Monday, September 29, 2014

Weekend Wrap Up

The Statesmen went back to basics, rushing for 404 yards and six TDs in a 42-7 win over the United States Merchant Marine Academy.

Donning orange home jerseys for the first time since the 1980's, Hobart (4-0, 1-0) got off to quick start as JR RBs Connor Hartigan and Alex Furtado scoring on one and five yard runs to post the Statesmen to a 14-0 lead with 5:06 to go in the first quarter.

The home team had a lot to cheer about and Mr McGriff led the Homecoming crowd in several H-O-B-A-R-T chants like this one.

The Mariners (2-2, 0-1) looked to make it a game, driving into Hobart territory. SO FS Matt Cragg ended the threat when he intercepted Merchant Marine QB Matthew McDaniels in the end zone for a touchback.

Two plays later this happened. Hear this play and other highlights here.

The second Hartigan score made it 21-0 with 13:24 to go in the first half. The Statesmen would add two more scores by SO RB Brad Burns and SR FB Dominique Ellis to take a commanding 35-0 halftime lead. 

Although JR RB Mario Colangelo would break the shutout, Hobart would win the game. Leading the Statesmen were Furtado and Hartigan with 98 and 90 yards and a pair of TDs. SR RB Colin Hinchey led the Mariners with 104 yards on 13 carries.

Defensively JR DT Tucker Gumkowski led the Statesmen with seven tackles, including a forced fumble. USMMA were led by Dillon Reaves and Cody Fields with six tackles each.

Hobart, who moved up to ninth in the D3football.com Top 25, will travel to Worcester to take on WPI (1-3, 0-1) this Saturday.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

USMMA / Homecoming Preview

The 11th ranked Hobart College Statesmen return to Geneva to host the United States Merchant Marine Academy Saturday for Homecoming / Family Weekend. Hobart (3-0) is coming off a dominant 43-13 win over Curry (0-3). The Mariners (2-1) ran out to a 31-0 halftime lead en route to a 37-14 rout of industry rivals SUNY-Maritime (1-2).

Saturday's game marks the opening of the Liberty League schedule for both squads. Last season USMMA gave the Statesmen one of their tougher league games, keeping the highpowered Hobart offense in check to the tune of a modest 10-0 halftime lead. Although the Statesmen defense kept the USMMA at bay until the end of the game, Hobart had more respect for the Mariners after that 24-8 contest.

The series has been a lopsided one as the Statesmen are 10-0 against the Mariners since the USMMA joined the LL. Hobart leads the overall series 10-4 and the USMMA hasn't beat the Statesmen since the 1960's.

Scouting the Mariners

Coach Toop returns a good number of players from last season who saw the Mariners start off 4-1 until the government shutdown ruined their season. #11 JR QB Matt McDaniels leads a triple option offense that churns out an average of 299 YPG on the ground. McDaniels can throw and will likely need to better his 2013 Hobart game performance of seven of 11 for 121 yards to give the USMMA a fighting chance. McDaniels' QB Coach is no stranger to Hobart, USMMA's Jimmy Robertson played QB for RPI in the latter part of the last decade, beating the Statesmen in 2007.

#2 SR RB/WR Luke Stidham, #32 SR RB Colin Hinchey and #37 JR RB Mario Colangelo (leads team with four rush TDs) are key weapons that McDaniels will look to leverage against a very stingy Hobart defense. Stidham actually had a solid game against the Statesmen in 2012, rushing for 161 yards and one TD as well as passing for 68 yards in a 42-21 loss. In spite of the final score, Hobart was only up 14-6 at the half. The USMMA OL is anchored by #78 SR OL Jacob Magrey.

Defensively, the Mariners are led by #68 SR DL and Co-Captain Andrew Hendrix. USMMA has a solid defensive backfield of #20 SO DB Patrick Keyes, #6 JR DB Skyler Stone, #8 SR DB Colin Putnam. #34 SR OLB Matt Jernigan is Texas tough. Joining Hendrix on the DL is #88 SR Michael Hutchinson.

The Mariners struggled against the Coast Guard (1-2) passing attack and that game pushed up their 382.7 YPG in total offense allowed to go with 26 PPG allowed statistics.

On special teams #96 FY PK Sean McDonough and #98 FY Erik Swayne handle kicking duties. Swayne kicked 22 and 24 yard FGs against SUNY-Maritime and averaged 51.7 yards on kickoffs.  McDonough converted a 30 yard FG against Apprentice in Week 1. Swayne also handles punting duties for the Mariners.

