Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Coaches Speak

The preseason Ivy football poll and teleconference are now in the books.

The full recording of the conference is here, but here are the highlights as I heard them:

Coordinator of Football Officials – Jim Maconaghy

His focus was on avoiding injuries and the new rules protecting players. There's a lot of talk about avoiding concussions and neck injuries, and unlike the NFL, I believe the Ivy League is serious about improving safety.

Brown coach Phil Estes

-Thinks new QB Patrick Donnelly has an excellent arm and will do a great job.

Mark Kachmer and Spiro Theodosi will be the top two runners even though Theodosi is coming off two years off from injury.

-Admits inexperience in the LB corps.

-I asked him how he gets the team ready to play Harvard so early every year. Estes said it was tough for him every year, but the week one non-league game is a key way to prepare. 


-Praised the defensive front seven, especially Josh Martin and Seyi Adebayo, Zach Olinger, Ryan Murphy, and Mike Waller

-QB Sean Brackett without injuries can be great this year, but can't change the system as much as he'd like with a senior QB. 

-Likes TE Hamilton Garner in the red zone especially. 

Secondary will be the most competitive and incoming freshmen will vie to start. 

-OL is the biggest concern, needs most improvement and the line "may be very young up front."

-WR positions will also be competitive in camp said Wanamaker looks good right now.

-Talked about how he had a good experience at Cornell and he did some good things up there.

-Changed his ideology to see that NYC is a recruiting positive and not a negative.

-"Just looking to put a competitive team on the field right now"

Cornell Coach Kent Austin

-Offense looks good. 

-Lots of praise for Gallatly.

-3 good new TB's to help the program. They may play right away.

-Knows that defense, with new DC, (Kim Dameron), has to get better. Sticking with a 4-3 to stop the run. 

Tremendous amount of time talking about Mathews of course.

Dartmouth Coach Buddy Teevens

-Likes all the returning OL's and WR's and Dominic Pierre in the RB position

-Likes Alex Park a lot as he looks in practice need to make more of the passing attack

-LB's are all back led by Bronson Green.

-Sounded like he blamed the overall program at Dartmouth for the lack of a great QB since his return to Hanover in 2005, (at least it sounded that way).

Harvard Coach Tim Murphy

-3 sr's on DL look great

-Lose Alex Gideon at LB, but still have 3 strong guys

-Depth in secondary a question

-WR is a big concern. Like Smith and Zorn though at that position

-Treavor Scales is as good a RB as anyone in the league

-H-Back Kyle Juszczyk is just very good, it's not that H-Backs are a special weapon you need in this league. He wants to play in the NFL

-QB Colton Chappel is getting even better. This is his team.

Penn Coach Al Bagnoli

-Likes receiving corps. Scott is back and he was the best WR. Likes the OL and the very strong experience from QB Billy Ragone. 

-Seems like he's more excited about the offense than defense. Very young defense.  

-Cautious about RB Lyle Marsh and his health after missing a lot of the last two seasons.

-Likes Ragone coming off a really good spring. 

-I asked him about incoming freshman WR Cameron Countryman and he said he'll get a chance to get onto the field right away. 

-The upgrades in the Penn facilities had a lot to do with the strong recruiting class they had this year.

Princeton Coach Bob Surace

-Front seven on defense is the strength of the team. Four returners on the OL is a good strength too.

-RB Chuck DiBillio's status is still not decided. Some final tests are still to be taken. (To me: seems like less than 50-50 right now). 

-Will go to mulitple QB's if they have to. Quinn Epperly is a better runner and Connor Michaelson is a better passer. This will be a fun battle. 

-Caraun Reid is back after missing so many games last year

Yale Coach Tony Reno

-Very inexperienced on defense and young. 

-Still not sure about QB. It will be an open competition. Could see a freshman starter. 

-EJ Conway top freshman, Kahlil Keys is a freshman from last year 

-Offense will be very basic, balanced run and pass.

Jake's Take

First, let's take a look at the preseason poll.

First-Place Votes in Parentheses
1.Harvard (13)132
2.Penn (2)111
3.Cornell (2)100

I was only surprised by three relatively small things:

1) Cornell finishing with two first place votes.

2) Penn finishing relatively close to Harvard in the overall voting.

3) Columbia not being picked last by the usually Columbia deprecating voters.

Now for my impressions of the teleconference:

Mangurian was a bit more guarded about the team's prospects, saying things like: "we're just trying to put a competitive team on the field." He didn't change any of the facts he's stressed in his blog posts, he just seemed a little less buoyant in front of the other coaches and the media. I think that was a good move.  

But he stuck to his earlier statements about how the WR and DB positions will be very competitive and how the OL is not too good right now and also may be filled with frosh in the 2-deep.

He also won't suffer fools too easily.My replacement as the color guy with Jerry Recco, Sal Licata, misheard something Mangurian said about it being hard for a senior like Brackett to learn an entirely new system. Licata asked him if that meant Brackett's job was not secure, and Mangurian really interrupted him and basically told him how ridiculous that was. 

Mangurian  was straight-shooting when I asked him about our WR's and said that the position is up for grabs but the transfer Jake Wanamaker has an inside track because of his experience.

Bob Surace came off the worst by far. He just seems way in above his head. And I was shocked that he or anyone else is even CONSIDERING putting Chuck DiBillio back on the field when they still don't know what caused his stroke last year.

Yale's Tony Reno gave the briefest answers but admitted he has no real QB right now. I asked him if he'd consider running 50 times a game and he just gave a "whatever works" pat answer.

Tim Murphy and Al Bagnoli came off well as did Phil Estes. Kent Austin was honest about his defensive problems.

And I have to find out what Buddy Teevens meant when it sounded like he basically blamed the university for not getting decent QB's in the past. I know this was some kind of point about recruiting disadvantages, but I also thought he felt the administration was a problem. Was he referring to the suspension and eventual loss of QB Josh Cohen a few years ago?



Anonymous said...

Harvard and Penn are the league leaders at this point, but Cornell is still unproven and Columbia could be ranked as high as number four, ahead of Brown, Yale, Dartmouth and Princeton. I suspect that Surace and Reno will not be around come December.

Anonymous said...

I'm expecting a huge upgrade in our passing game as we have some very talented returning wr's and some possibly even more talented newcomers. It should be interesting to see what type of passing game the new coaching staff uses this year.

oldlion said...

Coach is smart to keep his comments guarded. Remember when Shoop ran his mouth? If our young DBs can develop, our defense will keep us in every game, and if Brackett can stay healthy he will put points on the board. I think our kicking game will be critical. Field position is the key to success. You cannot give your opponent a short field.

Ungvar said...

The big question is the OL. If they can hang together, Brackett stays healthy and he can return to earlier form.

I have no doubt that Pete can find the bodies to fill the WR and DB roles. We're awfully short on experienced OL, though. The freshmen OL don't have the size and experience to fill in. I'm hoping they're hitting the weights right now.