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.


Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Shed Works Out for NFL Scouts, 6 Earn NFF Honors

The "Boz" was packed and rowdy a week ago, Wednesday, April 5th, as the Hobart College Statesmen hosted local rival, and (then) #2 ranked Syracuse in lacrosse. A great picture of that capacity crowd can be seen below:


During the Spectrum broadcast Hobart Football D3football.com 1st Team All-American and rising SR WR Brandon Shed was interviewed by Mark Collins (who also happens to be an alumnus, Class of 1982). He commented on how he was going to be looked at by NFL scouts on Monday, April 10. Hopefully that workout went well.

HWSAthletics.com also announced on April 11 that six members of the Class of 2017 earned recognition from the National Football Foundation for their excellence in the classroom. A link to that announcement can be found here.

The student athletes honored were:

SR FB Sean Bright
SR RB Bradley Burns
SR WR Sean Cunningham
SR DE James Hedger
SR WR Jack Pfohl 
SR OL Nick Testani

Congratulations to these soon to be Hobart graduates on a great academic (and football) year!

Thanks for reading and go 'Bart!


Monday, April 3, 2017

Behind Enemy Lines (LL 2017 Schedule News)

At this point pretty much all of Hobart's Liberty League (LL) rivals have released their 2017 football game schedules. Ithaca, Saint Lawrence, Union and RPI published theirs either via social media and/or directly on their athletics websites in the last couple of weeks. In case you missed it, I reported on Hobart's 10 game schedule back on 2/13/17 and once again on 3/21/17 after the exciting announcement of adding Saint John Fisher.

The only holdout is Rochester at this point, but we can expect the Yellow Jackets to likely announce their dates later this spring. Their LL game schedule is easy to deduce with the five other programs already out there, but it remains to be seen if OOC games with Catholic (who recently joined the NEWMAC), for example, will be in play again for 2017? I have read online that UofR has agreed to play Alfred (although they did have a game against Alfred State last season, but the Pioneers have joined the ECFC, so that series may be off now that Alfred State has landed in a new conference) but that's about it. I emailed their SID today and will provide an update when I hear back from him.

Without further ado, let's get started taking a look at SLU's schedule:

Wk 1 @ Utica
Wk 2 @ Norwich
Wk 3 vs. Ithaca* (update as of 4/20/17 - this date is confirmed)
Wk 4 Bye*
Wk 5 @ WNEU (defending NEFC, now CCC, Champions, 2016 NCAA playoff participant)
Wk 6 @ Union
Wk 7 vs. Buffalo State (who we now know should be a LL member by next season)
Wk 8 vs. Rochester
Wk 9 vs. RPI
Wk 10 @ Hobart
Wk 11 vs. Brockport

That's a pretty tough schedule for the Saints, but it shows they realized that their strength of schedule (SoS) probably kept them out of an at-large (aka Pool C) playoff bid in 2016 even after going 9-1. They definitely won't have SoS issues this fall pairing up with three Empire 8 teams and an OCC game against a 2016 NCAA playoff team in WNEU.

The only questions I'd have about this schedule would be:

- How will the Saints' defense reload after graduating a very large SR class?
- How will they fare having only one home game in the first six weeks of the season?
- Will this tougher OCC schedule cost them in the hunt for a playoff berth?

Now we go to Ithaca, which interestingly enough, has the game against the Saints pegged for Wk 4, not Wk 3. That's probably a typo, but here's the Bombers schedule:

Wk 1 vs. Alfred (Undefeated Empire 8 Champions and 2016 National quarterfinalists)
Wk 2 @ Brockport
Wk 3 @ SLU*
Wk 4 Bye
Wk 5 vs. Hobart
Wk 6 @ Rochester
Wk 7 @ RPI
Wk 8 vs. Saint John Fisher
Wk 9 @ Utica
Wk 10 vs. Union
Wk 11 vs. Cortland (Cortaca Jug rivalry game)

Another tough slate, especially for a program with a new coaching staff and questions coming off a disappointing 5-5 campaign in 2016. It's possible the Bombers could be 0-3 when they host the Statesmen in Wk 5 (mostly likely off a bye) but Hobart can't be too overconfident as the Statesmen have never won a game at Butterfield Stadium. All five of Hobart's wins in the series (1983, 2000, 2002, 2014 and 2016) have only happened in Geneva.

A couple of comments, questions I have regarding IC's schedule included:

- Are the Bombers setting themselves up for failure with basically 3 teams that finished in the D3football.com Top 25 in the first half of the season? I suppose if they can beat SLU it sets up a potential elimination game with Hobart in the following week.
- Although they never leave NYS, the only back-to-back home games come in Weeks 10&11. That's tough to say the least.

Union College surprised many with their 2017 schedule. This is probably due to the program's recent struggles (no winning seasons since 2012 and only eight wins overall in the last four seasons). Without a bye week until late in the season, the Dutchmen will have to try and grind out some wins against a relatively weaker OOC slate before getting into LL play. A couple of long road trips to Bangor, ME and Washington, DC are probably for alumni support and a win over Husson would be considered an upset by many.

