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Respect, likeability not enough for Ramunno

By Allen Gemaehlich

Joe Ramunno was a much-loved and respected coach.

Players, fans and peers have all said he is a class act and wanted the Colorado Mesa University football coach to succeed, but it wasn't enough. Ramunno resigned Friday morning.

The team's lack of success the past three seasons and lack of Academic All-Conference players likely added up to the end. Ramunno was disappointed more than anyone there wasn't more wins and academic All-Americans.

On the field, the lack of an experienced quarterback hurt. In 2009, the Mavericks went back and forth between two redshirt freshmen. The following year, Mesa started with sophomore Robert Felberg the first game, but went to sophomore Michael Mankoff the rest of the season. He threw 13 interceptions and had eight touchdowns.

This season, they started with Felberg again, but three games into the season, Mesa put in redshirt freshman Steve Romero against nationally-ranked Nebraska-Kearney. Romero showed some ability in running the offense, but was injured. By the fourth game of the season, Mesa started four different quarterbacks.

When Romero returned, he held the position the rest of the season, but went through growing pains. He completed 48 percent of his passes with five touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

Romero may prove to be the right quarterback in time, but  for the Mavericks to consistently win, they will need to get closer to the RMAC limit of 28 full-time equivalent scholarships.

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