Friday, August 29, 2014

Your 2014 Statesmen / Marpet to Appear on ITH Preseason Show

Eight more days until the 2014 season kicks off! Next week I'll post my Dickinson game preview and please make sure to tune in on Wednesday, Sept 3rd at 7:30 PM to to hear my interview with SR OL and Co-Captain #55 Ali Marpet.

"ITH" will be live Wednesday but available via podcast directly after we go off the air. We'll preview all eight Liberty League (LL) teams, the East Region and the big games of Week 1

We'll be back online on Sunday night, September 7 at 7:30 PM to recap the games and plays from Week 1, interviewing players and coaches from "Around the League".

In other Statesmen Football news, the squad scrimmaged against Buffalo State. Will Anthony, the father of SO QB Troy Anthony, posted a picture on Twitter and reported the team played well against a big, physical Bengals squad.

Thanks for reading and go 'Bart!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

2014 Hobart Football Preview - Offense

Last season Hobart ran the ball nearly 70% of their offensive possessions, but this statistic is misleading. The Statesmen were usually up by three or four TDs by the fourth quarter and didn’t really need to pass the ball more. Depending on a number of factors, how Hobart rises to the challenge of reloading key positions will be the story of 2014.

OL – This season Hobart only returns two starters, but they are both outstanding. SR OL and Co-Captain Ali Marpet was named a Preseason All-American by, Lindy’s and the Sporting News. His size (6' 4" 310 lbs) and ability have garnered pro scout interest as well. SR OL DeAndre' Smith returns as a starter at guard. At 6’3” 300+ lbs Smith is one the biggest Statesmen, literally and figuratively, on the team. DeAndre' worked hard in the offseason and came into camp in the best shape of his college career. Given Offensive Coordinator Kevin DeWall’s rotational system the open positions will be filled by players who’ve seen some game action. With nine other returning OL, there is depth in numbers, but the key is whether or not this unit can stay healthy and gel over the season. If they do, Hobart will once again have a great shot at winning another LL title and making a push to the NCAA playoffs.

RB – Although Steven Webb can’t really be replaced, the Statesmen have a lot of strong legs ready to run the ball in 2014. Hobart fans will probably initially focus in on JR RB Connor Hartigan who definitely has similar speed and breakaway capability as Webb did. The question mark here is durability given Hartigan missed parts of his FY and SO campaigns due to injuries. SO RB Brad Burns saw action in relief of Webb, notching the most carries by a RB other than #34, and could play a bigger role this season. Fortunately there is no shortage of RB talent on the roster. The question I have is whether a “feature back” will emerge in 2014 or if Hobart will take a “RB by committee” approach, similar to what they had back in the 2008-09 seasons?

QB – Much like the 2012 season the Statesmen have the luxury of two returning SR QBs. In this case, Co-Captain Patrick Conlan and Kyle Bayly both have a year running the offense under their respective belts. Although Conlan threw for the fewest total yards of any Hobart QB in the past 10+ seasons, he was very accurate, leading the LL in passing efficiency (with a 137 rating, 20 points higher than any other LL QB in 2013). This experience should help both SR QBs be more confident and capable this season.

FB – A mainstay for the past three seasons, SR FB Dominique Ellis finished second on the team in rushing with 309 yards and four scores in 2013. Along with JR FB Christopher Holoman, Ellis will bolster the young OL by paving the way for Statesmen RBs. Defenses can’t sleep on these two big guys either. Both had runs of 52 and 30 yards from scrimmage, respectively.

TE – SR Co-Captain Mike Berkowitz led the Hobart receiving corps with six TDs last season and will likely remain a favorite target in 2014. JR TE’s Nick Liverio and Josh Britton will also be in the mix.

WR – It’s been a while since I can remember so many experienced WRs returning to the Statesmen. The trio of SR WR and Co-Captain Troy Robinson, SR WR John Fasano and SR WR Elvin Souffrant accounted for a total of 1,071 receiving yards and 10 TDs last season. Given their and Conlan’s experience with the offense, there’s a lot of potential for this group. Other Statesmen WRs, of which there are several, should have the opportunity to make an impact on the field (and the scoreboard) this fall.

Overall the returning line up demonstrates the depth Hobart has developed for the past several seasons. Given another strong recruiting class, we may see some FY players make their mark on the program. 2014 features two new out of conference opponents (one which qualified for the NCAA playoffs and is picked to win their conference in 2014) and three trips to the Boston area which will be great for the Alumni base. If things work out, the Statesmen should have another successful season this fall.

