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Suny Brockport 2004 Football Season Preview

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  • Suny Brockport 2004 Football Season Preview

    As a Brockport grad student, I thought I'd pass this along to all of you :redface:

    Featuring comments from Coach Rocco Salomone

    A “new tradition” awaits the 2004 SUNY Brockport football team, if you will. A tradition will be built beginning this season when the Golden Eagles begin play in the Atlantic Central Football Conference. Yet, the “old tradition” is something to be quite proud of. Brockport is one of only five teams in the country that enters this fall looking to make the NCAA Division III playoffs for the fifth straight season. The Golden Eagles are tied for 11th with 36 victories since the start of the 2000 season, and 12th in winning percentage (.818) in the new century among Division III schools.
    The schedule not only features the new ACFC rivals, but also teams that have many NCAA post-season trips of their own. Brockport hosts Rowan, a team that has become a rival due to recent memorable playoff meetings. The College of New Jersey and Ithaca also have post-season histories, and local rival St. John Fisher provides a tough Homecoming test at Special Olympics Stadium.
    Led by a veteran cast that features nine returning starters on offense and seven on the defensive side, Brockport is poised for another run towards the tournament this fall.

    For the last 10 to 15 years, the defense has been a strength for the program. The consistently strong play of the defensive unit has made impressions in the trenchs and on the national leader board as well. Brockport, which has consistently been ranked in national Division III rankings in scoring defense and total defense in recent years, was in the top 17 in both categories last year.
    “I think the bar has been set pretty high for us,” said Salomone. “As long as we can keep our guys playing with enthusiasm and with pursuit of the ball, I think we can continue to have a strong defensive unit.”

    Many players who started as well as others who saw significant time provide the Golden Eagles with a unit that can continue the success of defenses in the past. Ryan Bierley, who was a 2002 All-American, returns after a year off and returns up front. Last season did not feature a senior defensive lineman, so the newcomers and fresh faces of a year ago have a year under their belt. Matt Gates posted 36 tackles and 11 tackles for losses, including eight stops against The College of New Jersey in the big regular season finale must-win contest. Drew Smith had 17 tackles and returns as a front line starter. Watch for Anthony W. Mariani, Nathan Raggi and Adam Collister to also provide their experience and talent to the front line this fall.
    “The addition of Ryan Bierley is so important for us. He had 79 tackles and 13 for losses in his All-American season. We are pleased to have him back. The young guys, mostly sophomores, who played last season gained a lot of experience that should pay off for us this year.”

    Although there were some key losses at Commencement, there are still plenty of vets returning for a group that Bob Ellis can mold once again. Ellis has had an excellent impact on the program coaching and guiding the linebackers, and he has developed two more in the mold of his great stars of the past. John Walther and Joe Toombs come off super seasons and are players who will be looked at again to help lead the team into the post-season. Walther is the leading returning tackler from ’03 with 86, including eight sacks. He was immense down the stretch, with 14 tackles against New Jersey and 15 in the Ithaca playoff contest. Toombs had 60 tackles last season and also posted eight sacks with five forced fumbles. Terry Gilmore had 38 stops and should start this fall, joining Walther on the inside, while Chris Sowers looks to team up with Toombs on the outside.
    “Our think our linebacker play should be strong again, even though we lost some key people. John and Joe are impact players who have developed very well under Bob’s guidance.”

    The pre-season camp will be very interesting to keep an eye on when it comes to the secondary. There are many openings for players who are vying for time and starts as they report to camp. Senior Troy Anderson will be looked at to lead this new-look group on and off the field. Anderson had 42 tackles and five break-ups last year, and has speed to burn. He exhibited that with many blistering performances for the indoor and outdoor track teams last winter and spring. Mark Ferry should take over the starting nod at free safety and made 27 tackles a year ago in mostly a reserve role. Jimmy Robertson saw action on special teams and figures into the mix in the secondary. The two-deep depth chart should be very competitive to crack for the 2004 secondary.
    “This area is a bit of a question mark. Troy is the only returning starter but Mark has had a lot of experience playing in the nickel package for us, and that experience will help him move into a starting role. He played behind an all-region performer last year. Our corner slots are up for grabs, we’ll just have to wait and see who emerges.”

    There is reason for optimism with so many starters back in action this year. There are returnees on the line and in the backfield, which includes the top two rushers and one of the best quarterbacks in the program’s storied history. Only the receiver corps will need to be fine tuned with new faces in the starting roles entering the fall.
    “Our line, our quarterback position, the backfield and tight ends are veterans, all coming back as starters. We feel pretty good about that. We are just going to have to find out who will play receiver for us. But I think overall, we are looking for be a bit more aggressive and keep the balance between the run and the pass.”

