Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Coming To A Stadium Near You

Week One opponent Central Connecticut opened the season with an eye-catching, 31-27, upset of a Towson team ranked by some in the Top-10 with a huge dose of help from 5-foot-8, 170-pound tailback/receiver/returner Rob Hollomon (BIO).

The preseason All-American ran for 161 yards and two touchdowns, had 48 yards receiving on nine catches, returned three kickoffs for 68 yards and added a punt return for seven yards for good measure to run his all-purpose yardage total to 280.

For his efforts, Hollomon was chosen the national offensive player of the week by The Sports Network (LINK).

The game marked the first time in 23 years that Towson lost a season-opener at home.

Hollomon, who began his college career at Kent State, will be on the field Sept. 20 when the Big Green opens against the Blue Devils.

Connecticut Now has a story with a few new insights about the Central Connecticut State-Towson game HERE.
From the Silly Season of Summer we've moved on to the Silly Season of Early Ratings. Every Ivy League team went up in this week's Sagarin Ratings (LINK), even though none of them played. Here's the movement by the Ivies and other teams of interest since last week:

Ivy League
Princeton 119, up from 137
Harvard 128, up from 149
Dartmouth 158, up from 174
Penn 171, up from 184
Yale 183, up from 194
Brown 184, up from 195
Cornell 206, up from 219
Columbia 232, up from 241

Nonconference Opponents
New Hampshire 89, down from 84
Holy Cross 214, down from 213
Central Connecticut 221, up from 225
Teams of interest in The Sports Network's weekly poll (LINK):

 5. Coastal Carolina (coached by former Dartmouth assistant Joe Moglia)
 6. UNH
 11. Fordham (Patriot League)
 22. Towson (lost last week to Central Connecticut State)
 30. Central Connecticut State
 32. Princeton
 36. Harvard
Dartmouth basketball is recruiting an intriguing Hinsdale Central quarterback who threw for 167 yards and two touchdowns in an upset win over a top-ranked team. From a Chicago Tribune story about Matt Rafferty (LINK):
At 6-8 215 pounds, Rafferty fits the mold of a classic dropback passer who can look over the defensive line and take a hit. His poise and footwork in the pocket also are positives.
"He has all the tools," Hinsdale Central coach Dan Hartman said. "He's a big, tall and strong kid. He has a very strong arm and has a quick release and is able to make decisions quickly.
"He's going to have a tough decision to make about his future, but I think he's set on basketball."
A 6-2, 273-pound Exeter (NH) High School offensive lineman and piano player is on Dartmouth's radar screen according to Seacoastonline (LINK).
Juwan Morrow, a 6-2,220 linebacker at Delaware Military Academy has drawn Dartmouth's interest according to a story The News Journal (LINK) The story was spun out of a letter written by his 13-year-old brother. Check it out.
And finally, Dartmouth practiced yesterday afternoon on the gorgeous Blackman Fields. There were full stories from both the morning and afternoon practices on BGA Premium, and there will be another following this afternoon's practice. If you haven't signed up yet, you are falling behind and remember, there will be tests starting Sept. 20 ;-)

Click photo to enlarge.

Monday, September 01, 2014

September Morn

Welcome to September! Just (?) 19 days until kickoff.

Screen shot from the decisive play in the Holy Cross loss to Albany.
A little more news about Dartmouth opponents. The fumble and 79-yard Albany return that costs Holy Cross a win can be viewed in the ESPN3 video POSTED HERE. Making things worse for the Crusaders, they lost leading rusher Gabe Guild on the play.

Check out the Worcester Telegram story about the game HERE. There's more detail about the dramatic play in the Albany Times-Union story HERE.

The play was reminiscent of the famed Miracle at the Meadowlands (LINK)
The Yale game might be a little more difficult than it seemed just a few weeks ago. According to THIS STORY from the New Haven Register, tailback Tyler Varga is looking good.  Varga sat out the Dartmouth game two years ago and was ailing during last year's game at Memorial Field, but the 5-foot-11, 224-pound senior from north of the border is a load.