Monday, August 25, 2014

2014 Hobart Football Preview - Defense

Defensively Hobart brings back one of the best teams in the East. The Statesmen “D” led the LL in scoring (14.5 PPG), total (296.4 YPG) and red zone (60.6%) defense in 2013. This unit remains mostly intact, save for the secondary, which we will discuss below:

DE – The Statesmen boast one of the best DEs in the nation. Once again led by SR DE Tyre Coleman opposing offensive coordinators will struggle to keep their QBs and RBs upright in 2014. Coleman earned All-American honors for the second year in a row and comes into this preseason as a first team All-American pick by, Sporting News and Lindy’s. In 2013 Coleman led Hobart with 7.5 sacks and 16.5 tackles for loss (TFL). The other DE job is open and will be a competition between the five returning players, plus a talented FY class. Who wins this job will be a key outcome of this preseason’s camp.

DL – SR DT Troy Johnson and JR DT Tucker Gumkowski returns to bolster the middle of the Hobart defense. Both players contributed a combined 75 tackles, 7.5 TFL and 2.5 sacks in 2013. Like at DE, the Statesmen have a number of young, up and coming players who will get time rotating in to spell Johnson and Gumkowski.

ILB – Hobart will need to replace the production of Cory Davis who finished 2013 second on the team with 74 stops including two TFL and half a sack. Fortunately leading tackler JR LB Trayvon Toney returns and could be poised for another big year. Toney racked up 77 tackles, including 4.5 TFL, in 2013. SR LB Jacob Price (48 tackles, 1 TFL) and SO LB Zach Thornton (25 tackles, 2.5 TFL) also return and should play big roles in 2014. JR LB Jacob Stanley (10 tackles, 1.5 TFL and one sack) converted to ILB in the spring and adds depth to an already talented squad.

OLB – Not having Devin Worthington back is a big loss, but once again the depth Hobart boasts in this area should impress Statesmen fans. SR OLB Nolan Toran was a force in 2013 tallying 20 tackles, one TFL and two interceptions. SR OLB and Co-Captain Matt McGriff and SO OLB Marcus Jemison (33 tackles and one TFL) will compete for more time in 2014. SO Mike Harper is also in the mix, having converted from FS to OLB this spring.

DB/FS – The secondary lost a good deal of experience with the graduations of Jolyon Davis and Connor Garrett. SR DB Fajri Jackson returns off a 1st team All-LL season that included 44 tackles and will take a leadership role in the defensive backfield this season. SO DB Matt Cragg also earned valuable experience and could see an expanded role in 2014. Otherwise, Statesmen fans can expect to see both new upperclassmen and incoming players competing for time at FS and CB. The development of this unit will play a key role in the 2014 season, especially against teams like Endicott, Curry and LL foes such as Union and UofR who should have strong passing games as they've had in prior years.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

2014 Hobart Football Preview - Special Teams

After establishing themselves as a regular Liberty League (LL) and NCAA playoff contenders in the prior decade, the Hobart College Statesmen have developed into a Top 20 caliber DIII football program. The Statesmen enter their 121st season coming off a 10-1 overall campaign which included another undefeated regular season and the program’s third consecutive LL championship. During this run, the Class of 2015 has an incredible regular season record of 26-1. The only loss came back at the end of the 2011 season to a Mike Hermann led RPI team, 28-27.

Although many fans think 2014 will be more of the same for Hobart, graduations of All-Americans such as Steven Webb and Devin Worthington as well as experienced leaders like Jolyon Davis and Michael Green leave big shoes to fill. Fortunately the program has developed a great deal of depth and there is still plenty of talent on both sides of the ball for the Statesmen.

Below is a positional overview of the team, starting with the special teams unit. Normally I'd preview the offense first, but given the "top down" look of the blog, I think it'll read better going ST, Defense, then the "O".

The Statesmen’s special teams unit was bolstered by the addition of SO PK Sean Kirshe in 2013. Kirshe averaged 57.2 yards on kickoffs and was second on the team with 53 points scored (44 on PATs and going three of five with a long of 35 yards on FGs). These long kicks helped the coverage team finish first place finish in the LL in 2013. Going into 2014, FY PK Will McCool will compete for time with Kirshe.

Given Yosh Karbowniczak's graduation the Statesmen will need to find a new punter. Kirshe (who punted four times in 2013 with a 26.75 average) and SR WR Elvin Souffrant (who averaged 33.31 YPP during the 2011 season) are potential successors.

