Monday, November 15, 2010

Analysis of the Week - Lafayette

This week, I have turned to one of the most astute and knowledgeable posters of the Holy Cross football team: breezy. Aside from his great thoughts from the games--many of which he travels to--I have found that he constantly digs deeper with regard to the team. He often inquires about how many of the younger players on the team are doing by seeking out reports from the Junior Varsity games, and keeping a close eye on the depth chart and participation reports. I always enjoy reading what he has to say about Holy Cross' games come Sunday morning. Thank you, breezy, for providing us with the "Analysis of the Week."

Back from the game today in Easton -- great day for a football game -- who knew it was the middle of November?

Good turnout on the Holy Cross side, and the fans had plenty to cheer about today.

Lafayette QB Ryan O'Neil (brother of former HC QB John O'Neil) played very well and displayed none of the inaccuracy that Lafayette fans have bemoaned. HC QB Ryan Taggart also played well although he started slowly in the passing game.

HC special teams deserve special kudos in this game -- the fumble recovery on the Lafayette FG attempt at the end of the second quarter that was returned for a TD, some excellent kickoff returns by Zitnik and Fess, recovery of both onside kicks, the blocked punt, and some deep kickoffs by Lemieux that were well covered stopping the Lafayette returner around the 20-yard line several times.

Although Lafayette had a wide margin in total yardage, much of that was due to a couple of long drives in the 4th quarter when the HC defense was playing prevent style (someday someone will explain to me what the prevent defense actually prevents).

HC offense played much better in second half and each time Lafayette would close to within 3 points, the offense responded with a TD.

HC had two penalties early in the first quarter but only one more penalty for the rest of the game -- a very questionable pass interference call.

Fortunately, the game was played without any apparent injuries on the HC side and only one injury to a Lafayette defensive back that did not appear to be too serious.

It's a good thing, too, because HC has had a ton of injuries this year. Freshman RB Reggie Woods got his first action of the season, rushing three times to give Sam Auffant a breather. Freshman DT Michael White saw substantial action alternating with Tony Ruoti. On many passing downs late in the game, freshman LB Mike Tucker was inserted at DT in an effort to put some pressure on the Lafayette QB.

A good day. Let's get a win against Bucknell next week to end the season with a winning record.

I completely agree with this assessment, especially the recognition given to the Special Teams units, which is what I will harp on in my assessment. Just as these units outclassed the Colgate Raiders, they made Lafayette look like a feeble Pop Warner team out there. Often times, Special Teams is a great way to take momentum from an opponent and use it to ignite the entire sideline and team. 

For all intents and purposes, Holy Cross was as dead as a carcass for much of the first half. The first four drives of the game for HC went: punt, field goal, downs, downs, and punt. While Lafayette was not doing much on the offensive end themselves, they were the better team for the first 29:32. Lafayette was poised to go up 13-3 as their stellar kicker Davis Rodriguez (you would not know how good he was in his last three performances against Holy Cross) lined up to kick a 42 yard field goal. Enter: Cav Koch and the field goal block unit. Benefiting from a bobbled snap, Koch took the ball 68 yards to the house to give the Crusaders a 10-7.

Boom. Just like that instead of being down by 7 or 10 at the half, HC is up by 3. One can make the argument that it was not the Holy Cross Special Teams that were so good, but it was the Leopards' that was simply atrocious, but HC simply did their job on Special Teams. The Crusaders ostensibly did not deserve to be leading at halftime, but thanks to Special Teams, they took the momentum with them into the locker room and it carried over into the second half. 