Union's schedule is as follows:

Wk 1 @ Husson (defending ECFC Champions and 2016 NCAA playoff participant)
Wk 2 vs. Coast Guard
Wk 3 @ Gallaudet
Wk 4 @ Curry
Wk 5 @ Morrisville State
Wk 6 vs. SLU
Wk 7 @ Rochester
Wk 8 vs. Hobart
Wk 9 Bye
Wk 10 @ Ithaca
Wk 11 RPI (Dutchmen Shoes rivalry game)

While some of these OOC teams should be beatable, having only two home games thru Week 7 is a tough road to hoe for the Dutchmen also. I suppose the one positive is both traditional rivals of RPI and Hobart are home games and the last road trip to Ithaca will be coming off a bye week.

RPI recently released their schedule with HC Ralph Isernia boasting they will have a "Top 10 SOS" (based on the winning percentages from 2016 most likely). Here are the Engineers' opponents for 2017:

Wk 1 vs. William Patterson University
Wk 2 @ WPI (Transit Trophy game)
Wk 3 vs. WNEU (defending NEFC/CCC Champion and 2016 NCAA playoff participant)
Wk 4 @ Buffalo State
Wk 5 Bye
Wk 6 @ Hobart
Wk 7 vs. Ithaca
Wk 8 @ Alfred (Undefeated Empire 8 Champions and 2016 National quarterfinalists)
Wk 9 @ SLU
Wk 10 vs. Rochester
Wk 11 @ Union (Dutchmen Shoes rivalry game)

Coach Isernia has a pretty valid argument about the difficulty of this schedule. While opening with WPU isn't a tough match up (they finished tied for last in the NJAC last season), RPI has OOC games with two conference champions / NCAA playoff teams, plus their usual LL schedule, which includes three key games on the road. The Engineers have tripped up Hobart in recent years, having beaten the Statesmen in consecutive seasons (Hobart won three in a row from 2012-14). I noticed RPI has their bye week before they go to Geneva for their LL opener. Coincidence? Maybe. Maybe not.

That's it for now. In the meantime, I'll be on the look out for more recruiting news.

Thanks for reading and go 'Bart!

PS - Did hear from UofR, but schedule is still "unofficial". Alfred and Alfred State were listed as well as two more OOC games on their nine game regular season schedule, but hasn't been confirmed at this time.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Buff State to Join Liberty League (Probably)

D3football.com reported that Buffalo State is in the final stages of becoming the 7th member of the Liberty League, saving the conference's playoff automatic qualifier and necessitating some inter-league scheduling between the LL and the Empire 8.

Buff State and Hobart have scrimmaged each other in the preseason for the last couple of years but haven't faced off against one another in a regular season game since 1993 (a game which I was in attendance for and was a 10-0 shut out upset of the Bengals who were nationally ranked at the time). The all-time series between the two schools is deadlocked at 3-3. It's likely Buff State and Hobart will resume this match up in the 2018 season, or 2019 at the latest.

Last season Buff State finished 5-5 and 3-5 in the E8.

A link to the article posted earlier today can be seen here.  D3football.com added to their coverage of this topic on their April "Around the Nation" podcast as well. Tune into the entire thing here (or fast forward to the 11 minute mark if your main concern is Buff St's move to the LL).

Thanks for reading (and listening) and go 'Bart!



The Latest on the Class of 2021

Coach Drach kept busy on Twitter earlier this week with another group of student athletes who plan to attend Hobart as part of the Class of 2021. The final tally, including these seven, is a total of 47 new Statesmen joining the squad this fall. With this deep and strong recruiting class, Hobart Football is in good shape for years to come.


Hopkinton HS SR QB Jimmy Adams is "another weapon coming in from New England." Tall, strong armed and able to tuck and run when needed, Adams is another prototypical pocket passer that's a great fit for Coach Drach's #AirShow offense. Jimmy's highlight reel can be seen here.


Another recruit from "Strong Island", Chris earned All-County honors as LT for the Class 1 Long Island Champions, Garden City HS. While probably undersized to play OT in college, Chris' ability to lock down DL will get him looks at guard. A versatile athlete, Ciurina may be looked at for defense as well. Chris' highlight reel can be seen here.


Although he hails from MA, Jack used his PG year to get on Coach Drach's radar at NHS in NH where he starred at RB. With 4.5 speed, Coach is looking for Jack to "[jump] on the I90 train to Hobart" and to convert to WR. With break away speed, Daley will be a coverage match up problem for opposing DBs. His highlight reel can be seen here.


Thomas Hamrah is a stocky and tough nose guard who joins a number of future classmates in this class from NJ. With a low center of gravity and strong legs to push past would be blockers, Hamrah creates problems for opposing team's gap assignments. His highlight can be viewed here.


Nick will join ABHS teammate Cal Sullivan as yet "another defensive back from Acton Boxboro" on the Statesmen squad. At 6' 193 lbs, McCarthy brings size and strength to the Hobart secondary.


Pelow earned the "Section II Defensive Player of the Year" award as a LB for Bethlehem HS. He can cover and is a hitter who plays with a fast motor. His highlight reel can be viewed here.


Last but definitely not least is a student athlete who's committed to Hobart from another alumni, All-American LB and now teacher / coach Devin Worthington '13 (aka the People's Champ ;) JaQuan starred at RB for Chehsire Academy but he also played in secondary which is likely where he'll land in college. Sheals was a sure tackler and will work to get an opportunity to play some special teams as a FY while he learns the system. His highlight reel can be seen here. JaQuan is also the adopted son of NFL HOF Deion Sanders, so I suppose it's "Primetime" up at Hobart.

I hope you've enjoyed these previews of the 2021 recruiting class. I'll have more on Hobart's LL opposition and their 2017 schedules in my next post.

Thanks for reading and go 'Bart!