Friday, August 5, 2011

Ivy League 2011 Preview

Penn Quakers
2010 Record: 9-1
Penn was the dominant force in the Ivy League last fall, and may very well continue to be so this season, but they did it more as a team, as there were no particular standout areas where the Quakers were concerned, but it was a concentrated team domination. Billy Ragone was not nearly the best passer in the league, but he certainly is a winner. Ragone passed for only 834 yards, and only tossed 6 TDs on the season. He rushed for a moderate 548 yards and scored 7 times, but again, he found ways to win. Brandon Colavita returns at RB as well, and again, he was not a superstar as far as his number were concerned. He rushed for 728 yards, and he scored 12 TDs on the season. Again, he's just a grinder of a winner. Jeff Jack and Andrew Bailey will come off the bench, so depth is optimum. Ragone does lose his two best receivers, so keeping it on the ground may be the wise course here.
Running through the Quaker front seven is just like running head first into a black hole. Not wise, and not survivable. Penn gave up only 72 yards rushing per game last fall, and this unit is the core of the team. Eric Rask returns after collecting 65 tackles at LB last fall, and that led the team. Again, nothing supernatural about that number, as the Quakers spread it across the board. Brandon Copleand returns on the line after collecting 10 TFLs to lead the team last fall. Solid depth will be replaced in the secondary as fall camp opens, so there could be a slight bit of slippage, but not much.
Penn is as good a choice as any to win the Ivy once again this fall.
2011 Schedule: 9/17 Lafayette, 9/24 @ Villanova, 10/1 @ Dartmouth, 10/8 Fordham, 10/15 @ Columbia, 10/22 Yale, 10/29 @ Brown, 11/5 Princeton, 11/12 @ Harvard, 11/19 Cornell

Brown Bears
2010 Record: 6-4
Phil Estes did a great job coaching the Bears above water last fall, and he always finds a way to keep Brown competitive, but now it's time to take them to the next level. Pat Donnelly starts at QB, but he is limited on experience, and had some struggles in limited time in 2011. Mark Kachmer returns at RB after rushing for 8 scores last season, but is not a heavy yardage type back. Depth is limited, at best, behind him. Jimmy Saros and Tellef Lundevall will be the starters at receiver, and neither had eye popping numbers last fall, and the loss of Alexander Tounkara could hurt.
Brown returns Stephen Peyton on defense after the former TE led the team with 79 tackles last season, but there is incredible loss everywhere on defense. Clayton McGrath collected 5.5 sacks and returns, and he also led the team with 13.5 TFLs, but there is a huge question as to where any other pressure will come from. AJ Cruz returns to the secondary after defending 8 passes last season, but again, he's going to be rather lonely back there.
Brown definitely needs to find a way to get to the next level, but that won't be this season.
2011 Schedule: 9/17 @ Stony Brook, 9/24 @ Harvard, 10/1 Rhode Island, 10/8 Holy Cross, 10/15 Princeton, 10/22 @ Cornell, 10/29 @ Penn, 11/5 @ Yale, 11/12 Dartmouth, 11/19 @ Columbia

Columbia Lions
2010 Record: 4-6
Sean Brackett was probably the most exciting QB in the Ivy League last fall, and he returns to run the show once again. Brackett passed for 2072 yards and 19 TDs, rushing for another 518 yards and 3 more scores. Nick Gerst is the only returnee in the backfield of any note from last season, and he will be expected to carry more of a load this season. TE Andrew Kennedy departs, and replacing his volume of work will be no easy task.
The replacing of LB Alex Gross, the leagues leading tackler last fall, will also be a formidable task this fall. Ryan Murphy brings some pressure up front, but not a ton of it, and he is certainly lacking any returning help. The secondary has got to rebuild from the ground up.
The Lions may find it tough going to match up with their 4 wins from last season, even with Brackett pulling the trigger on offense.
2011 Schedule: 9/17 @ Fordham, 9/24 Albany, 10/1 @ Princeton, 10/8 Sacred Heart, 10/15 Penn,  10/22 @ Dartmouth, 10/29 Yale, 11/5 Harvard, 11/12 @ Cornell, 11/19 Brown

Cornell Big Red
2010 Record: 2-8
The Big Red had a tough go last fall, but there were a couple of bright spots that made some believe that better times were ahead. Jeff Mathews passed for 1723 yards, but his 7/7 TD to pick ratio was a bit daunting. Grant Gellalty carried the ball 96 times as a freshman, and he returns to give Cornell a solid, but young nucleus. Cornell will also return their top three receivers from last fall in Shane Savage, Luke Tasker, and Ryan Houska.
Zach Imhoff will return to run the defense at LB, and he collected 83 tackles last season. That being said, the Big Red lost a ton of depth around him. The Big Red also lacks any sort of pressure from up front, unless senior DE Emile Chang can produce more than his 5.5 TFLs from last season. Rashad is really the only real play maker in the secondary, so someone needs to step up ASAP.
There may be improvements on offense, but the defense will still stumble, keeping Cornell in the bottom half of the league once again.
2011 Schedule: 9/17 Bucknell, 9/24 @ Yale, 10/1 Wagner, 10/8 Harvard, 10/15 @ Colgate, 10/22 Brown, 10/29 @ Princeton, 11/5 @ Dartmouth, 11/12 Columbia, 11/19 @ Penn