In the early stages of the second half, Special Teams came up big once again. With Tom Kandish standing inside his 20 yard line, Perry Townsend blocked a punt giving HC fantastic field position. In Kandish's defense, he was practically mimicking Dustin Pedroia by crouching down to field a ground ball at second base. The snaps for Lafayette were low all day, and Townsend capitalized on the Leopards' miscue. The ensuing drive for Holy Cross stalled after just three plays, and as Rob Dornfried lined up for what would be a mere chip shot from the 23 yard line, the field goal unit for Holy Cross would fail and execute all in the same play.
  • Failure: Lafayette was able to get a strong push through the middle of the Holy Cross line and block Dornfried's three point bid.
  • Execution: The headiness of Dornfried to track down Brandon Ellis, who recovered the blocked kick, was a touchdown saving tackle--the first tackle of Dornfried's career I believe.
    • Talking to senior offensive lineman Graham Gawryszewski on the ride home from Easton, Graham commented that it was not Cav Koch's touchdown at the end of the first half that was the play of the game, but it was Dornfried's tackle along the Lafayette sideline that was the big play. I agree with him. If Ellis takes it pay dirt for six, Lafayette regains the lead 14-10--a major momentum shift.
Special Teams is all about retaining or giving away the momentum in a football game. Our offense greatly struggled to get going until the latter stages of the game, the defense allowed Ryan O'Neil to sling the ball all across the field, yet the Special Team units were there throughout the entire game. Thank you, breezy, for shedding light on the play of Special Teams along with several other aspects of Saturday's game in Easton, PA.

Check back in the coming days for a final look at the Lafayette vs. Holy Cross game.

Kevin Doyle '11

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

More Color on the '90-Wide' Mentoring Program

Last Thursday evening, November 4th, Mr. Bill Maloney '59 led his 26th rendition of a
Mentoring/Career Planning evening for the HC Football team. Hats off to Bill,
Dominic Blue '98, Craig Cerretani '79, Dan Adams '07, Pete Mondani '79, and Brian Hopkins '98 as they and yours truly provided career and life wisdom and passion to the current
Crusader gridiron contingent and the Holy Cross cheerleaders as well.

The night started at 7pm and was still going strong with personal conversations at 10pm.

Reactions to the Lehigh Game

Over on Lehigh Football Nation, arguably the best FCS football blog there is around, Chuck Burton writes an article every Monday entitled: "Sunday's Word." This Monday, the word he formulated his article around was: "Hungry." Any why shouldn't it be? Lehigh came out very hungry from the get-go, and really took it to Holy Cross on the defensive end. Eventually, their potent offense came around and they ran away with a convincing 34-17 victory.

To piggy back on LFN's "Sunday's Word," if I was to write a similar article on Holy Cross' behalf, the word would be "Deflation." Just when Holy Cross began to blow up the proverbial balloon, Lehigh came up with a big play to deflate the Crusaders. Here are several instances that illustrate the theme of deflation:
  • Holy Cross is one play away from stopping Lehigh inside the Red Zone and entering halftime just down 7-3, but Lehigh puts one into the end zone: 14-3 Lehigh.
  • Holy Cross is able to force a fumble on Lehigh's first possession on the second half, but proceeds to go 3 and out after getting the ball, and Lehigh scores on the next possession: 21-3 Lehigh.
  • Holy Cross finally gets a touchdown of their own to make it 21-10, but cannot stop Lehigh on the next possession and the Mountain Hawks go up 28-10 early in the 4th quarter.
  • With Holy Cross clinging to a glimmer of hope, they fumble the kickoff and Lehigh gets the ball back. 
Lehigh had an answer for everything Holy Cross did; it really was that simple.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Analysis of the Week - Lehigh

Lehigh flat out beat us this past Saturday. They were the better team, and I do not believe anyone would deny that. I wish them the best of luck in the FCS playoffs, and believe they will represent the Patriot League well. With that being said, I want to look at one play that Lehigh runs that crushed us on Saturday.

