Thursday, April 19, 2018

One Thumbs Up, One Thumbs Down

To the relief of many around the Ivy League, the last McManus brother has made it through the Dartmouth football pipeline. Here are corner Danny McManus' highlights:

And now a 45-second video that doesn't work – on soooo many levels. It's hard to tell which is less believable, the description or the phony reviews for this 1998 Dartmouth at Princeton football program available through Amazon ;-)

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

With The NFL Draft Looming . . .

Here's a look at Dartmouth players drafted since the start of formal Ivy League play in 1956:

1963 LB Don McKinnon, New York Giants, 11th round
1963  LB Don McKinnon, Boston Patriots (AFL), 10th round
1963 QB Bill King, New York Jets (AFL) 8th round
1968 DB Gordie Rule, Green Bay Packers, 11th round
1971 DB Willie Bogan, Baltimore Colts, 8th round
1976 WR Tom Fleming, Cleveland Browns, 17th round
1976 LB Reggie Williams, Cincinnati Bengals, 3rd round
1978 DE Gregg Robinson, New York Jets, 6th round
1998 LB Zack Walz, Arizona Cardinals, 6th round
2004 TE Casey Cramer, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 7th round

Ironically, perhaps the three best NFL careers by Dartmouth players (apart from that of Reggie Williams) in the Ivy League era, were free agent pickups.

Quarterback Jeff Kemp '81 played 11 years in the NFL. Fellow QB Jay Fiedler '94 also had an 11-year run and placekicker Nick Lowery stuck around for 18 years.
Speaking of the NFL, 6-foot-6, 299-pound Jerry Tillery, the Notre Dame defensive tackle who took a last-minute recruiting trip to Dartmouth before enrolling early at South Bend, considered entering the draft this spring before deciding to return for his senior season with the fighting Irish. (LINK) Given his predilection for travel, he would have fit in nicely at Dartmouth. From the story:
He’s already logged study abroad programs in South Africa and Ireland. He did spring break in Germany. There are the Hawaii trips. He went to Canada during Easter weekend. Next month he’ll do a two-week business program in Japan.
Les Lawrence, who worked with the Dartmouth football program between stints as a head coach at a number of Upper Valley high schools, is stepping down as coach at nearby Mascoma Valley Regional High School as he approaches retirement after 40 years as a teacher. The local daily has a story HERE.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

On The National Front

STATS has a story under the headline 10 FCS players whose NFL Draft stock is rising that includes an Ivy Leaguer. While Ivy linemen and tight ends often end up on lists like this, it's extremely rare for a wide receiver (unless he's ticketed to play tight end like Princeton's Seth DeValve). From the story:
Justin Watson, Penn, WR, 6-2½, 215 - In a deep year of wide receiver prospects, here is one who refuses to be ignored. Like Nichols, Watson earned a Senior Bowl invite following his week at the Shrine Game, and he later rocked Penn's pro day, showing speed and power. He's a physical receiver with good ball skills and appears ideal for the slot. He's moved into the third day of the draft.
More from Craig Haley, who has been Tweeting about the top FCS returnees in various categories. While he notes that 15 of the top 16 points-per-game scorers from a year ago return, three of the top six come from the Ivy League:

1. Dom Bragalone, Lehigh RB: 12.0
2. Zane Dudek, Yale RB: 9.6
3. Tre Honshtein, Sam Houston St PK: 9.4
4. Charles Volker, Princeton RB: 9.3
5. Davion Davis, Sam Houston St WR: 9.0
6. Jesper Horsted, Princeton WR: 8.6

Here's the kicker Craig didn't mention. The only player among the top 16 scorers not returning? He is an Ivy Leaguer as well. It's the aforementioned Justin Watson, who averaged 8.6 points per game.

