ALBANY — A day after the University at Albany announced sophomore wide receiver Dev Holmes had left the football program, Great Danes head coach Greg Gattuso addressed the departure with area reporters.
“He’s not happy and wanted to leave the program, so I wish him well,” Gattuso said at Tuesday’s practice. “He’s a kid I really like and I hope he does well. I hope he finds the happiness he’s looking for.”
The school announced Monday evening that Holmes, who starred at Troy High School, had left the program. He was suspended for last Saturday’s win against Lafayette for unspecified reasons — “Between Dev and I,” Gattuso said last week — and the length of his suspension was never clarified before Holmes left the team.
Holmes starred early last season for UAlbany, but his production decreased as defenses focused more attention on him. After registering 734 yards last season, Holmes only had six receptions for 36 yards in UAlbany’s first three games this year.
A week before Holmes’ suspension, Gattuso said he knew Holmes was “frustrated” with his start to the season. On Tuesday, Gattuso said he “can’t answer for why [Holmes was] unhappy or anything like that,” and that the Great Danes would move forward without the talented wide receiver. UAlbany starts CAA play this weekend at home against William & Mary.
“We feel we lost a good player, but it’s no different than Jarren Williams not playing last week,” said Gattuso, referring to UAlbany’s defensive back who missed action Saturday with a lower-leg injury. “It’s different in why [Holmes is] not playing, but I think going forward, it really doesn’t change anything.”
Without Holmes on Saturday, UAlbany redshirt freshman quarterback Jeff Undercuffler was 19 of 25 passing for 212 yards and four touchdowns before sitting out most of the fourth quarter. Undercuffler connected with six different Great Danes in the passing game.
“We’ll miss him,” Gattuso said of Holmes, “and we’re going to move forward.”
The status of Williams, a redshirt senior starting defensive back, for Saturday’s game against William & Mary is unclear.
“Don’t know,” Gattuso said when asked if the Great Danes will have Williams available.
In Williams’ absence last weekend, Gattuso credited redshirt senior Kareem Gibson for stepping up at cornerback, as well as senior Tyler Carswell who shifted from a safety position to cornerback with little advance notice.
“Just wanted to be ready when my number was called,” Carswell said.
Carswell practiced throughout last week at safety and said he didn’t know he’d switch positions for the game against Lafayette until the prior day.
“Anything for the team,” Carswell said.
Redshirt sophomore AJ Mistler was honored Monday as the CAA’s defensive player of the week.
Against Lafayette, Mistler had a team-high nine tackles, a sack and forced a fumble.
Mistler has played in UAlbany’s secondary this season, as well as at linebacker.