    It is a large group with experience and depth. This will surely help late in the season in the trenches. Jeremy Gabbey is a tough loss after his career that featured NCAA bids in each of his four seasons. Jason Ryan and Matt Casel are back at the tackle slots, while Ryan Kelly returns at guard and Matt Silco is back at the center slot. This group is very familiar with QB Bob Darnley and is very capable of helping to make his senior season one for the ages.
    “I think, size wise, we will be a big group up front. Having the size and depth makes it very nice in the fact that it is an area that is the hardest to recruit. It is also a unit that works very well together on the field, and these guys are familiar with each other. I feel very good about the group of guys we have coming back.”

    No need for name tags or introductions here. With Jon Brown and Brian Wise both back as junior tailbacks, and Adam Jones and Jake Haught returning at fullback, there is no shortage of talent for Darnley to dish to. Plus, Darnley is a threat to take off as well, as he was second on the squad with 449 yards and four TDs on the ground last season. Brown led the club with 453 yards and two scores, and his debut featured a 100-yard performance in the opener against Cortland. He also had 94 in a wild win under the lights at St. John Fisher. It would also be wise for opposing defensive coaches to check out the film on Brian. He had 88 yards against Fisher and scored three touchdowns in that contest. Jones and Haught are big bruising fullbacks who both emerged last fall and are ready for more this year.
    “We have a number of quality tailbacks and our veteran fullbacks returning, so we feel very good about the play of these guys in the past and what they are capable of bringing us this year.”

    SUNY Brockport not only has a quarterback poised to rewrite the record book, but the Golden Eagles also have two other signal-callers who could likely start at many other programs. Everything starts with Bob Darnley. He had a 60% completion mark a year ago and tossed for 21 touchdowns with 1,888 yards. He lies just 995 yards away from the career passing yardage record at Brockport, and last year’s yardage total was the second best in Brockport history. Darnley had seven games with completion marks of 64% or better. Redshirt Chet Holcumb returns, and stepped in for the injured Darnley during the memorable run to the 2002 NCAA Quarterfinals. A.J. Covella is another sophomore who can step in and not miss a beat as well.
    “Our quality at quarterback is very, very strong. Chet and A.J. could definitely start at many programs right now. The quality depth at this position is unusual, and I feel very, very good about the depth we have at quarterback.”

    This will be the only inexperienced area on the offensive side. The key veteran here is Mike Calderon, who was the #3 receiver last fall. He had nine catches for 134 yards on the year, and moves into a starting slot. Wise and Jones combined for 157 receiving yards and Wise had three TD’s from Darnley in 2003. Mike Bond is the starter at tight end and joins John Panek in giving the program two very good quality tight ends for now and the future. Bond had 327 yards and three TDs, including 115 yards on six catches in the playoff home game against Ithaca.
    “Other then Mike Calderon, we have an inexperienced receiver group. But I do believe that the players who will be competing for time at receiver have the ability and potential. They are going to have to get experience very quickly for us. Mike Bond had a combination of size, speed and blocking ability that make him very well suited for a starting tight end role. With John joining him, we have two very good tight ends. It also is good news that both of our tight ends are underclassmen as well.”

    Marc Menchetti is slated to handle both the kicking and punting duties for the 2004 season. He was named to the ECAC Division III Northwest All-Star Team and also made the Football Gazette All-Region squad. Menchetti has two years of experience under his belt. Last year, he averaged just under 40 yards per punt. He placed 12 boots inside the opponents’ 20 yard line. Adam Lanctot and Colin Hoffman also can see time with both chores in their sophomore seasons.
    “Marc was a little banged up last year and hopefully he’ll be healthy and ready to go. He is definitely a quality kicker and along with the depth we have with Adam and Colin, we are solid here. We expect Adam and Colin to develop further after the transition of going from high school (kicking off the grass) to college (kicking off the tee). You usually see a step up in a sophomore season after the adjustment. I think one of the strengths of our punting unit is that we have done a good job of trying to put punts inside the 20 and working with that field position.”

    Losing All-American Jeremy Lynch midway through the season was a tough blow. But it did allow Mike Calderon to emerge in the role. Calderon had 149 yards on nine punt returns. Brian Wise took over the kick return chores and averaged nearly 33 yards per return off kickoffs in 2003. Wise had 262 yards in kick returns in his first season in the role, including 153 yards in returns against Fisher in his first start in that situation. He had a 97-yard kickoff return in the fourth quarter against the Cardinals.
    “I think Mike really stepped it up taking over the duties. We expect him to start out there for us, as well as players like Brian and a few of the other guys who have the ability to return kicks and punts for us. We definitely want to be able to continue to use that as a weapon for us, but we’ll have to see how that turns out.”

