FCS second-ranked points per game average, 38, and a fourth-ranked rushing attack, averaging 267.31 yards per game on the ground in 2011.
In 2012, Precht and the offensive line blocked for two 1,000 yard rushers, one of which was Walter Payton Award finalist Miguel Maysonet.
Precht, now entering his senior season, was named to the Second Team All-CAA by College Sports Madness. In 2013, he once again proved to be a key component of the team’s offense, starting all 11 games for the Seawolves and even making a start at center in a late-season game against James Madison.
But despite Precht’s strong play, the Stony Brook offense struggled for much of the last season, finishing just eighth in the conference in points-per-game. One area that Precht says the team will need to improve upon this season is converting on third down situations.
“Whether its 3rd and long or 3rd and short we got to get better,” Precht said.
One of the people tasked with helping the Seawolves improve upon this problem is the team’s new offensive line coach Rob Neviaser, who Precht claims has been “awesome” since joining the team.
“He pushes us to the limit, so I think the toughness he’s getting out of us is going to push us past the problem on 3rd down,” Precht said.
For Precht, as with every other Stony Brook player, the football season never truly ends. Long before training camp commenced in August, the road to the season was well underway in the weight room and film sessions.
“(I was) staying on the film and making sure the weight room stays good because that’s important, especially in this conference,” Precht said. “We have to come every day with a focus and get better at everything.”
It is that work ethic that allowed Precht to take over an NFL-level talent almost seamlessly and become a major leader for this Stony Brook team. The Seawolves will need big things from the senior lineman this season, and if the last three years are any indication, he will be up for the task.
Joe Galotti contributed to this story