Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Now It's Time to Play..."You Be The AD!"

The Statesmen have an open date in the 2015 season and are currently looking to fill September 19, 2015 with a home game in Geneva, NY. As with longer term out of conference games (e.g., Dickinson), Hobart has been open to multi-year (i.e., "home and away") contracts. Historically the Statesmen prefer teams in the eastern region given travel and other expenses. It also doesn't hurt to have away games in areas that have an abundance of HWS alums, prospective students and/or recruits for obvious reasons.

That said it's kind fun to imagine potential "what if" scenarios, albeit tempered by a little dose of reality, of course. In this "game", let's take what D3football.com has posted as the teams who reportedly share the same 9/19/15 open date as the Statesmen.

Those teams are:
  1. Cal Lutheran
  2. Catholic
  3. Coe
  4. Guilford
  5. Hampden-Sydney
  6. Husson
  7. Kean
  8. Linfield
  9. North Central (Ill.)
  10. North Park
  11. Pacific Lutheran
  12. Simpson
  13. UW-Oshkosh
  14. Wartburg
  15. Washington and Lee
Taking a quick look we can probably quickly eliminate 10 teams given driving and/or flying distance:

  1. Cal Lutheran - Thousand Oaks, CA (I used to live close by here, nice campus, beautiful new stadium but requires a long flight if not flights)
  2. Coe - Cedar Rapids, IA (almost 900 miles)
  3. Guilford - Greensboro, NC (over 600 miles)
  4. Linfield - McMinnville, OR (flight)
  5. North Central - Naperville, IL (having done the drive from Geneva to Chicago, this one's definitely too far, especially if you're in a UHaul truck and drive through a hail storm)
  6. North Park - Chicago, IL (see above)
  7. PacLu - Tacoma, WA (flight)
  8. Simpson - Indianola, IA (could be a Field of Dreams out there but too far)
  9. UW-Oshkosh - WI (too far? You betcha)
  10. Wartburg - Waverly, IA (see above)
Now I realize that it's possible that any of the above teams could consider a "one and done" deal to travel to Geneva to play Hobart. Of the above my best guess would be either NCC or UWO given their heavy commitment to playing the best teams in the country (which these days we can definitely put Hobart in that category). That said there are a lot of midwestern D3 programs that are closer / better geographic fits for them so the possibility they'd schlep to NY isn't very likely.

That leaves us with realistically only five potential match ups which I would "lump" into these two categories:

"East Coast" teams
  1. Husson - Bangor, ME
  2. Kean - Union, NJ
"DC/VA" teams
  1. Catholic - Washington, DC
  2. Hampden-Sydney - H-S, VA
  3. Washington and Lee - Lexington, VA
I don't like Husson for a couple of reasons. First, their conference (the ECFC) really isn't strong. The Eagles went 5-5 in 2013 after posting two, zero and one win seasons from 2010-12 (yikes). Combined with the fact Hobart easily ousted the 2013 ECFC Champions Galluadet, 34-7, in the first round of the NCAAs, I wouldn't pick this match up. Also, Bangor is about as far east as it gets, and at almost 600 miles away, I don't know if either team would want to make this bus trip.

Kean on the other hand is very interesting. They are a solid progran in the NJAC, one of the best conferences in the East Region. The Cougars have fallen on tough times of late, only winning two games in 2013 after only being two seasons removed from going 10-2 and making the NCAA playoffs. Union (in this case NJ, not our rivals in Schenectady, NY) is less than a five hour drive from Geneva and only 25 miles from NYC making a longer term home/away series attractive (at least from a Hobart perspective. Kean may not see the same value in going to Upstate NY).

Catholic would be a nice match up too given their location and their recent turn of getting more competitive in the ODAC. The Cardinals have posted back to back six win seasons and would be a good test for Hobart. Like Kean, it would depend on whether or not Catholic saw any reciprocal value in playing the Statesmen. DC has a lot of HWS alumni/ae and would be a nice location for Hobart to get a home and away series set up.

Both HSC and W&L are great ODAC programs as well but likely a long shot given their location (over 450 miles away from Geneva). Statesmen fans obviously remember the latter from the first round of the NCAAs in 2012. Hobart won that contest against the Generals' vaunted triple option attack by a score of 38-20. Although the chances of either of these working out aren't likely, if I could pick one game I'd like to see, I'd go with HSC. The Tigers come into 2014 as the defending ODAC Champions and would be a very tough out / great playoff preparation for the Statesmen.

Given the above I'd rank my choices as follows:

1. Kean
2. Catholic
3. HSC

Who would you pick?

Thanks for reading and go 'Bart!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Let The Countdown Begin

HWS SID Ken DeBolt has started the countdown to the 2014 season yesterday as @hwssid tweeted the Statesmen were 150 days away from their season opener vs. Dickinson College.

Hobart's schedule is listed below. Nice work on the helmet / dates look! Only 149 days and counting....

Go Bart!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Benjamin's Brandon Shed Keeps Palm Beach to Hobart Pipeline Going

Happy Friday everyone! This is post #300 for the blog (and it's a good one).

The Palm Beach Post's Jodie Wagner reports Benjamin School WR/DB Brandon Shed plans to continue his academic and football career at Hobart College.