    “We are excited about this. It will be the first time that we are in a conference in the history of this program. It will be new to us, but we will still approach each week as we always have, one game at a time. We try not to look at the entire schedule, but more so at the opponent at hand. I think you will see some strong teams in there with the addition of Salisbury to our schedule. We have played Frostburg and Wesley over the years. Apprentice is a new program for us. Buffalo State is a long time rival for us. I’m looking forward to it. I’m looking forward to competing for a conference championship, a new opportunity for us. Our players have an opportunity for recognition that you don’t see as an independent, like weekly and all-conference honors.”

    “I think you will see a very strong schedule for us, with the addition of Rowan this year. The one thing that is nice this year is that we have six home games and four away, so we will have a little more time here on campus. I believe that we have one of the strongest schedules, at least in the East, in and out of conference.”

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  • DJRamFan
    SRU's Mihalik optimistic about prospects for 2004 season
    by DJRamFan
    As an alumnus, thought I'd pass it along. Sounds like another rough year. Hopefully we can get back to the prominence we had a few years ago.
    Rock roster will be filled with youth and enthusiasm

    Dr. George Mihalik begins his 17th season as The Rock's head coach

    July 13, 2004

    Slippery Rock, Pa. - Veteran head coach Dr. George Mihalik, a former championship quarterback at The Rock, displays the same tenacity he exhibited as a player when he charges straight into the line with his expectations for the 2004 Rock football season.

    "We are going to be young," the 17th-year Rock head coach says. "Sixty of the 86 players on this year's roster have never played a college football game because they are either true freshmen or redshirted freshmen.

    "We're not going to use our youthfulness as an excuse, but we also have to be realistic. You can't teach experience, it's something you have to gain.

    "It remains to be seen if we will be ready to play early in the season at the level we will need to in order to be successful. It's a given that we're not going to be as a good of a football team in Week 1 as we will be in Week 11."

    The encouraging part for Mihalik and his staff is the level of talent included in this year's squad.

    "We are very high on our 2003 recruiting class," Mihalik says of a group that includes 10 players who competed in the Pennsylvania East-West all-star game a year ago.

    "You're going to see a lot of those players in key roles this year for Rock Football. They can play the game. And we might find a skilled player or two in our 2004 recruiting class who gets significant playing time this fall.

    "But you can not live on one or two classes. We feel like we have a good mixture of senior leadership, juniors and sophomores who have playing experience that can lead the way for the freshmen, redshirted or true."

    Challenging schedule

    Adding to The Rock's challenge this fall is a schedule that affords little warmup time, but that's become routine procedure for the Green and White.

    The Rock opens its 2004 schedule at home on August 27 with a Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference "crossover game" against three-time defending Eastern Division champion Bloomsburg before facing NCAA Division I-AA power Youngstown State and perennial West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference contender Shepherd in back-to-back road games.

    The final tuneup for the grueling PSAC-West season will be a home game against Fairmont State on Sept. 18.

    "Obviously, you want to win every game, and enjoying success early in terms of wins and losses would help with our development," Mihalik says. "But I think...
    -08-10-2004, 10:36 AM
  • Goldenfleece
    Over/Underrated Teams in the Preseason
    by Goldenfleece
    This time of year everybody can find reasons why their team is going to be a contender in the upcoming season, but I had some time on my hands, so I thought I'd take another look at a few of the teams with high expectations and see what they have really done to improve their teams in the offseason. Feel free to disagree; these are just one fan's opinions. I left the Rams off the underrated list because I've obviously got a bias there. So without further ado, here's my take on the most overrated/underrated teams in mid-August:

    Most Overrated:

    NY Giants

    Why they're hyped: The Giants have a Manning at the helm, and he's got weapons: Burress, Toomer, Shockey, and Barber. On defense, the team has some great pass rushers including Osi Umenyiora, Michael Strahan, and linebacker Lavar Arrington, along with first rounder Mathias Kiwanuka. Will Demps should be an upgrade at FS.

    Why they won't live up to it: First, the defense. They lost 2 defensive tackles in free agency. Clancy and Allen were not exactly worldbeaters at their position, but the Giants don't have proven talent to replace them. William Joseph started 10 games at the right DT spot and had 2 sacks; he's the pass-rushing DT. Looking at their roster, I can't figure out who is supposed to be starting next to him. Fred Robbins maybe? Robbins couldn't even hold down the backup job last season. At corner, they added Sam Madison but lost Will Allen who is not only younger but has also put up better numbers in recent years. It looks as though Will Peterson will be replaced on the other side by last year's nickelback, Corey Webster. Webster has shown some promise, but it's still his first year as a starter. Arrington has a reputation as a free lancer who gets out of position trying to make the big play; it has also been said he can't handle coverage responsibilities. The Giants should still be at least a little better at WLB and FS but worse at both DT spots and both corners.