From the Register story:
Varga wore a walking boot during spring practice and spent most of the offseason in Canada. He saw several foot specialists, too. He says he feels good now.
“To be honest, I have full confidence in it,” Varga said. “I’ve been working with a lot of conditioning coaches. I’ve never had trouble bouncing back from an injury. I’ve had ones more serious than this.”
Varga carried 20 times for 66 yards and a 3.2-yard average in  Dartmouth's 20-13 win in Hanover last fall. Find his Yale bio HERE.
In the aftermath of Central Connecticut State's win at Towson I went back and checked the Tigers' website. Turns out in addition to losing tailback Terrance West – drafted in the third round by the Cleveland Browns – they were breaking in a new quarterback after the graduation of fifth-year senior Peter Athens. Towson dropped the FCS national championship game to North Dakota State last year, 35-7.
Dartmouth holds its first double session today. By NCAA rule, doubles can't be held on consecutive days so the next one is tentatively slated for Wednesday.

There will be stories posted after each session today on BGA Premium. Check in at mid-afternoon to read about the morning session and come back tonight to read about the nightcap.

Dartmouth wore full pads for the first time yesterday and BGA Premium content began with a look at Teevens' decision several years ago to eliminate tackling in practice.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

What Did We Learn?

How Dartmouth's opponents fared in Week One and what we learned:

Central Connecticut State 31, Towson 27
(Recap and links)
Quarterback Nick SanGiacomo and tailback Rob Holloman both played at another level before coming to Central Connecticut State and that's fitting because they played at another level yesterday in helping the Blue Devils to stunning win in their opener.

SanGiacomo, who came to Central Connecticut State a year ago from Tulane, completed 22-of-28 throws for 273 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions as the Blue Devils won a back-and-forth affair on an 11-play, 80-yard drive that culminated with Holloman running in from the 1 with 36 seconds left. Holloman, who began his career at Kent State, finished with 161 yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries in addition to pulling in nine receptions for 48 yards. Also collecting a touchdown for CCSU was his brother Brandon, a transfer from Kansas, who caught a 5-yard pass for a score in the third quarter to give the Blue Devils their first lead, 13-7.

Towson beat No. 2 Eastern Illinois and No. 3 Eastern Washington last year before falling to No. 1 North Dakota State in the FCS national championship game. While they took a graduation hit they were still picked fifth in the powerful Colonial Athletic Association in the league's preseason poll.

Albany 14, Holy Cross 13
(Recap and links)
A year ago Holy Cross lost heartbreaker after heartbreaker, but that was nothing compared to what happened in this year's opener. With 44 seconds remaining, Albany safety Neil Morrison picked up a fumble and ran it back 79 yards for the score that with the extra point broke Holy Cross hearts once again.

The Crusaders got 323 yards and one touchdown passing from sophomore Peter Pujals, 75 yards rushing from Gabe Guild, 149 yards receiving from Jake Wieczorek and a solid defensive effort that limited Albany to 263 total yards. And they lost.

Toledo 54, New Hampshire 20
(Recap and links)
UNH had a 14-3 link over the Rockets midway through the second quarter and trailed by two points entering the third before the FBS team wore the Wildcats out. A touchdown with 4:33 left in the third pulled the visitors to within 30-20 but Toledo piled on 24 points in the final 16 minutes, capped by a field goal with 4:05 remaining.

While UNH had trouble running the ball (37 yards), quarterback Sean Goldrich was an efficient 27-for-39 for 291 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions.
What did we learn in Week One?

Central Connecticut State is what we thought they were, but probably better. This is a team with some serious weapons on offense and questions on defense.

Holy Cross is still a work in progress, but giving up one touchdown defensively is a strong showing against anyone.

As for UNH, the Chip Kelly offense that allowed the Wildcats to post all those wins over FBS teams has largely been figured out and while the feeling remains that their defense has improved, they will be in a lot of high scoring games this year. This always sounds a little silly, but the key to beating the 'Cats might just be outscoring them.
The local daily has a look at 6-foot-5 sophomore receiver Joseph Cook as well as a few notes out of practice HERE.
Check BGA Premium for coverage of yesterday's practice and be sure to come back this evening for a look at today's practice.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Worth Noting

A friend of BGA sent along a note that a Boston Globe story regarding the academic struggles of the UMass football team includes an Academic Progress Rate chart supporters of the Dartmouth program will appreciate. Here's the explanation that goes with the chart:
The University fo Massachusetts Amherst football team has struggled in average academic progress rate, threating its playoff eligibility for 2015-16. How the UMass football team's rate compares with other schools in the Mid-America Conference and around New England.
The chart has Dartmouth No. 1, Yale at 2, Brown at 3, Harvard at 6 and New Hampshire at 7.

Find the chart and the story HERE.
Depth charts in game notes can be notoriously fictitious, but there's still something to be gleaned from them about heights, weights and seniority. Here are the depth charts for Dartmouth's three nonconference opponents, who all open play today.


