Thursday, April 24, 2014

Making A Difference

There have been plenty of headlines shouting at you on the Internet and in the national media of late regarding problems at Dartmouth. No need to pile on here.

That said, a story in our local daily yesterday reported that 20 or so people attended a forum about the college's sexual assault policy and one of those who showed up was head football coach Buddy Teevens. (LINK - may require subscription) From the newspaper report, in which :
". . . (Teevens) said he often has conversations with his players about issues such as sexual assault and binge drinking. He said he owes it to them as their coach to discuss issues beyond the football field.
“It may be embarrassing at times to some of the guys,” Teevens said, “but it’s the life of 18- to 22-year-old guys, and they need to understand that there is a right way and a wrong way to go about things, and I want our reputation to be pristine.”
A Philadelphia Inquirer column about Al Bagnoli retiring as head football coach at Penn at the conclusion of the 2014 season and being replaced by longtime defensive coordinator Ray Priore includes this nugget:
Penn's top brass and also incoming AD Grace Calhoun signed off on this transition plan, all parties said. This makes sense. Calhoun arrives July 1 from Loyola University of Chicago. That's her only stop in charge of an athletic department, and Loyola doesn't have a football team. It's in her interests to have this figured out in advance. If Priore is as successful as Bagnoli has been, that will be great for her. (If not, she didn't hire him.
Priore, who just turned 50, has been on the Penn staff for 28 years.

Jonathan Tannenwald, who broke the story, posted a Bagnoli quote that summarizes his rationale for stepping down when he will and his thoughts about the future in the always informative Soft Pretzel Logic column:
"At a certain point in time, you just kind of feel when it’s right to move on and do something else," he said. "Hopefully that will occur under a different administration, and I'll get a chance to hang on with Dr. Calhoun."
Dartmouth spring practice hits the two-thirds point this afternoon when the Big Green holds its eighth session on Memorial Field. Check BGA Premium tonight both for a look at the incoming freshmen penciled in to start their careers on the defensive side of the ball next fall as well as coverage of the practice session.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Bagnoli Makes It Official

Longtime Penn coach who led team to nine Ivy League titles – so far –  to step down after 2014 season. Find the official Penn football website story here.

Another Name

Yet another incoming freshman with intriguing credentials has expressed an interest in walking on to the Dartmouth football program next fall.

Joshua Davis is a 5-foot-11, 165-pound corner from Garfield HS in Los Angeles who hopes to become a psychiatrist. An honorable-mention Eastern League pick, he had 26 tackles, three pass breakups, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery last year. Find his highlight video here.

Although he is a walk-on and has been tentatively penciled in not as a corner but as a receiver, Davis already has overcome a great deal in his young life according to a compelling blurb from the Los Angeles Times.
Working on freshman bios that were posted last night on BGA Premium I came across several video interviews with incoming players who are clearly at ease in front of a camera. Check out interviews with tight end Ben Hagaman, offensive lineman Tanner Aiono (scroll down to Week 4), and wide receiver Emory Thompson.

Sitting with Coach Buddy Teevens after practice last evening I learned that 6-foot, 190-pound Porter Ontko of Naperville, Ill., and Benet Academy will get his first look at running back, not safety as previously reported.
Former defensive back Eric Hageman '90 will likely be at the NFL Draft in New York City for a very good reason. His adopted son Ra'Shede has been invited to the event (LINK) by the NFL as a probable first-round draft pick out of the University of Minnesota. Ra'Shede Hageman is a 6-foot-6, 310-pound defensive lineman. BGA linked to his dramatic life story last month. LINK
According to reports out of Philadelphia yesterday longtime Penn football coach Al Bagnoli will announce today that he is stepping down after the 2014 season. LINK

Bagnoli has won nine Ivy League championships in his 23 years with the Quakers. His overall record is 142-66 and he's 110-44 in Ivy League play. His .714 winning percentage in Ivy League games is the best by any coach since the start of former conference play. (It is not the best by a coach at one school, however. Counting his tenure at Cornell, Bob Blackman's winning percentage against Ivy teams is 67.0. But it was 76.7 percent at Dartmouth from 1956-70).

Another report out of Philly says defensive coordinator Ray Priore will succeed Bagnoli after 28 years on the staff.

Green Alert Take: Does anyone else find it interesting that a succession plan may have been put in place ahead of the arrival of new Athletic Director Grace Calhoun?