    On offense, Eli looked worse towards the end of the season, throwing 4 TDs and 7 ints in 5 games in December. He looked shaky in the playoffs, too, throwing for a paltry 113 yards, 3 ints, and no TDs while taking 4 sacks and coughing up a fumble in a loss to the Panthers. Tiki on the other hand had a remarkable season, but age is a factor here. Take the example of Curtis Martin who led the league in rushing yards with 1,697 yards in 2004. Then he hit the wall. His rushing average the next season fell from 4.6 yards/carry to 3.3, and his rushing total was nearly a thousand yards less at 735. Maybe it'll happen this year, maybe it won't...but one of these days age is going to catch up with Barber, and when it does, it'll happen fast. It's probably not a good sign that he has talked about retiring after this season. Barber has said, "We'll see how my body holds up. Last year was a grind for me. Even though I played great, I battled to be healthy. We'll see...
    -08-16-2006, 07:05 AM
  • DJRamFan
    Cardinal Opens Pac-10 Play vs. Oregon
    by DJRamFan
    Stanford returns to action after a bye last week

    Sept. 25, 2005

    Complete Release in PDF Format
    Download Free Acrobat Reader


    Date: October 1, 2005

    Kickoff: 2:00 pm

    Site: Stanford, CA

    Television: No live television

    Radio: KNEW, 910 am (Tim Roye, Bob Murphy)

    Campus Radio: KZSU, 90.1 fm

    Internet: (live audio, live stats)

    The Series: Stanford leads series 43-24-1

    Last Meeting: Oregon 16, Stanford 13, at Stanford, 11/23/04

    Series Notes: Oregon has won last three meetings


    Cardinal Opens Pac-10 Play at Home Against Oregon

    Stanford (1-1) opens the Pacific-10 Conference season on Saturday, October 1 with a home date against Oregon (3-1, 0-1) ... The Cardinal is coming off a bye week after opening the season with a road win at Navy and a home loss to UC Davis ... Stanford will play eight consecutive conference games and the season finale vs. Notre Dame ... The Ducks got off to a 3-0 start and were ranked No. 25 in the nation before losing last Saturday to top-ranked USC, 45-13 ... The Ducks led early 13-0 before the Trojans scored 45 unanswered points ... ...Oregon won its three non-conference games against Houston, Montana and Fresno State while averaging over 40 points scored in those games ... The Ducks have won the last three meetings with Stanford, including a 16-13 win at Stanford Stadium last season.

    Stanford to Honor Hall of Fame Class of 2005

    Stanford's Hall of Fame Class of 2005 will be honored at halftime on Saturday's game against Oregon ... The group of seven individuals and an Olympic Crew will be formally inducted in the Hall of Fame on Friday, September 30 ... The Class includes men's basketball coach Mike Montgomery, currently the head coach of the Golden State Warriors, women's tennis All-American and NCAA champion Sandra Birch, All-American and U.S. Olympic water polo player Doug Burke, football All-American Ed Cummings, baseball All-American Eric Hardgrave, All-American, Olympian and NCAA swimmer Janel Jorgensen, Chuck Evans, one of the school's all-time great football players, and a group of Olympic rowers that includes Conn Findlay, Kurt Seiffert, Kent Mitchell and Ed Ferry.

    Remaining Schedule Includes Five Ranked Teams

    Stanford's remaining schedule includes five teams currently ranked among the nation's top-25 who have combined for a 16-2 record to date ... The Cardinal's final nine opponents have an aggregate record of 25-8 and a winning percentage of .758 ... Among Stanford's future opponents are No. 1 ranked USC (3-0), No. 11 Cal (4-0), No. 14 Notre Dame (3-1), No. 15 Arizona State (3-1) and No. 20 UCLA...
    -09-25-2005, 05:11 PM
  • DJRamFan
    ARIZONA STATE Team Report
    by DJRamFan
    By The Sports Xchange


    The Sun Devils find themselves in the top 25 polls and with thoughts of even a higher finish.

    Even a national championship? The fans, of course, think that is a possibility with most of the team's offensive weapons returning from a 9-3 season and the heart of the defense.

    "I'm awesome with that (national title talk)," quarterback Sam Keller told The Arizona Republic. "I have those expectations, too."

