Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Wrapping up the coaches' call

The annual Ivy League football conference call ended a little more than an hour ago. There's not a ton of news to report but here's what I perceived as the highlights of the call.

Al Bagnoli, coach of defending champion Penn, had a great line when asked if he had any reaction to the Quakers being picked second.

"They (past media panels) haven’t been right, not sure it was a bad thing," Bagnoli said.

On a significantly more somber note, Bagnoli addressed the suicide of Owen Thomas, a defensive end who would have been one of the Quakers captains this season. Thomas took his own life in late April rocking the close-knit Penn campus and in particular the football squad.

Bagnoli said he has been encouraged by the way his players have reacted to the tragedy thus far.

"It's gone better than I possibly than I could have imagined," Bagnoli said. "They have done everytihng we have asked them. They have been focused and been diligent on the task at hand. Our seniors have done a great job and we are cautiously opt we can put it behind us."

Harvard coach Tim Murphy said that Kevin Murphy, who is set to replace three-time All-Ivy selection James Williams at left tackle, could "be better pro prospect than James Williams, as good an offensive line we’ve had since Matt Birk."

Murphy also said former LSU quarterback Andrew Hatch has been cleared to play for Harvard by the NCAA a week and a half ago.

New Princeton coach Bob Surace spoke about the transition after leaving the Cincinnati Bengals after nine years as an assistant coach to take over at his alma mater.

"I couldn't ask for better communication, any time there is change there is this anxiousness from the coaches and players for us to set standards and them to meet those standards," Surace said. "I couldn’t say enough positive stuff about the players on our roster."

As for Yale, head coach Tom Williams was asked about his decision to go for a fake punt on 4th and 22 from Yale's own 25 late in the season finale against Harvard. The failure to convert on the gamble led to Harvard scoring the winning touchdown.

Williams likened those who opposed the move as being people who put their money in a money market rather than the more risky proposition of investing in the stock market and he will do whatever is "necessary to win the games."

He also said that not only is Patrick Witt the starting quarterback heading into camp but it is "his position to lose."

Also on the call was Jim Maconaghy, the Ivy League's coordinator of officials. Maconaghy said that since this is the year two of a two-year cycle, there aren't too many new rules for the upcoming season. However, next year the NCAA is looking to add a couple of rules worth noting. First, it is passes officials will be able to award unsportsmanlike/taunting penalties from the spot of the foul meaning that if a player dials up his Deion Sanders impersonation en route to the end zone, a score can be nullified and the 15-yard penalty can be assessed from the spot that the officials deemed that the hot dogging began. Maconaghy inferred that it would be unusual to wipe out a TD to enforce the rule but that option could be available.

The second new proposal is that televisions would be allowed in the coaches boxes in the press box. Bear in mind both are on the schedule to be added beginning in the 2011 season.

Finishing up, in case you missed it in my previous entry, here is the Ivy League poll.

IVY LEAGUE POLL
First-place votes in parenthesis

1. Harvard (10) 128
2. Penn (6) 124
3. Brown 95
4. Yale (1) 83
5. Columbia 61
6. Princeton 55
7. Dartmouth 39
8. Cornell 27

As I previously mentioned, if you put Cornell seventh and Dartmouth eighth, you will have the poll I submitted.

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