Click chart to enlarge and then click again.


UNH at TOLEDO, 7 p.m.

Full game notes for each opponent can be found at these links:

Central Connecticut StateHoly CrossUNH
Check BGA Premium this evening for another full report on today's practice. Yesterday's story took at look at the Big Green linebacking corps.

Also, some of you have sent along a check or PayPal and still haven't finished the sign-up process. The guess here is I'll be hearing from you before the games begin, but don't wait. There's good stuff in the daily practice reports. Promise ;-)
No decision last night for Dartmouth alum Kyle Hendricks but another good start in his rookie season with the Chicago Cubs. After giving up two runs in the first inning Hendricks (5-1) threw five shutout frames as the Cubbies took a 7-2 win over the Cardinals. He was 4-0 with a 1.69 ERA in August.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Looking Good

Kyle Bramble runs a drill.

One of the biggest questions coming into the season for followers of the Dartmouth football team was whether promising junior tailback Kyle Bramble would be ready to go after having ACL surgery at season's end for an injury suffered against Princeton.

Bramble, who averaged 73.3 yards per game over the final three contests of 2013 despite playing behind the now-graduated Dominick Pierre, is back taking first-team reps in camp. After practice yesterday he said, "I've never felt better."

Bramble showed a knack for the big play last year, posting long runs of 37, 70 and 41 in those final three games. Check BGA Premium for a full story about his return, and for coverage of yesterday's practice.

The Big Green will be back at it this morning and BGA Premium will have a full update later in the day.
To listen to a game-week interview with Pete Rossomando, head coach of Dartmouth Week One opponent Central Connecticut, click HERE. CCSU opens tomorrow night against Towson.
The Cornell Daily Sun has a story about quarterback James Few, the successor to Ivy League single-season and career passing leader Jeff Mathews. (LINK) Few may not have the arm of Mathews, recently cut by the Atlanta Falcons, but he's got the edge on his predecessor in another department. From the story:
“I’m definitely more mobile than [Jeff] is,” Few said with a small chuckle. “I’d say that to his face — it’s not a secret. I can move a little bit better. I’m smaller; he’s about 6’5’’, 6’6’’. I’m about 6’2’’. I kind of need to create those throwing lanes with my feet and that’s something that I feel is a strong point for me on mobility in and around the pocket.”
Boston College is the most popular football team in Massachusetts, right? Not if you believe an InfoGraphic put together by Ticket City, which says Harvard is the more popular team. (LINK)

Of course, if you look at attendance it's no contest. Let's see, BC drew 33,006 per game. Harvard drew 12,068.

The same graphic says Dartmouth is the most popular team in New Hampshire.
SB Nation's Boston College page, meanwhile, dissects the Whiplash offense in advance of BC's game against the University of Massachusetts. (LINK) Named for former Brown quarterback and head coach Mark Whipple, now the head coach at UMass, the Whiplash was the forerunner of the offense that has helped Brown evolve into an upper echelon Ivy League team.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Ready, Set, Action!

Dartmouth football opened preseason practice Wednesday and here Defensive Coordinator Don Dobes works with a group on stripping the ball:

The official Dartmouth Sports Publicity site has a short blurb on practice with the schedule HERE, and the local daily has a report HERE.

Full coverage with photos and videos (including the one at the top of this page) was on BGA Premium last night.

Those of you who signed up for "alerts" should have received one last night. Keep in mind, the list was compiled using handwritten notes you sent along (unfortunately, those "a's" can look a lot like "e's" etc.), via emails with addresses (best), and in some cases by going back to the address you used to sign up in the first place. I mention that by way of saying the list is a work in progress.

If you signed up for the alert option and didn't receive one, email me the information. Thanks.

I'll be back at practice this morning and will post coverage later today.
Dartmouth's new alternate uniforms were unveiled during the Football 101 extravaganza. Now it's Penn's turn:

Green Alert Take: It's either a generational thing or the Penn Stater in me, or probably both, but I don't quite get it ;-) I can understand liking a new uniform, but to react as if you just won the Super Bowl on a last-second field goal?