Coach Gilmore constantly preaches that one needs to simply: "Do your job!" If each player on either the defensive or offensive end simply "does their job" and takes care of their assignment, than we will be successful as a collective whole. Lehigh obviously made the "do your job" philosophy a very tall task, yet if Holy Cross defended a play that Lehigh has crushed opponents with all season, they may have found themselves in the game in the waning moments, rather than down by three scores. I look to PurplePeopleEater this week for the most accurate analysis regarding this play, as well as the play of the game for Lehigh:

IMO - that play just before half was pivotal (going into half 7-3 and with whatever momentum a last score holds, we had something positive..and the fact that we didn't allow more points in the first half would've been a key at half). And then that late first half score coupled with an early 3Qtr LU score really made it tough. 

But regarding that LU 1st half TD, anyone at the game can recall our "D" yelling that there was no LU players on the left side...I don't think we even had a cornerback or ayone out there as LU had no one there either. Upon the snap, the entire play rolled right but an LU player flared out of the pack and was all alone on the left. It seemed like the play was drawn out exactly like it ran (call it a 'trick' play but it was creative, affective and done exactly at the right time). That was the play of the game!!!

I remember sitting at my desk on the afternoon of October 30, the day that Colgate played at Lehigh, and decided to splurge on spending the $6.95 to watch this game online. Aside from being very impressed with how well Lehigh moved the ball through the air, I recognized that they continually went to this throw-back pass when absolutely needing a big play. Against Colgate, they ran the play once with their primary quarterback Chris Lum (a 9 yard TD pass to Jake Drwal), and ran it another time with their "Wildcat" quaterback Michael Colvin (a 7 yard TD pass to Alex Wojdowski). This was Lehigh's bread and butter when they needed to convert, and, sure enough, they burned us on it twice. 

The play at the end of the first half, that PPE alluded to, definitely was the major changing point in the game. Going into the half down 4 (7-3), instead of 11 (14-3) is a major difference, especially because Lehigh would be receiving the ball to begin the second half. 

Although PPE already explained the play, I will do my best to explain how it works as well. The main objective of the play is to have the entire offense, but more importantly the entire defense too, flooding to one part of the field. Lehigh accomplished this with having Chris Lum and the offensive line roll out to the right side of the field; the receivers all broke to the right side as well. What made this play, however, was how the Lehigh tight end Alex Wojdowski sold his block exceptionally well, and then leaked out to the wide side of the field. He was all alone, and while Anthony DiMichele was in position to potentially make a touchdown saving tackle, Wojdowski danced around him for six. DiMichele was sucked into the design of the play, and struggled to recover. 

Lehigh's offense is much more than just this one play--call it a trick play if you want--but this throw-back pass will definitely burn another team later in the season; I can guarantee you that. The Mountain Hawks did a great job of setting up this play so they were in a position to be successful when calling it. 

Look for my reactions of the game as to "What went right, and what went wrong" later today.

Kevin Doyle '11

Monday, November 1, 2010

Joe Tutino '12 Weighs in on the Colgate Trip

Although it is coming a little later than usual this week, Joe Tutino has fabulously provided his great insights to our trip to quaint Hamilton, NY. I cannot think of a single part of the trip that Joe left out, other than myself having some serious digestive problems on our drive from the hotel to Colgate on Saturday morning; there definitely was something peculiar in those sausage links.                

            Figuring that we have a bye week this week, I thought I’d delay my recap so there would be something to read about over this weekend. It’s only been a week, but the excitement of the Colgate win is still fresh in everyone’s minds. After a long ride through the winding roads of western Massachusetts and eastern New York, a huge win over the 1932 National Champions proved to be a huge momentum booster heading into the bye week as the boys prepare to take on the Mountain Hawks of Lehigh University this coming Saturday. All things considered, the winner of this game will be in complete control of its destiny for the Patriot League Championship (as I write this, Lehigh dismantled Colgate 44 to 14 on Senior Day in Bethlehem). This week proved to be big as injured guys have slowly made their way back onto the field and into pads, enthusiastically preparing for another potent offensive attack in Lehigh. But, for one last time, let’s take a look at the game that kept us alive in the hunt for another PLC…