Keys to the Game:

1. Rush defense - Hobart is currently ranked third in the nation in rushing defense, allowing only 41 YPG. If you take out the Dickinson game, the Statesmen have allowed -23 yards on 42 carries. The Mariners average about 66 running plays a game. If the run is stuffed, McDaniels will be forced to pass, which the Mariners have only done 23 times in three games.
2. Third down - The USMMA has only converted 45.83% (22-48) of their third downs and Hobart is ninth in the nation in third down conversion defense (56% or 28-50). It's somewhat self explantory if the Mariners can't run or convert.
3. Halftime adjustments - The past two seasons have seen Hobart offense get off to slow starts against the Mariners defense. This season Hobart has outscored their opponents 71-12 in the first half. If the Statesmen can get a few scores up early on the USMMA, it'll be tough for the Mariners to come back.
4. Field position - Stidham has done an excellent job in the kick return game, helping the Mariners average 33.7 YPR. Hobart's kick coverage hasn't been great so far this season, so this could be something to keep an eye on. On the flip side, USMMA's Swayne struggled punting last weekend averaging only 25.7 YPP.

Prediction:

On Sunday night's ITH I predicted a 30-14 Statesmen victory. After seeing FY WR Brandon Shed's highlight reel from the Curry game I may push that number up to 40+ given the Mariners struggles defending the pass. Shed was several steps behind the Colonels and I could see the same happening Saturday.

I hope everyone enjoys Homecoming / Family Weekend. I'll be tuning into WEOS and replaying the highlights on Sunday, 9/28 at www.inthehuddlle.com.

Thanks for reading and go 'Bart!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

#12 Hobart Cruises Past Colonels, 43-13

The 12th ranked Hobart College Statesmen traveled to the Boston suburbs for the second time in as many weeks to take on the Curry College Colonels.

It was clear the Colonels (0-3) were out-ranked in pretty much every way by the Statesmen (3-0) as Hobart scored FIVE TDs in the first half along with a defensive safety to post an insurmountable 37-0 halftime lead.

Although Curry would score twice to open the second half, Hobart would win the game 43-13.

Leading the Statesmen was FY WR Brandon Shed with two TD catches covering 103 yards. Quite a debut for the Benjamin School grad from FL and I hope we see #5 getting his number called more often as the season unfolds.

Classmate FY FS Tommy D'Antonio led all Hobart tacklers with seven stops. Although Curry QB Mike O'Hearn scorched the reserves for 243 passing yards and two TDs, he was intercepted twice (one by SR OLB and Co-Capt Matt McGriff and another by rising star SO DB Todd Collier) and the Statesmen D held Curry to -30 rushing yards on the day.

Up next is the USMMA (2-1) and their triple option offense. The Mariners better work on their passing game, otherwise I think another lopsided win is coming for Hobart at their 2014 Homecoming and Family Weekend.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Curry Game Preview

The twelfth ranked Hobart College Statesmen will travel to Milton, MA to take on the Curry Colonels of the New England Football Conference (NEFC). Curry (0-2), once a perennial playoff team and NEFC championship contender, has fallen back a bit since their hey days of the prior decade.

Part of Curry's growing pains are due to inexperience. #15 SO QB Sean Conroy for example will be making only his third career start when he lines up against the Statesmen defense Saturday. Conroy has good size (6' 1" 200 lbs) and is likely to attempt over 40 passes in Saturday's game based on his current stats. Conroy has passed for 305 yards and two TDs but has thrown four interceptions.

Look for Curry to spread the field and use a variety of receivers. Leading the Colonels going into this game is #84 SO WR Jake Cawlina with 84 receiving yards and a TD. Curry's run game is not a strength, as shown by the Colonels only gaining 82 rushing yards (that's a total....) and a paltry 1.5 yards per carry. These stats are kind of surprising given the size of #7 SR RB Trae Weathers (6' 230 lbs), but the Revere, MA native only has 55 yards on 17 carries this season.

Defensively Curry is led by #6 SR LB Jose Rodriguez with 15 tackles, including one tackle for loss (TFL). Rodriguez led the Colonels with 55 total tackles last season.

Keys to the Game:
1. Get on the Board Early - Although they've been outscored 50-14 on the season, Curry's defense hasn't given up a TD in the first half this season. In fact, only a FG has been scored on the Colonel's so far. It'll be an uphill climb for Curry if they fall behind early in this one.
2. Collapse the Pocket - Curry is a one dimensional team and if Hobart's DL and DEs get to Conroy, it'll be game over. The young Statesmen secondary will have to play smart and use this game as an opportunity to continue to learn and improve defending the spread. I feel they're overdue for an interception (or more) too. Credit must be given to SO DB Todd Collier for a great game last weekend against Endicott. He "brought the lumber" delivering some hard hits and make big plays from the boundary and was recognized by the Liberty League as the Defensive Player of the Week for his 10 tackle performance.
3. Special Teams - This is nitpicky but there's definitely room for improvement in this department. Hobart pretty much dominated Endicott (0-2) on both sides of the ball in the first half last week, but a couple of special teams errors in the return game kept the Gulls hanging around.
4. Execute - Hobart fans have been a bit spoiled and thus don't see 11 and 10 point wins as "good enough". This game has potential to be a blowout, but the score really isn't as important as seeing the group of new starters get more experience and improve. Selfishly I'd like to see more of an emphasis in a short passing game, utilizing SR TE Mike Berkowitz or the WR corps on 8-9 yard slants or quick outs. That style of three step drop play mixed with straight ahead running (or a bubble screen here and there) by the Ellis-Hartigan-Burns-Furtado (EHBF) crew would improve Conlan's pass completions rate and keep opposing defenses on their heels (which is right when Coach DeWall gets them with a long bomb call ;).