Interestingly, the NCAA statistics list the top 50 scorers from last fall and no fewer than seven of them come from the Ivy League. Also on the list are Princeton sophomore kicker Tavish Rice (6.8), Princeton junior receiver Stephen Carlson (6.6) and Penn junior kicker Jack Soslow (6.6).

In case you are wondering, Dartmouth's top scorer last year was senior kicker David Smith (6.0) and the top returning scorer is wildcat quarterback/receiver Jared Gerbino (4.2).
A neighbor had the misfortune yesterday of getting his rental van stuck in 5-6 inches of slushy snow as he tried to make it up the last hill before our house. A little shaken and a lot unhappy after a $100 tow, when he pulled over by in front of our house after being pulled up the hill I invited him to leave the truck in our driveway rather than challenge the downhill to his house, maybe a quarter mile away.

After a full day of heavy wind and pinging ice/snow, we got a break this morning. No wind. That's the good news. Unfortunately, here on the mountain it's alternating between the pinging ice and snow almost by the minute.

Oh, and last night we got an email from That Certain Dartmouth '14. It had us shaking our heads. It read:
Stay warm at home and I hope you'll get some weather like this soon :)
Yeah, that came from someone now living in Glacier Bay . . . ALASKA!
Spring practice No. 4 is on tap for Dartmouth today. Stay tuned.
Watch this and pay attention to the reaction by the team at the end. Being part of a team really can bring us all together.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Timing Is Everything

Thankfully there's no "spring" football practice today because miserable doesn't do the weather here justice. It's 29 degrees as this is being written but the web tells us it feels like 23 because of the howling wind. Since early morning it has sounded as if a train is passing by Moose Mountain as constant wind and gusts the TV folks say may hit 65 mph roar through. For good measure we could get an inch or two of icy snow this afternoon – on top of the inch or two of icy snow we got yesterday. Our house inspection is slated for today and I've got my fingers crossed a tree doesn't fall on our roof while the inspector is poking around ;-(
Today's Valley News has a story about the passing of Stephen Waterhouse ’65, who happened to dress up as the Dartmouth mascot as football games as an undergraduate. Find the story HERE.
The Dartmouth has a story on traditions embraced by several Big Green sports teams. Those described for the football team are, "D for Defense," "Who's Got the Juice," and "As the Backs Go Tearing By."
Instead of players having their names on the back of their jerseys for their spring game, Temple players wore their Twitter handles across their shoulders. Other schools include those handles on their game notes. There's a story about that HERE.

Green Alert Take: Hoo boy, is that taking a chance. This isn't to point the finger at any college-age individual, but spend a little time poking around Twitter and it won't take long to realize not all the Tweets that will have you shaking your head come out of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest.
It's back to practice Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, with the weather supposed to finally be clearing by the weekend.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Thoughts From The AD

Tris Wykes of the Valley News talked with Dartmouth AD Harry Sheehy about a wide variety of subjects for a piece in Sunday's paper. Find it HERE.

Not much specific to football in the story but it does include this:
VN: Is it likely the Ivy League will allow its football teams to play an additional 11th game per season?
HS: I don’t think there’s an appetite for that with the league presidents. Given the state that football’s in with injuries and concussions, to add another game’s worth of hitting seems counterintuitive. My personal feeling is that 10 games is a lot of football.
Green Alert Take: Sheehy came to Dartmouth from Williams, which played eight games a year when he was there. It would be interesting to hear his thoughts if he came from, say, New Hampshire, which last year played 14 games.
Dartmouth softball tied an NCAA record by hitting four consecutive home runs on Saturday. Check out the NCAA story and video from Dartmouth HERE.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Fair Or Unfair Catch?

Barring a last-minute change, spring practice No. 3 is set for this morning at Memorial Field and BGA Premium will be there . . . bundled up. The forecast calls for 38 degrees with the mercury falling. Up here on the mountain we could be in for up to seven inches of snow starting this evening. Joy, joy.
As you probably know, the Ivy League has used an experimental kickoff rule the past two season with kicks coming from the 40 and touchbacks resulting in the ball being placed at the 20. The goal, of course, has been to limit returns and thereby cut down on concussions, which are disproportionately related to kickoff plays. (LINK)

Now the NCAA is taking it a step further.