A multi-talented two sport athlete, Shed played all over the field in 2013 for Benjamin. He caught 21 passes and three TDs as a WR, rushed for 205 yards and one TD as a RB/Wildcat QB while also tallying 27 tackles, including a defensive TD as a DB. On special teams Shed added a punt return for a TD. In the (football) off season, Brandon also stars on the Buccaneer Boys Basketball team.

What can't this young man do?!!?

On a more serious note, the article mentions some surprise that Shed didn't garner more Division I / FCS consideration. Although he stands tall at 6'3" he weighs 180 lbs which may be considered "too thin" by some coaches. I say it's their loss and a Statesmen gain! Brandon's should grow, both literally and figuratively, into a significant contributor to the Hobart program.

His highlights can be seen here.

I found it somewhat ironic that the Buccaneers colors (orange and blue) closely resemble Hobart's. I also liked how his visit coincided with my birthday (Feb 13) and his visit was extended a bit due to the bad snow storms of last month. Clearly the cold wasn't an issue and the extra time on campus sold him, as it does to most who visit Geneva, irrespective of the seasons.

With his acceptance into Hobart Shed joins four other Sunshine-State players on the Statesmen Football team.  Brandon is the second Palm Beach Gardens native (SO OLB Jacob Stanley being the other), on the Hobart squad. With Devin Worthington '14 graduating and pursuing a potential pro football career, we could see Brandon (shown below) in #5 this fall for the Statesmen.

While I wouldn't be surprised if Asst HC and OC Kevin DeWall '00 keeps Brandon as a WR, it would be pretty awesome to see a 6'3" DB patrolling the secondary for Hobart. That would be reminiscent of the days when HOFer and All-American Billy Palmer '94 covered the Boz for the Statesmen.

Please join me in welcoming Brandon to the Hobart family! Go 'Bart!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Springville's Ball Selects Hobart

Dave Deluca of the Springville Journal (WNY) reported last week that Springville-Griffith Institute's SR O/DL Brandon Ball will attend and play football at Hobart this fall. A link to the article can be found here.

Ball is an interesting story in that he played his SR season at only 16 years old, meaning he'll most likely be the youngest player on the Statesmen roster this fall. Still, it sounds like Brandon is a mature young man. He was elected Captain by his teammates and he also has the physical stats, standing 6' 2" and weighing 240 lbs. All the above look and sound good as a potential DE/DL (and he probably isn't finished growing yet).

His HC Rob Valenti (pictured below with Ball), describes Brandon as a "leader by example." Valenti, although he didn't graduate from Hobart, played for the Statesmen in 2001. That familarity had to have helped during the recruiting process.

Ball reportedly looked at Ithaca and Alfred as well as upper Division schools, such as the University of Buffalo (which offered walk on opportunities). Although the article has several typos (e.g., not getting Hobart HC Mike Cragg's last name correct) and other inaccuracies (e.g., HWS doesn't offer a degree in "athletic training", but it sure does graduate a lot of pre-med kids), it does a nice job of emphasizing Ball's leadership and accomplishments on the gridiron.

Please join me in welcoming Brandon to the Hobart Football Family!

Thanks for reading and go 'Bart!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Broadneck's Fischer Commits to Hobart

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

The Washington Post's "Recruit Watch" reports that Broadneck SR HS (Annapolis, MD) ILB Randall ("Randy") Fischer has commited to attend and play football at Hobart. Barring other enrollees, Randy will join SO OL Patrick O'Connell, III as the only other "Old Line" Statesmen players.

Fischer was a three year starter and team captain for the Bruins, which went 8-3 overall in 2013. He led the team with 104 tackles, setting the varsity school career record with 296. He has good size at 6' 2" 215 lbs and his playing accollades were numerous, including:
  • Team MVP
  • First Team All County
  • Baltimore Sun First Team Defense, All Metro,
  • Washington Post Second Team Defense, All Metro
  • First Team Defense, All State, by the Maryland Football History (web site Maryland High School Football Reference)
  • Invited to play in the 18th Annual Baltimore Touchdown Club Senior All-Star Game
You can see Randy in action on the following highlight reel.  More highlights can be found at HUDL.com.

With the graduation of SR OLB Dan Sweeney, we could see Fischer in #44 for Hobart this fall.

Welcome to the Statesmen family Randy!

Go 'Bart!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Quay Committs to Hobart

James Allen of the Albany Times Union recently reported that Shaker HS SR TE/LB Dylan Quay has committed to attend and play football at Hobart.

Quay starred on Blue Bison teams that won the Section II Class AA title in 2012 and were runners up (after a 13-8 loss to Christian Brother's Academy) in 2013. 

Quay is 6' 0"-1" and 220-225 lbs making him a potential RB/TE or H-back candidate on offense. Quay also played LB at Shaker but it appears based on the Times Union article that Dylan will be slated as an H-back at Hobart.

Dylan's highlights show he has good athletic ability, can block and catch passes out of the backfield.

Please join me in welcoming Dylan to Hobart!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

USSC Taps Hobart for First Camp in NYS

PRWEB.com reported today that Contact Football Camps (CFC), a subsidiary of United States Sports Camps (USSC), Inc has selected Hobart College to be it's first foray into New York State.

CFC is a summer football program that teaches kids aged 8-18 on fundamentals of the game. Statesmen Defensive Coordinator Nick Grange will act as Camp Director. Other members of the Hobart coaching staff will assist Coach Grange over the course of the program which is currently scheduled to run from July 21-24.

A link to the announcement and additional details can be found here and here.