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Nice Surprise II

It's not always a fait accompli that Ivy League walk-ons will end up playing football. Some do. Some don't. And some turn out to be solid players, like former All-Ivy League wide receiver Tanner Scott. Dartmouth coach Buddy Teevens likes to list incoming freshmen who have expressed an interest in walking on – just in case.

Among those joining Kyran McKinney-Crudden (see yesterdays BGA note) on the Dartmouth walk-on list is Evan Key, a 6-2½, 205 linebacker from Pingry School in New Jersey. Key, whose father Nigel was a teammate and classmate of Teevens, was named to the "Super 100" list by the New Jersey Football Coaches Association. He had 96 tackles and 5.5 sacks last fall.  Find a story here.
Former Dartmouth quarterback Alex Jenny '10 completed the Boston Marathon yesterday in 3:17:50, a 7:32 mile pace. Jenny's run was in support of Horizons For Homeless Children – BGA LINK – and it was as successful in that way as he was on the course. He raised 146 percent of his $10,000 goal for the worthy cause. LINK
ESPN's Outside the Lines tonight at 8 takes a look at the Pat Tillman tragedy 10 years after the former Arizona Cardinal's death in Afghanistan. Three-time All-Ivy League linebacker Zack Walz '98, Tillman's roommate, was interviewed by Bob Ley for the special. Trading emails with the former Dartmouth standout last week he said he doesn't know what will or won't make it onscreen from his interview.
I've written this before but as a former dean of the college memorably told me when I worked at the local daily and was writing a story that cited Department of Education’s equity in athletics data, the reporting of those numbers by schools isn't apples and oranges. He told me it's, "apples and hubcaps." Keep that in mind when you read a story in The Dartmouth headlined, It's all about the green.
• 
Shonda Rhimes '91, described in The Dartmouth as "creator, head writer and executive producer of the television shows “Scandal,” “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Private Practice,” will be the college's graduation speaker in June. LINK
And finally, a little video I shot last week while Buddy Teevens was competing with his quarterbacks in a target-throwing contest. Spoiler alert: Although this is just a few seconds and doesn't show the ending, I believe BT actually fared pretty well ;-)

Monday, April 21, 2014

Nice Surprise

Kyran McKinney-Crudden was not a name that turned up while doing Internet searches for Dartmouth football recruits but an emailer who knows the game and follows recruiting closely believes the Big Green has gotten a good one in the 6-foot-1, 200-pound Glastonbury, Conn., standout who will walk on in Hanover next fall.

The (New London) Day had a story about McKinney-Crudden last fall that termed him, Glastonbury's Mr. Everything. From the story LINK:
McKinney-Crudden is an H-back, linebacker and defensive back this season.
He's also played (deep breath) running back, tight end, receiver (at either the outside or the slot), quarterback and long snapper and, new for this season, punter. 
The incoming freshman has good football genes. His father, Anthony McKinney, was a tight end at the University of Connecticut who got looks from the Minnesota Vikings, Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions and also spent time with NFL Europe's Rhein Fire. His grandfather, Brian Crudden, is the highly regarded football coach at Windham HS in Connecticut. An uncle wrestled at Brown after starring as a high school quarterback.

Check out McKinney-Curren's HUDL page and senior film here.
The season-ending loss at Dartmouth apparently continues to eat at Princeton judging by a story on the Princeton Football blog. Said quarterback Quinn Epperly after being named a Tiger co-captain:
"I am honored you voted me as captain. But with that, I’m not accepting anything less than an undefeated season next year.  I want a gold ring. We are going to be the first (Princeton) team undefeated since 1964.”
Fellow co-captain and linebacker Mike Zeuli had this to say:
“No way we lose a game. It’s unacceptable if we lose a game next year.” 
A recap of the Yale spring game from the New Haven Register makes it sound as if a transfer from Clemson who took a long look at Dartmouth coming out of high school, will be at the controls in New Haven next fall.

From the story:
Morgan Roberts certainly made a strong case as to why he should be Yale’s next starting quarterback. He found his receivers down the sideline, over the middle and displayed his elite speed as well.
And . . .
 After transferring in from Clemson last season, Roberts, a sophomore, struggled with the transition and did not play well for the Bulldogs. He’s clearly settled in and came into his own since then, proving that during the spring.
Once again this spring Dartmouth is not tackling in practice and will not tackle in the spring game a week from Saturday. The "get 'em to the fall," and then, "get 'em to Saturday," approach worked last year but spring practice videos from Harvard and Week One opponent Central Connecticut suggest those schools are taking a different approach.
It is always fun seeing an old friend making good on the national stage. During the ESPN Sunday Night Baseball broadcast this commercial came on for an "Intel powered table," and lo and behold, the star of the commercial (and narrator) was wildlife photographer Paul Souders.

