Monday, June 19, 2017

Another Reminder Why to Not Put Too Much Stock into Preseason Polls

Lindy's Division III Top 25 has been released, ranking Hobart at 19th. While I normally wouldn't scoff at the Statesmen ending up in a Top 25 poll, this one is laughable on several levels.

Hopkins, at 5th, has never been a Top 5 program, at least not in the past 20-30 years. They have come close, that 2014 team that Hobart beat in the 2nd round of the NCAA playoffs was certainly a Top 10 one for sure, but Top 5? No way.

Wesley at 8th seems high to me as well given who they graduated and they really haven't found someone to fill the role that now Green Bay Packer backup QB Joe Callahan played so well for them.

Alfred at 9th is really problematic given their QB and top offensive weapon, Tyler Johnson, is gone (recently signing with the Jacksonville Sharks of the AFL). Alfred also graduated three starting OL players as well. The Saxons defense may be tough again, especially with SR LB A.J. Licata coming back, but the rest of their spring roster shows it doesn't have a lot of SRs on it, and so starting off in the Top 10 seems questionable at best.

Stevenson at 10? It's been about a decade since a MAC champion was ranked this high, but to their credit, the Mustangs have been a strong program in a short amount of time. They finished in the 2016 season on spot below Hobart at 20th in the final D3football.com Top 25 poll, which is think is pretty accurate.

Saint Lawrence (11) has grown into a tough LL-rival for Hobart, but in spite of several close calls, they still haven't beaten the Statesmen since 2010. Add to the fact the Saints graduated a huge amount of what was probably their best SR class in the last 25+ years, and you can't take this ranking seriously. Is SR QB Sean Richardson legit? Yes, but you can't simply reload guys like All-American DL Chyron Brown-Wallace, DB/ST star James Holley-Grisham, LB Alec Dietsch, TE Mitch Gallagher and others without a little drop off.

UWW at 15? C'monman. Sure they got knocked out of the playoffs by JCU last season, but they still went 12-1 and are only two seasons away from back-to-back National Championships.

Lastly, the poll screams out with Hobart at 19th with what is a bold-faced lie in the comments. The Statesmen aren't "switching to a 4-2-5" defensive scheme. I have no idea who the author of this article / poll spoke with, but the Statesmen have been a 4-4 scheme for the past 25+ years, so I'm not sure where this comment came from?

I will say this, and maybe it'll be a future, more detailed post, but the question mark I have going into 2017 season is who will be starting at OLBs in that 4-4 scheme? Hobart has been blessed with great, all-time even, players at that position for the last 6 seasons.

Think about this - Devin Worthington '13, Nolan Toran '15, Marcus Jemison '17, Michael Harper '17 - all these guys had excellent college careers and helped lead the Statesmen defense by consistently making big plays in big games. With no starters returning back at this position in 2017, save for perhaps rising SR DB Tommy D'Antonio who played well filling in during Jemison's injuries which sidelined him a couple of times last year, I'll be curious to see who steps into these roles for Hobart's defense this fall.

The only thing I liked about this poll is the inclusion of WNE which has grown into a solid program, arguably the best in New England (at least until Coach DeWall's Endicott Gulls eventually topple them). The Golden Bears will be on a couple of LL schedules this fall and are the favorite to win the now CCC (formally the NEFC) and return to the NCAA playoffs. I would probably have WNE in the 24-25 range, or maybe "receiving votes" if I was a pollster, but I do believe they merit consideration.


You can expect to see Hobart in the D3football.com Top 25 when it's released later in July. The Statesmen got a few shout outs on the last "Around the Nation" podcast which you can check out here if you missed it.

Wishing everyone a happy and healthy summer. Only two more months until preseason camp!

Thanks for reading and go ' Bart!



Monday, June 12, 2017

DC Kory David Departs, National Search Underway

Doug Samuels of FootballScoop.com reports that Hobart College will open a national search for a new Defensive Coordinator upon the resignation of Coach Kory David. Samuels indicated that David "has decided to pursue opportunities closer to his family in Philadelphia." Apparently Mrs. David still works for the Philadelphia Eagles, where Coach David was employed for a few years prior to taking the Statesman DC job.

A link to the article can be seen here.

Samuels goes on to say that "[t]here will be a national search to fill his position in the weeks to come. Formal job opening announcement will be posted early next week."

While this is bad timing for the Hobart coaching staff on one hand, the good news this role will garner a lot of interest given the Statesmen's track record.

Please join me in wishing Coach David all the best in his future endeavors.

Thanks for reading and go 'Bart!

Monday, June 5, 2017

Statesmen 16th in Preseason Poll, Sweeney & Shed All-D3

College Football Preseason polls normally don't go out until August, but publications like Street & Smith (f/k/a The Sporting News) and Lindy's like to jump the gun apparently. Last Wednesday, S&S put out the below Division 3 Top 25 poll, placing Hobart at 16th. I'm still tracking down the Lindy's poll, but I'd suspect it has Hobart in a similar position based on past experience (edit: I did find it and it was kind of surprising. Checking on a couple things before I comment more on it).

While 16th is respectable, it was kind of interesting that the Statesmen were behind Frostburg State, who lost to Wesley 43-7 and didn't even make the NCAAs last season. To their credit, they did beat (a rather thin due to injury) Saint John Fisher team in an ECAC bowl game, 38-14, but I would still have placed Hobart over the Bobcats.


