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FCS Playoffs Have Put Joy Into Trying Times For Stinespring

The prolonged Football Championship Subdivision playoffs have put some joy into some trying times for Bryan Stinespring, the assistant head coach for Delaware, which visits South Dakota State with hopes of moving on to the FCS title game.

Stinespring is in his first year at Delaware after coaching stints at Virginia Tech, James Madison and Old Dominion, where the hiring of new head coaches and staffs left him looking for a job.

He landed at Delaware, whose head coach, Danny Rocco, had been an assistant at Virginia when Stinespring was at Virginia Tech. While Stinespring coached offense and Rocco coached defense, they were also recruiting rivals.

There were some coaches on Rocco's staff whom Stinespring knew, including former Virginia Tech player Chris Cosh, who put in a good word in Stinespring's behalf.

Stinespring was gone for the next seven months due to COVID-19 but it also gave him the opportunity to return to Clifton Forge and spend time with his mother, who had Alzheimer's and eventually passed away.

"My brother and I took care of my mother and allowed her to stay at home, mostly because of my brother's efforts," he said. "We were able to do some things that, in another year, I wouldn't have been able to do. So, I'm actually thankful for that part of it.

"We were looking for silver linings a little bit and that, for me personally, was one. It's truly a devastating disease for everyone really."

When Frank Beamer retired as Tech coach following the 2015 season, Stinespring was not retained by successor Justin Fuente. Stinespring subsequently returned to JMU, where he spent two years on the staff of Mike Houston, who led the Dukes to the 2016 FCS national championship over North Dakota State.

Stinespring has never been to Brookings, South Dakota, home to South Dakota State, which carries a 7-1 record into Saturday's meeting with Delaware (7-0). The other semifinal will pit Sam Houston State and James Madison,

"A lot of people say, 'Hey, it's the spring season; it's not a full season, won't there be an asterisk to it?' " Stinespring said. "We say 'no.' To manage all the things we've had to deal with, it would be an exclamation point.'  "

Moving On

Wide receiver Terrell Jana, who had 123 receptions in his Virginia career, was seen as a likely first-round pick in the Canadian Football League Draft before he went to Saskatchewan in the second round.

In 2019, Dejon Brissett was drafted No. 2 overall in the Canadian Football League Draft after recording two receptions for 18 yards while playing in 12 games for UVa.

Jana, who is from Vancouver, had 36 receptions for 423 yards and one touchdown last season. The previous year, he had caught 73 passes for 878 yards over a 14-game season, compared to this year's 10-game slate.

Tight end Tony Poljan, who played quarterback at Central Michigan before transferring to Virginia, signed as a free agent with the Baltimore Ravens after playing tight end at Virginia, where he had 38 receptions for 411 yards and a team-high six touchdown receptions.

Hoops Portal

There seemingly is no end to college basketball players taking advantage of the transfer portal or schools that have had their college basketball rosters decimated.

Consider a Wake Forest team that was 6-16 this past season under first-year Deacons' coach Steve Forbes. Ismael Massoud will be transferring to Kansas State and fellow sophomore Jacobi Neath is going to Wisconsin. Massoud played more than 20 minutes per game.

On the flip side, the Deacs are getting 7-footer Dallas Watson from Colorado, where he started 23 games but averaged fewer than 15 minutes...Jaemyn Brakefield, who averaged 3.5 points and 2.5 rebounds as a freshman at Duke, is transferring to Mississippi in his native state.

Brakefield was a four-star recruit coming out of Huntington (W.Va.) Prep and was listed by rivals.com with 30 offers.

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