Hobart will look to maintain (and/or improve) their success in the return game. The Statesmen finished second in the LL in kickoff returns with a strong (22.4 YPR) and first with a 9.7 YPR on punts. Last season a wide variety (10) players returned kickoffs. I imagine several players will be given opportunities to do the same in 2014. Last season SR WR and Co-Captain Troy Robinson fielded the majority (30) of the punts, racking up 266 yards with a long of 35 yards.

More news later this week on the preseason preview and news from camp.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Hobart Coaches Complete ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

This video clip is too good not to share.

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Thanks for reading and go 'Bart!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Statesmen Check into Camp

Hobart College Football players checked into camp this weekend. The Statesmen come into the season with another high national ranking but also with question marks in key positions. There should be many interesting "battles" to sort out who some of the new starters will be going into the Dickinson game (which is only 19 days away!).

I'm excited to have booked a trip back for the first time since 2012 to see the season opener against Dickinson. A large crowd of alumni, including the family of the late Hobart HOFer Don "A to Z" Aleksiewicz '73, are expected to be in attendance as well.

Below are a few pictures from twitter posted by @HobartFootball:

Players filling out NCAA forms

Stretching before practice Monday

More news from camp later this week or weekend with updates on scrimmages expected.
Thanks for reading and go 'Bart!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Introducing the Hobart Football Class of 2018

NamePosClHometown, StateSchool
Adams, TimothyDTFRBrockton, MABerkshire School 
Apicella, ChristianFSFRAlbany, NYLaSalle Institute 
Ball, BrandonDEFRCollins Center, NYSpringville Griffith Institute
Conde, AlmamyILBFRJersey City, NJSaint Peters Prep
Cyr, ChrisTEFRScarborough, MEScarborough
D'Antonio, TommyFSFRGreenwich, CTSalisbury School 
Dawoodani, AhilOLFRGlenmont, NYAlbany Academy 
Falsone, RyanCBFROrchard Park, NYOrchard Park 
Fineberg, DrewWRFRLakewood Ranch, FLOut-of-Door Academy 
Fischer, RandyILBFRAnnapolis, MDBroadneck 
Frater, MatthewDEFRNew York, NYHotchkiss
Gudell, JustinOLBFRRochester, NYBrighton 
Helm, AlexOLFRFallston, MDFallston 
Hoffer, WillOLBFRRound Hill, VAWoodgrove
Koca, AngjeloDEFRWoodhaven, NYChoate Rosemary Hall 
Letizia, JoeRBFRBlauvelt, NYTrinity Pawling
Maciejewski, JohnFBFRHackettstown, NJWest Morris 
McCool, WillKFRGlenside, PASpringside Chestnut Hill Academy
Murphy, LiamOLFRWhitesboro, NYWhitesboro 
Najarian, JackOLBFRNeedham, MAWilliston Northampton
Quay, DylanTEFRLatham, NYShaker 
Reagan, J.P. CBFRMassena, NYMassena
Rogers, StephenCBFRStanhope, NJHopatcong
Sanchez, JaredILBFRHopewell Junction, NYJohn Jay 
Savage, DillonILBFRUpper Jay, NYAuSable Valley
Scales, DarylCBFRParlin, NJSt. Mark's School 
Shed, BrandonWRFRWest Palm Beach, FLBenjamin School 
Sheppard, PatrickDEFRIslip, NYIslip
Sutliff, MattOLFRAndover, MAAndover
Tierney, RoddyOLBFRWappingers Falls, NYRoy C. Ketcham
VanHoesen, StephenDTFRNiskayuna, NYNiskayuna
Wallerstein, AdamQBFRWanaque, NJLakeland Regional 
Withers, ZacharyTEFRWebster, NYWebster Schroeder

Another strong recruiting class will be arriving into Geneva this weekend for the opening of the 2014 preseason camp. At first blush it's fairly noticable that this class brought in a lot of players for a few key areas of need (LB and DB) and reflects HWS's ties to New England and NYS prep and parochial schools.

18 of the 33 student athletes are from NYS (including one from Greenwich, CT which is more of an extension of NYC than New England - at least that's my Hartford native perspective / bias ;).

Nine student athletes come to Geneva via NJ, PA, MD and VA. Four come from New England (three from MA and one from ME). Two student athletes come from my home state of FL. One of them was profiled on this blog back on March 28.

A handful of schools, including Scarborough HS (ME), Out of Door Academy (FL), Saint Peters (NJ), Trinity Pawling (NY) and LaSalle (NY) have sent Hobart student athletes for the second year in a row.

It will be interesting to see over the next four years how these young men add to the success of the Statesmen program.

More news from camp and an update on Season 7 of "ITH" coming up next week!

Thanks for reading and go Bart!