The preseason awards have already started for rising SR QB Shane Sweeney and SR WR Brandon Shed. Lindy's named both to their "All-DIV III" offensive team as shown below:

 

Sweeney was also named to Street & Smith's preseason D3 All-American team. Koree Reed (Hartwick) and Jesse Zubik (W&J) took the WR honors. Reed and Shed have alternated on 1st team All-American awards in 2016, with Shed earning a higher mark by D3football.com, but Reed being given the 1st team nod by the AFCA. The good news they can "settle it on the field" when Hobart plays Hartwick on October 14th.

SR P Rio Schmidt also received preseason All-D3 recognition as a specialist, on the second team. Statesmen fans will recall Schmidt having a great 2016 season, earning co-STPOTY honors from the Liberty League.

While I think Hobart will be placed higher in the upcoming D3football.com and AFCA preseason polls (which will probably come out in August), time will tell where they will end up. My guess is in the 12-15 range, based on last season's results and the number of players coming back in 2017.

Thanks for reading and go 'Bart!

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Tribute to a Great Statesman

I hope everyone had a happy and healthy Memorial Day Weekend.

For the 500th post on the blog I wanted to recognize the passing of Mr. John Collins, a WWII veteran, retired policeman and long-time Hobart Athletics and HWS Colleges employee, fan, parent, administrator and contributor.

Decades of Statesmen athletes have knew, loved and appreciated Mr. Collins and he's about as synonymous with Hobart Athletics as anyone has been in the 100+ history of the program.

You can read about "JC" here.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Collins' and the extended Zupan, Van Etten, Rogers and Dosky families.


Thank you for all you have done for Hobart and HWS, Mr. Collins, and may you rest in peace.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Fix Bayonets!

Hobart OC Jon Drach tweeted out the picture below today stating "To be the best you better play the best!. .571 opponent winning % in 2016, 2 teams in D3football.com Top 25 / NCAA East [Regional] Ranking." As I posted back on 2/13/17 and 3/21/17, the Statesmen have pulled together a tough slate of opponents for the 2017 season, but have the home field advantage of no road trips in the month of September and no road trips over 3 hours from Geneva.
 
With "Fix Bayonets" to harken back to the patriots or colonial fighters of old, the Statesmen (which really are a group a "wise, skillful and respected political leaders"), appear ready for battle in 2017.
 

Thanks for reading and go 'Bart!

Monday, May 8, 2017

Be A Fan

There are 117 days to go until Hobart kicks off against Brockport State so we'll have to wait through the "dog days of summer" until football season starts. I won't have much to report on until preseason camp begins, so in the meantime, please check out the "Parents and Fans of Hobart Football" page on Facebook.com.

Originally started by super-dad/fan Jon McGriff P'15, the PFHF page has grown to almost 250 members. It's a great resource for Statesmen news and is a helpful spot to learn of tailgate and other information once the season is in full swing.

Frank Weiss P'20, father of FY OL Elijah Weiss, has taken over the reigns for the site from Jon and will be the go-forward administrator. So if you're part of the Hobart Football family or just a fan, reach out to Frank and have him add you to the group.

The lack of timely and meaningful social media coverage by the HWS Communications department make sites like Jon and Frank's an important add to the Statesmen Football family, especially for those who don't live near Upstate NY and have to follow the team remotely. So if you haven't already, please reach out to Frank and sign up.


It's hard (for me anyway) to believe that this site is about to publish it's 500th post as it continues to creep towards 200k+ in pageviews. While I don't really know if any of that is important or meaningful, it does feel like some sort of milestone. You'd have to go back to August 2009 to know the story of how this blog began - really as a suggestion from a classmate given some pre- and post-game email previews, recaps and other posts I'd done in the mid-2000's as the Hobart Football team started becoming a regular fixture in the league title and NCAA playoff races.

As the SAA says, "Be A Fan" and I'll continue to do so and hope you will as well. Check out the Facebook page if you haven't already and best to you and yours for a great summer!

Thanks for reading and go 'Bart!


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Captain, My Captain - Hobart Announces 2017 Captains

Hobart OC Jon Drach tweeted out the 2017 Captains of your Hobart College Statesmen Football team last Thursday. It's a smaller group than in previous years, but still an accomplished one.

The Captains are (all rising):

SR LB Almamy Conde - Conde led the Statesmen defense with 96 total, including 46 solo, stops in 2016. He started all 11 games after starting five as a SO. Conde earned 2nd team All-League honors for finishing fifth in the LL overall in tackles.
SR DL Zack Robak - Robak overcame injuries early in his career to start all 11 games in 2016 and produce 47 total tackles, including six TFL and three sacks. Robak has tallied 91 total tackles, 10.5 TFL and 4.5 sacks for his career.
SR QB Shane Sweeney - Sweeney rewrote many Statesmen passing records, throwing for nearly 3,500 yards and 36 passing TDs last season. Sweeney earned LL OPOTY, 1st team All-League, 1st team All-ECAC and D3football.com All-American Honorable Mention, among other honors.
SR TE Zach Withers - Withers is an excellent blocker and receiver, scoring two TDs in the NCAA playoffs against Mount Union. He has 42 receptions in the 31 games he's appeared in for the Statesmen, gaining 484 yards and scoring six TDs.