    The Sun Devils can't get too ahead of themselves, but it might be easy to overlook season opening opponent Temple for a much more high profile game against LSU on Sept. 10.

    A couple of recent poor practices has ASU Dirk Koetter already trying to put everything in perspective.

    "If we don't get our heads out of our (butts) we're going to be 0-1," Koetter said. "We're very sluggish, our execution is not good enough, our concentration is not good enough. We don't know what we're doing half the time."

    Could just be coach talk, as well. The Sun Devils have finished the fall workouts with a solid quarterback with Sam Keller, and even a few possibilities at tailback, the No. 1 concern heading into the regular season.

    Getting Rudy Burgess and true freshman Keegan Herring going has given the Sun Devils even more optimism.


    SCOUTING THE OFFENSE: ASU finished with a NCAA low six rushing touchdowns last year. Obviously, correcting that is the top priority despite the Sun Devils being minus their career record holding quarterback Andrew Walter. Sam Keller has emerged as a legitimate signal caller. Who's going to run the ball? Rudy Burgess was a receiver this time a year. He is now the full time tailback. After rushing for 186 yards against Stanford he has shown a glimpse of what he can do. He must now do it for 11 games.

    SCOUTING THE DEFENSE: Pass rushing defensive linemen Jordan Hill and Kyle Caldwell, along with linebacker Dale Robinson give the Sun Devils a presence behind the line of scrimmage. The ASU defense started out great last year, but tailed off some. The second year in the 4-3 alignment should make up for any lapses. Robinson is especially a key after making 93 tackles, and a team-high 13 tackles for loss. Watch out quarterbacks.

    QUOTE TO NOTE: "I can't exactly pin point exactly what it is, but it's exciting. I think we're going to do a lot of great things this year." -- ASU quarterback Sam Keller.


    THIS WEEK'S GAME: Temple at Arizona State, Sept. 1 -- The Sun Devils are looking for another good start after winning their first five games of the 2004 season.

    PLAYERS TO WATCH: QB Sam Keller -- The sophomore only has one start in his two-year career, but it showed what he could...
    -08-31-2005, 06:32 PM
  • RamDez
    Rams Team Review /
    by RamDez
    The Rams were an oddsmaker's nightmare and a hard to team to figure in 2004. On one hand, they finished 88, a record that included bad losses to Miami, Arizona and New Orleans, a record that is mediocre by definition. On the other hand, a late-season surge took them within two steps of the Super Bowl.

    In the end, a blowout playoff loss to Michael Vick and the Falcons in Atlanta ended a late-season run and clarified the team's offseason mission -- improve special teams and defense. The Rams focused their attention on both those areas over the past few months and should benefit from a soft schedule to contend for a playoff in spot 2005.

    "I'm excited about what we've done," coach Mike Martz says. "I think we've upgraded in certain areas, created a lot of competition and that's a healthy thing for your football team."


    After missing two-plus games with a bruised throwing shoulder, Marc Bulger was a key factor in the team's late-season surge, compiling a

    106.3 passer rating in the final four games. Bulger has improved in two important areas -- he cut down on interceptions and polished his deep accuracy. Bulger threw eight fewer interceptions in '04 than the year before, while his yards per attempt increased by a full yard to 8.2. His toughness and quiet leadership skills were evident as well.

    However, he needs to improve his performance in the Red Zone, where he threw 10 of his 14 picks. The backup quarterback situation will be determined in training camp, with Jamie Martin and second-year man Jeff Smoker competing for the role.

    Running Backs

    There will be a changing of the guard in the backfield. At age 32, Marshall Faulk can't get outside as he once did, nor make people miss as often. He's still a solid contributor, but his averages of 4.0 yards per carry and 6.2 yards per reception last season represented significant dropoffs. In 2001, for instance, he averaged 5.3 yards per carry and 9.2 yards per reception. Faulk has not had 1,000 yards rushing in a season since 2001. Thus, Steven Jackson will get the opportunity to anchor the running attack. Jackson had spectacular flashes in 2004, showing an exciting blend of size, speed, and power.

    His durability remains a question mark. His right knee did not seem to agree with the awful artificial surface at the Edward Jones Dome, and he seemed to back off at times, especially in the playoffs.


    Clearly, the Rams might be the best in the NFL in this department.

    Torry Holt caught 94 balls for and average of 14.6 yards per catch. He has caught 211 passes over the past two seasons. After a fast start, Isaac Bruce wore down some at the end of last season, in part because of a succession of nagging injuries. Bruce turns 33 in November, but he remains a clutch receiver and competitive as ever. Perhaps the most pleasant development
    -07-18-2005, 03:29 PM