By the way, in the video there's a mention of Penn's fourth different uniforms making it the, "Oregon of the Ivy League."
A friend of BGA shared a link I missed to new technology that a USA Today story (LINK) explains . . .
. . . takes an existing playbook – in this case, the plays given to the camp's quarterbacks – and layers it onto a wide range of defensive alignments, forcing users to digest and dissect formations and schemes in the seconds or split-seconds before the snap.
More from the story:
in a time when the NCAA and college conferences are strengthening limits on physical contact in practice, Axon's training boards preserve the body while sharpening the brain.
Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota uses the technology and had this to say:
"It's a great tool for college athletes. It provides an opportunity to kind of get live reps without going through practice. It's all visual stuff, and the game's like 80% mental anyway. So if you can get more mental reps, it will help prepare you for the season." 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Another Look At The Ivies

With Dartmouth football practice finally starting  on Memorial Field this morning (check BGA Premium for coverage later today) The Sports Network has posted its Ivy League preseason outlook. (LINK)

Here's how TSN sees the race:

1. Princeton
2. Harvard
3. Dartmouth
4. Yale
5. Penn
6. Brown
7. Cornell
8. Columbia

The only difference from the ranking that came out of media day is switching Yale and Penn. The media had the Quakers fourth and the Bulldogs fifth.

TSN has offensive lineman Scotty Whitmore, defensive linemen Evan Chrustic and Cody Fulleton, and corner Vernon Harris on its preseason All-Ivy League team.

The "kicker" from the Dartmouth capsule is hard to argue with:
Penn has frustrated the Big Green while their program has turned around, so a win over the Quakers to open the Ivy schedule is imperative. 
Green Alert Take: There are a lot of media outlets that don't have much of a clue about the Ivy League but TSN isn't one of them. Executive editor Craig Haley covered Princeton and the Ivies as a newspaper beat writer when I was covering Dartmouth for our local daily.
It doesn't happen often but occasionally an accepted recruit changes his mind and lands elsewhere. Such was the case with Jerry Uwaezuoke, a defensive tackle who would be a junior on Memorial Field today but instead is in the starting lineup at Tulsa. Ditto for kicker Wyatt Schmidt, who was expected to be starting his first Dartmouth camp but instead is at USC.

The 6-foot-2, 295-pound Uwaezuoke was originally part of a Dartmouth recruiting class, switched to Tulsa, and then seemed headed to Hanover after all before ending up at Tulsa. He started the last two games for the Hurricanes a year ago as a redshirt freshman and is listed as a starter for their opener against Tulane. Find his Tulsa bio HERE.

Schmidt, the brother of former Dartmouth standout Foley Schmidt, gave up his spot in the Big Green recruiting class to give big-time football a chance. He's listed third on the USC depth chart. Find his USC bio HERE.
Just in time, opponent previews wrapped up on BGA Premium last night with a look at New Hampshire. Researching the Wildcats, I was reminded about this history of FBS upsets that UNH pulled off:

2004 UNH 35, Rutgers 24
2006 UNH 34, Northwestern 17
2007 UNH 48, Marshall 35
2008 UNH 28, Army 10
2009 UNH 23, Ball State 16

UNH opens the season looking for another FBS skin Saturday night when it plays at Toledo.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Log In And Watch The Action

If there was one question I was asked most frequently last night by freshman football parents, it was about whether games could be watched on the computer. The answer is yes.

Dartmouth's Big Green Insider is part of the Ivy League Digital Network (FAQs)

Packages include streaming access to all games (not just football), events and content. Here are the available packages with currently listed prices (LINK):

$119.95 Annual league-wide
$49.95 Four-month, league-wide
$15.95 Monthly league-wide

$89.95 Dartmouth annual
$34.95 Dartmouth four-month pass
$10.95 Dartmouth monthly
$9.95 Dartmouth day

Dartmouth home football games are carried in HD with replays, graphics and commentary carried over from the radio broadcast. (One caveat is that TV games are not carried live on the computer.)
The Sports Network picks Week One Dartmouth opponent Central Connecticut State to finish last in the Northeast Conference. (LINK) The story from TSN does, however, suggest that CCSU opponents could be in for a few surprises because . . .
"(Coach Pete) Rossomano is clearly building for the future, and has brought in a freshman class that could have not just one or two but a handful of impact performers this season . . .
Dartmouth 2014 opponents New Hampshire and Holy Cross have announced a four-game series to run from 2016-2019. (LINK)
Here's what is described as a "60-second promotional spot for Dartmouth athletics."

The 2014 BGA Premium preview package finishes later today with a look at the UNH Wildcats. Daily coverage of practice begins tomorrow so if you haven't signed up yet, don't wait. If you do, you may never catch up. As I told a few folks last night, in a typical year of BGA Premium the word count when the season is over is roughly equivalent to one of the early Harry Potter books ;-)