Prediction:

A big Hobart crowd is expected to attend game thanks to former TE and 2011 Team Captain Greg Clifford '12 organizing an Alumni / Family tailgate party. The party aside, there should be a lot to cheer about if you're a Statesmen fan. No disrespect to the Colonels but Curry just doesn't have the depth and experience to compete with Hobart this season.

I'll take Hobart to win 35-7. My ITH co-host Frank Rossi said 42-3 and I wouldn't be surprised by that either. If you missed our interview with SR DE Tyre Coleman, check it out here.

Thanks for reading and go 'Bart!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Coleman and "The Goz" Highlight ITH 9-14 Show

Last night Frank Rossi and I had the pleasure of interviewing Hobart grad Tom "The Goz" Goslowski '12 of ESPN 1260 AM "The Score" and SR DE Tyre Coleman.


You can hear the playback of the show here.

We also recapped the Hobart-Endicott game and looked ahead for Week 3's match up vs. Curry. UofR SR QB Jordan Golinowski was also a guest.

I hope you'll give the podcast a listen. With all the bad news about football players coming to light in the national media, last night's interviews are a good reminder of how many good kids suit up to play this game and will go on to lead lives of consequence.

Coleman, arguably one of the most decorated football players in Hobart history, couldn't have been more humble. He talked about his study abroad experience to Wales, the importance of finishing his bachelors degree and the family atmosphere of the football team and HWS.

Give the show a listen. It's a refreshing and encouraging change of pace and is really why guys like me (and readers like you) support D3 football.

Thanks for reading and go 'Bart!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Hobart Clips Gulls, 28-18

The twelfth ranked Hobart College Statesmen made the first of what will be three trips to the Boston area when they traveled to Beverly, MA to face off against the Endicott College Gulls.

 The Hobart offense looked sharp early as they scored on consecutive first quarter possessions to post a 14-0 lead thanks to touchdown runs by SR QB Patrick Conlan and SO RB Brad Burns (a career first). Unfortunately a poor and unlucky special teams decision by SR WR Troy Robinson gave the Gulls their first break which lead to a 17 yard Kyle Regan field goal after the Hobart defense stiffened.

A second special teams mistake saw SR WR John Fasano elect to field a booming 61 yard Regan kickoff at his four yard line instead of taking the a touchback. Pinned deep, Endicott sacked Conlan for a safety making the score 14-5 Hobart with 6:44 to go in the half. A SO PK Sean Kirshe 39 yard field goal attempt missed wide left and the Statesmen nursed a 14-5 halftime lead.

The Statesmen started off the second half strong as Conlan would find Fasano on a nine yard route to push the Hobart lead to 21-5 after the Kirshe point after was good with 7:48 to go in the third quarter. Although Endicott made things interesting with two fourth quarter scores, the Statesmen would win the game 28-18.

Hobart was led by Conlan with 173 passing yards and two touchdowns. Defensively SO CB Todd Collier had a game high 10 tackles. SR DE Tyre Coleman sacked Frenette twice in the game, giving him 41 in his career and tying for sixth All-Time in Division III.

The Gulls were led by senior quarterback Drew Frenette with 221 passing yards and two touchdowns. Endicott’s Connor McLaughlin led the Gulls defense with nine stops.

The win improves the Statesmen to 2-0 overall and Hobart will go from north to south shore when they travel to Curry College next Saturday. The loss drops Endicott to 0-2 and the Gulls will travel to Union, New Jersey to take on Kean.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

#NeverForget

Each year on this date it's good to reflect and remember the events of 9/11/01.  They were tragic, terrible and changed our society, if not world, forever.

That day Hobart College lost three alumni, Scott Rohner '01, Michael Simon '83 and my former teammate Andrew Glokin '93, who's wearing #37 in the Hobart Football team photo below.

In memory of Andy I hope everyone will consider a donation of any size to the Andrew Golkin Memorial Scholarship Fund:

http://www.seo-usa.org/andrewgolkinfund/index.html

#NeverForget