An old axiom holds that football players shouldn't get too high or too low. Even though he's only played two college snaps, Brent Caprio seems to have that part down pat.
Caprio, William and Mary's redshirt freshman quarterback who is expected to start the No. 4 Tribe's game at No. 8 New Hampshire on Saturday, doesn't seem overwhelmed by the task facing him – or at least by questions about it.
"I'm excited to get an opportunity for me to come out and try and help our team get another win this weekend," Caprio said. "I'm just going to try and make the most of the opportunity."
Caprio, who threw an incompletion in the Tribe's 45-0 romp against VMI on Sept. 11 and was intercepted on his one pass attempt in late relief last weekend at North Carolina, has taken all the reps in practice this week after the Tribe's starting and backup QBs were hurt against UNC.
Fifth-year senior Mike Callahan re-aggravated the shoulder he separated on Sept. 25 on his third play against the Tar Heels and has been ruled out for Saturday, while backup Michael Paulus, a UNC transfer who went 24-of-35 for 209 yards and two touchdowns against his former teammates, suffered a late shoulder injury and is doubtful.
"Mike Callahan and Mike Paulus have done really well, and I'm sure Brent will do well," Tribe coach Jimmye Laycock said. "It's just a matter of he's got to get reps, and he's got to go with it. He's got to learn on the move."
Caprio, 6-foot-1 and 221 pounds, threw for a school-record 4,298 career yards at Mainland (N.J.) High School. He also set school records with 46 passing touchdowns and 42 rushing TDs and amassed 1,888 career rushing yards.
"We'll see how the game goes this weekend, but I think I manage the game well and make good decisions, and that'll be the most important thing," Caprio said. "I didn't really get too nervous in high school, so I don't think I'll get too nervous. I'll be ready, excited, and I'm really looking forward to it."
Caprio's parents, who've attended most of his games, including those in his redshirt year of 2009, will be in the stands at New Hampshire.
"It's been two years now since I've actually gotten some game action, so it's been awhile, but they're very excited for me," Caprio said.
Caprio said his redshirt year helped him get a better grasp of the Tribe's playbook, and the spring competition with Callahan and Paulus for the starting job made him even more comfortable with William and Mary's multiple-formation offense. He doesn't think that attack will change greatly with him behind center.
"There's always changes in the game plan from week to week, but (Laycock) has his offense and he sticks to it," Caprio said. "He's been running it forever now, before I was even thought of."
Laycock said the game plan against New Hampshire depends on more than the quarterback. Most important, it also hinges on whether junior tailback Jonathan Grimes, knocked out of the UNC game with a concussion, can go.
"There's 10 other spots, and we've got to get solidified there and get people playing well," Laycock said. "We'll adjust things around a little bit here and there."
Exactly how prepared does Caprio, who turns 20 on Thursday, consider himself for his first college start?
"We've still got two more days of practice here to work," he said. "I think I have a little ways to go now, but I'm going to be ready, going into Saturday."
The kid certainly sounds like it.