When I was the sports editor of a newspaper in Pennsylvania Paul did a bunch of freelance photography for me and we've remained friends ever since. Mrs. BGA and I visited him when we were in Alaska and he came through here several years ago when he was building his catalogue of domestic photos on a cross country trip from his Seattle home. Paul was the 2013 National Geographic grand prize and nature winner for a marvelous photo of a polar bear just under the water. LINK Paul is a ridiculously talented photographer who will go to any length to make great pictures all over the globe. Check out his website.

Another old friend who has gone on to bigger things is screenwriter Kevin Hench, who I hired at the local daily here in the Upper Valley when I was assistant sports editor and the sports editor was on sabbatical. Kevin co-wrote and produced the movie The Hammer, did a podcast with retired NBA player John Salley called Spider and the Henchman, appears on NPR's Only A Game and, scoring above his pay scale, married actress and screenwriter Heather Juergensen of Kissing Jessica Stein fame. One of the enduring memories I have from my days at the newspaper was waiting for the first run to come off the press at 1 a.m. or so and Kevin having all of us rolling on the floor laughing at his stories – most seeming to involve him and one girl or another.
The Big Green returns to the field Tuesday afternoon for the seventh of 12 spring practice sessions. Check BGA Premium tomorrow night for full coverage.


Sunday, April 20, 2014

Eggcellent


Saturday, April 19, 2014

Recruits By Position

With the final member now official, Dartmouth's recruiting class is complete. Here's yesterday's post updated by position:

OFFENSIVE LINE (5)
* Tanner Aiono
6-4 ½, 290
Francis Parker HS
Bonita, Calif.

Jack Anderson
6-3, 243
Palo Alto HS
Palo Alto, Calif.

Patrick Flathers
6-5, 275
Bishop Guertin HS (NH)
Dracut, Mass.

* Anders Peterson
6-5, 260
Tuscarora HS
Leesburg, Va.

Andrew Yohe
6-3, 280
Kiski Area HS
Apollo, Pa.

TIGHT END (4)
Ben Hagaman
6-4, 230
Franklin HS
Nashville, Tenn.

Stephen Johnston
6-4, 220
Georgetown Prep
Potomac, Md.

Cameron Poole
6-5, 230
Buford HS
Buford, Ga.

Cameron Skaff
6-3, 240
Battlefield HS
Haymarket, Va.

WIDE RECEIVER (2)
Charles Mack
5-11, 175
Potomac Sr. HS
Woodbridge, Va.

Emory Thompson
5-10, 160
Lawrence Dunbar HS
Lexington, Kent.

RUNNING BACK (3/4)
Ryder Stone
5-10, 205
Phillips Andover
Calgary, Alberta

Forrest Town
5-11, 183
Zachary HS
Zachary, La.

Nick White
5-11, 180
Henry Jackson HS
Linwood, Wash.

Marcus Berg (walking on)
Running Back
5-8 ½, 180
Blake School
Minneapolis, Minn.

QUARTERBACK (2)
Jarion Brown
6-1, 172
Franklin HS
Baldwin, La.

Jack Heneghan
6-4, 220
Menlo School
Atherton, Calif.

DEFENSIVE LINE/DEFENSIVE END (6)
Brennan Cascarano
6-1, 250
Glenbrook South HS
Glenview, Ill.

Rocco Di Leo
6-3, 245
St. Ignatius HS
Elmhurst, Ill.

Justin Edwards
6-1, 225
Peachtree Ridge HS
Lawrenceville, Ga.

Charles Pontarelli
6-2, 250
Loyola Academy
Glenview, Ill.

Davaron Stockman
6-1, 305
East St. John's HS
LaPlace, La.

Nick Tomkins
6-4, 235
Matawan Regional
Matawan, N.J.

LINEBACKER (3/5)
Brock Bacon
6-3, 225
Trinity Christian Academy
Dallas, Texas

Ian Hanselman
6-1 ½, 220
Manheim Central HS
Manheim, Pa.

Eric Meile
6-1 ½, 212
Don Bosco
Ramsey, N.J.