Dartmouth Big Green
2010 Record: 6-4
Connor Kempe was, in short, a bit of a mess last fall at QB. Kempe passed for 8 TDs, but yet was picked off 12 times on the season. He did pass for 1647 yards on the season, and they were able to overcome that fact by winning 6 games. Still, these mistakes need fixing. Nick Schweiger. Just give the ball to him. Don't ask why, just do it. Schweiger is by far the best back coming back to the league this fall, as he rushed for 1133 yards and 14 TDs in 10 games, and was our Ivy League Player of the Year. Dominick Pierre brought solid depth as a freshman last season. Tim McManus and Mikchael Reilly both return at receiver, giving Kempe a solid chance at redemption.
The Big Green received no help at all in basic tackling from their front seven, as their top three tacklers were all DBs. Garrett Waggoner and Mandela Shaeffer both return from that group to give Dartmouth a solid secondary that will also include Shawn Abuhoff, who defended 10 passes last fall along with 4 picks, and also returns Chase Womack, who picked off 4 more passes in 8 games. Losing Charles Bay up front could be calamitous, but Eddie Smith will do his best at making up fro the lost pressure up front.
2011 Schedule: 9/17 Colgate, 9/24 @ Sacred Heart, 10/1 Penn, 10/8 @ Yale, 10/15 @ Holy Cross, 10/22 Columbia, 10/29 @ Harvard, 11/5 Cornell, 11/12 @ Brown, 11/19 Princeton

Harvard Crimson
2010 Record: 7-3
If Harvard had not had injury issues aplenty last fall at QB, they may very well have unseated Penn at the top of the conference. Collier Winters is expected to start at QB, but he has to stay healthy, which will be a challenge. Colton Chapple is also competing for the job. Treavor Scales will be stepping into the starting job at RB, but will have a ton of work to do to put up the numbers that they got out of the departed Gino Gordon. Adam Chrissis will return to top the receiver depth chart, and he will get support from TE Kyle Juszczyk.
Alex Gordon will return at LB, but the loss of Nick Hasselberg will be tough to swallow this season. There were huge losses all over the front seven, so this may be an issue this fall. Dan Minamide will return in the secondary, and was our Ivy League DB of the Year. Matthew Hanson will be back as well, giving the Crimson something solid to build on.
The Crimson should still be in the top half of the league, and if the defense rebuilds quickly, they could run for the top, but again, health is an issue.
2011 Schedule: 9/17 @ Holy Cross, 9/24 Brown, 10/1 @ Lafayette, 10/8 @ Cornell, 10/15 Bucknell, 10/22 Princeton, 10/29 Dartmouth, 11/5 @ Columbia, 11/12 Penn, 11/19 @ Yale

Princeton Tigers
2010 Record: 1-9
Wow, how fast some teams can fall. In the earlier part of last decade, the Tigers were competing for titles, and now, they can't win a league game. The passing game was a total mess last fall, and they still really don't have a front runner for the position. There is absolutely no run game to speak of, and again, they are starting over. The Tigers also lost their top 3 receivers, and their only real weapon, WR Trey Peacock. Start over.
DB Andrew Starks will try to bring legitimacy back to the defense, as he collected 89 tackles last fall. Starks also happened to lead the team with 7 TFLs. In short, the Tigers have one great defender, and 10 spots on defense that need filling.
2011 Schedule: 9/17 Lehigh, 9/24 Bucknell, 10/1 Columbia, 10/8 @ Hampton, 10/15 @ Brown, 10/22 @ Harvard, 10/29 Cornell, 11/5 @ Penn, 11/12 Yale, 11/19 @ Dartmouth

Yale Bulldogs
2010 Record: 7-3
The Bulldogs made a major push in 2010, and Patrick Witt found his way at QB. Witt passed for 2216 yards and 12 TDs. He needs to cut down on his 12 picks, however, to give him a better shot at being a major star. Alex Thomas will be back at RB after rushing for 9 TDs, and gives the Bulldogs a balance to make the passing game work. Chris Smith will step up into a starting WR role, but the Bulldogs do lose significant depth in the receiving corps.
Jordan Haynes returns as one of the best LBs in the country after collecting 102 tackles last fall. Will McHale also returns at LB, but he needs to step up his presence. Haynes is a major factor in the pass rush, but he needs someone else to step it up there as well. Geoff Dunham will anchor the secondary, but the Dogs are thin there as well. They could be ripe for a slip.
2011 Schedule: 9/17 Georgetown, 9/24 Cornell, 10/1 @ Lehigh, 10/8 Dartmouth, 10/15 @ Lafayette, 10/22 @ Penn, 10/29 @ Columbia,  11/5 Brown, 11/12 @ Princeton, 11/19 Harvard

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