Yesterday the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel passed a rules change that will allow returners to signal a fair catch between the goal line and the 25 and have the ball placed not at the spot of the catch but at the 25.

FootballScoop provides this reasoning for the change (LINK):
The move essentially extends the end zone out 25 yards on kickoffs, a significant and obvious attempt to limit the number of runbacks.
Plenty of coaches have attempted to steal precious field position yardage by instructing their kickers to land their kickoffs just shy of the goal line and then covering said kick. This rule change now gives receiving teams the option to take that strategy off the table. Whereas previously a kickoff fair caught at the 5-yard line became dead at the 5, now that ball would move to the 25.
Among the other rules changes passed was a banning on blocking below the waist more than five yards from the line of scrimmage.

Read about those changes and several more on the NCAA site HERE.
You know that saying, It's different at Dartmouth? Here's the kind of headline you won't see at Harvard or Yale:
Dartmouth College's Resident Bear Returns With 4 Cubs After Governor Spared Her Life
Find the brief story HERE.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Staff Moves

The addition of David Shula as wide receivers coach overshadowed several other changes on the Dartmouth coaching staff that were reported earlier this week on BGA Premium

Danny O'Dea is moving from nickels to running backs coach. Now in his third year with the Big Green, O'Dea came to Dartmouth after three years as head coach at The Lawrenceville School in New Jersey, where he orchestrated what a story in referred to as a "maniacal passing game (that) turned the Mid-Atlantic Prep League on its ear for three seasons."

Stepping in for O'Dea as nickels coach is former Dartmouth safety Kyle Cavanaugh '09, who spent the past season as the program's offensive quality control assistant. Find a story I freelanced about Cavanaugh in 2009 HERE.

Joining the program for the coming season are two new quality control assistants, one a familiar name to Ivy League football fans and one familiar to a Dartmouth assistant.

Seitu Smith, an all-purpose receiver and gifted return specialist at Harvard, is the new offensive quality control assistant. After graduating Harvard with a degree in sociology Smith earned a masters of education at Durham University in England. He then served as an assistant football coach at Florida's J.P. Taravella High School, where he taught math.

Former Becker College assistant Vaughn Johnson is the new defensive quality control assistant. Johnson also coached at DIII Hiram and Knox as well as at his alma mater, Husson University in Maine. Johnson came with a recommendation from Dartmouth defensive line coach Duane Brooks, who coached at Husson prior to arriving in Hanover.

Thursday, April 12, 2018


Dartmouth has had 11 members of the 2018 football team named to the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame Hampshire Honor Society for maintaining a 3.2 or better GPA over the course of their college careers.

Named from Dartmouth were:
• Quarterback Jack Heneghan
• Running back Ryder Stone
• Offensive lineman Ben Hagaman
• Tight end Cam Poole
• Tight end Cameron Skaff
• Defensive lineman Brennan Cascarano
• Defensive lineman Jeremiah Douchee
• Defensive lineman Charlie Pontarelli
• Linebacker Jimmy Knight
• Safety Colin Boit
• Kicker David Smith

Find the full Dartmouth release HERE.
STATS has a story about the upcoming FCS season headlined: Key FCS College Football Teams Seeking to Rebound in 2018.

Not surprisingly, Harvard is one of the nine teams mentioned. From the story:
The Ivy League has tightened considerably – yes, finally – but the return of 15 starters, led by all-purpose threat Justice Shelton-Mosley, and getting left tackle Larry Allen Jr. and safety and captain Zach Miller back will make Harvard formidable again.
Find the full story HERE.
It's back to the practice field today for spring session No. 2 of 12. Check BGA Premium tonight for full coverage.