Evan Key (walking on)
6-2 ½, 205
Pingry School
Short Hills, N.J.

Jimmy Knight (walking on)
Linebacker
6-1 ½, 195
Brunswick School
Greenwich, Conn.

CORNER (2)
Jarius Brown
5-9, 175
University HS
Lauderhill, Fla.

Justin Porter
5-10, 190
Kent School
Pembroke Pines, Fla.

SAFETY (3/1)
Colin Boit
6-1, 208
Eastside Catholic HS
Samammish, Wash.

Porter Ontko
6-0, 190
Benet Academy
Naperville, Ill.

Ross Wood
6-1, 175
Greater Atlanta Christian
Roswell, Ga.

Kyran McKinney-Crudden (walking on)
Safety/Defensive Back
6-1, 200
Glastonbury HS
Glastonbury, Conn.

KICKER/PUNTER (2)
Wyatt Schmidt
6-3, 200
St. Thomas Academy
South St. Paul, Minn.

David Smith
5-11, 170
St. Paul's School (NH)
Westmount, Quebec

* will take two-year mission before starting school
Columbia has posted its incoming recruiting class along with a video featuring some very candid quotes from coach Pete Mangurian, who clearly likes his class. Time will tell but he makes a very convincing pitch. LINK 

Friday, April 18, 2014

The List

DARTMOUTH'S OFFICIAL RECRUITING CLASS
(One more player could be added.)

Jack Anderson
Offensive Lineman
6-3, 243
Palo Alto HS
Palo Alto, Calif.

Brock Bacon
Linebacker
6-3, 225
Trinity Christian Academy
Dallas, Texas

Colin Boit
Safety
6-1, 208
Eastside Catholic HS
Samammish, Wash.

Jarion Brown
Quarterback
6-1, 172
Franklin HS
Baldwin, La.

Jarius Brown
Defensive Back
5-9, 175
University HS
Lauderhill, Fla.

Brennan Cascarano
Defensive Lineman
6-1, 250
Glenbrook South HS
Glenview, Ill.

Rocco Di Leo
Defensive Lineman
6-3, 245
St. Ignatius HS
Elmhurst, Ill.

Justin Edwards
Defensive End/Outside Linebacker
6-1, 225
Peachtree Ridge HS
Lawrenceville, Ga.

Patrick Flathers
Offensive Lineman
6-5, 275
Bishop Guertin HS (NH)
Dracut, Mass.

Ben Hagaman
Tight End
Franklin HS
Nashville, Tenn.

Ian Hanselman
Linebacker
6-1 ½, 220
Manheim Central HS
Manheim, Pa.

Jack Heneghan
Quarterback
6-4, 220
Menlo School
Atherton, Calif.

Stephen Johnston
Tight End
6-4, 220
Georgetown Prep
Potomac, Md.

Charles Mack
Wide Receiver
5-11, 175
Potomac Sr. HS
Woodbridge, Va.

Eric Meile
Linebacker
6-1 ½, 212
Don Bosco
Ramsey, N.J.

Porter Ontko
Safety
6-0, 190
Benet Academy
Naperville, Ill.

* Anders Peterson
Offensive Lineman
6-5, 260
Tuscarora HS
Leesburg, Va.

Charles Pontarelli
Defensive Lineman
6-2, 250
Loyola Academy
Glenview, Ill.

Cameron Poole
Tight End
6-5, 230
Buford HS
Buford, Ga.

Justin Porter
Corner
5-10, 190
Kent School
Pembroke Pines, Fla.

Wyatt Schmidt
Kicker/Punter
6-3, 200
St. Thomas Academy
South St. Paul, Minn.

Cameron Skaff
Tight End
6-3, 240
Battlefield HS
Haymarket, Va.

David Smith
Kicker/Punter
St. Paul's School (NH)
Westmount, Quebec

Davaron Stockman
Defensive Line
6-1, 305
East St. John's HS
LaPlace, La.

Ryder Stone
Running Back
5-10, 205
Phillips Andover
Calgary, Alberta

Emory Thompson
Wide Receiver
5-10, 160
Lawrence Dunbar HS
Lexington, Kent.

Nick Tomkins
Defensive End
6-4, 235
Matawan Regional
Matawan, N.J.

Forrest Town
Running Back
5-11, 183
Zachary HS
Zachary, La.

Nick White
Running Back
5-11, 180
Henry Jackson HS
Linwood, Wash.

Ross Wood
Safety
6-1, 175
Greater Atlanta Christian
Roswell, Ga.

Andrew Yohe
Offensive Lineman
6-3, 280
Kiski Area HS
Apollo, Pa.


* Deferring for two years for Mission

Heights and weights are self-reported. Positions are subject to change. Not included on the official list, but previously reported by media outlets as choosing Dartmouth, is one more offensive lineman who may also be taking a Mission:

Tanner Aiono
Offensive Lineman
6-4 ½, 290
Francis Parker HS
Bonita, Calif.

Walk-Ons As Reported in Wednesday's BGA:

Marcus Berg
Running Back
5-8 ½, 180
Blake School
Minneapolis, Minn.

Evan Key
Linebacker
6-2 ½, 205
Pingry School
Short Hills, N.J.

Jimmy Knight
Linebacker
6-1 ½, 195
Brunswick School
Greenwich, Conn.

Kyran McKinney-Crudden
Safety/Defensive Back
6-1, 200
Glastonbury HS
Glastonbury, Conn.

Yale has posted its official recruiting class here

The New Haven Register has an overview of the Yale class here.
With next fall's freshman class set (with that one possible exception) the next Ivy classes will start shaping up. Reported yesterday as receiving an offer from Dartmouth is 6-3 ½  250-pound defensive end TJ Smith of North Stanly High School in North Carolina. The Stanly News And Press has a bylined story with a picture.

The local daily has a story today about the return to action this spring of Dartmouth freshman receiver Jon Marc Carrier, who was lost for the season after a frightening helmets-to-helmet injury at Harvard last fall. Carrier was immobilized and rushed to the hospital after the injury but returned to Dartmouth in a car that same evening.
The Dartmouth has a three-question Q&A with Deputy Athletics Director Bob Ceplikas about the Northwestern athletes' push to unionize. LINK The key line:
I have not seen any interpretation that would lead non-scholarship athletes to be affected by this. The very basis of the ruling was that it’s the scholarship that makes the student an employee. 
Legendary columnist Red Smith once said, "Writing is easy. You just open a vein and bleed." LINK

Trust me, he was only slightly guilty of hyperbole.

That Certain '14 no doubt has experienced the same kind of feeling working on papers for her Earth Science major. But I'd venture to say she understands even a little better now. I thought of Smith's quote after getting a couple of panicky emails from her yesterday as the deadline approached for her second column in The Dartmouth's sports section. Fortunately, she reported in the second email, she had an understanding editor helping stop the bleeding. LINK

(When she told me she was asked to write a column this spring, she asked whether she should write once a week or every two weeks. I'm thinking she's pretty glad right now she took my advice to choose the latter. I mean, it's senior spring, right?

True Ivy League Heroes
At Yale the football, field hockey and ice hockey teams joined in an effort that added almost 700 potential donors to the Be The Match bone marrow effort in memory of ice hockey player Mandi Schwartz, who died in 2011. According to a Yale release, the Bulldogs' previous drives have led to a whopping 23 matches and marrow donations to save lives. LINK

A nod to the Brown football team for taking part in the Be The Match initiative for the fifth consecutive year. Senior defensive back Matt Shannon's career probably didn't go the way he hoped but he will graduate a hero after donating marrow to save a man's life, the result of a previous Brown drive. LINK

With Be the Match having its roots at neighboring Villanova, where coach Andy Talley started his Get in the Game, Save a Life campaign, it's no surprise that Penn football is active in the initiative and took part once again this spring. LINK Two Penn players in 2011 donated marrow to save lives. Find their story here.
Went to see the Kevin Costner movie Draft Day with Mrs. BGA last night and enjoyed it. You have to suspend disbelief a little (a lot?) and there's a scene with Costner, Jennifer Garner and Ellen Burstyn that is so corny it will make you grimace, but all in all it's entertaining. It will be fun the next time I see him to see what old friend Kevin Demoff '99 – Executive Vice President of Football Operations & Chief Operating Officer of the St. Louis Rams – thought of the film.
And finally, Dartmouth has been in the news so much lately – for the wrong reason – that I've made a soft decision to steer BGA back almost entirely to the sports side. The last thing you need when you visit a sports site first thing in the morning is to be hammered on the side of the head day after day. That said, President Phil Hanlon has issued a statement in response to the news of the last few months that deserves to be read. Find a link here.