As Journey’s Don’t Stop Believin’ chimed through the speakers at Colgate’s Andy Kerr Stadium, the sun slowly descending behind the hills of Hamilton, NY, the Holy Cross football team erupted into unrestrained jubilation after upsetting the preseason Patriot League favorite Raiders of Colgate University, 31 to 24. To those who were not there, it is extremely hard to put into words the anxiety of scoring early, losing the lead and then scoring on a really bold play to win the game. Recording the first road win of the 2010 campaign and the first road victory at Colgate since Kerr Stadium had a grass surface back in 2000, the Cross took full control of their own postseason destiny as they have the last couple of seasons, not to mention taking at least a few more years off of Coach Gilmore’s life. Something felt very different about this game almost from the very beginning. As soon as we arrived at the locker rooms to the time the boys stepped on the turf for warm-ups, the entire team was vocal and upbeat, something that was not really seen or felt before last week’s defeat at Dartmouth. The hangover from the Hanover trip was almost nonexistent and that was evident in practice this past week. The entire coaching staff did a great job of keeping the guys loose, yet focused on correcting mistakes from Dartmouth and, boy, did it show. The boys were talking a good game on the field, but they brought the intensity to back it up against what appeared to be an arrogant Colgate squad.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Reactions to the Colgate Game

For most college football teams, reaching a championship game is the sought after goal at the beginning of every season. For many teams, the dream of reaching a championship football game never becomes a reality. In fact, many college football players will never in their four years participate in a championship game. The Holy Cross Crusaders, however, are in a unique situation where they are fortunate enough to play in four straight championship games. While these are not "true" championship games, for the Crusaders they absolutely are: Win one championship game, and then move on to the next one.

It is certainly not the ideal situation, having your backs against the wall knowing that every game is of the "must win" variety from here on out, but it is also motivating in the sense that one more loss and the season comes to an end. After having already lost to the Georgetown Hoyas in the fourth week of the season, making our Patriot League record 0-1, the Crusaders can ill-afford another league loss; a loss would mean no Patriot League Championship (PLC) and no bid to the NCAA FCS Playoffs. Everyone in the field side locker room at Colgate's Andy Kerr Stadium knew what was at stake this past Saturday, and they will all understand what is at stake on November 6th against Lehigh at Fitton Field: Win, and live to get to another championship game. Lose, and the dream of winning another PLC has slipped away.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Analysis of the Week

Ever since I began closely following Holy Cross sports during my junior year in high school (2005), I have been a close reader of the Holy Cross Athletics message board entitled "Crossports" ( I did not begin contributing until November of my freshman year at HC, but have constantly used the website as my primary outlet to stay updated with HC athletics, as well as to read other posters' commentary and analysis of Holy Cross athletic contests and teams.

I have always enjoyed the great commentary from posters such as: Non Alum Dave, HC92, hchoops, dadominate, and CHC8485 among many others. In fact, my first post ever on the site was jokingly directed at Dave and the rest of the "Section F'ers" who traditionally sit in the same section at the Hart Center during basketball games. Crossports is a very unique community in the "cyber world"; it is easily one of the most informative and comical sports message boards around. The great analysis that many of the posters share over on the board is what makes the site so enjoyable to read. 

While I believe I provide accurate analysis following many of the football games, I think a neat feature that can become a staple for Chu Chu Rah Rah is having an "Analysis of the Week" post. There are many other astute observes of Holy Cross football who post on Crossports that should be highlighted. The following day after a Holy Cross football game, after reading through all the commentary about the game, I will select what posters' analysis I deem to be the most informative and accurate. Following their analysis, I will provide my own reactions to the commentary. 

So without further adieu, here is the first "Analysis of the Week":

The ever informative RookieDad chimed in on the play of the defense against the vaunted Colgate running attack:

The D were warriors! Rampant holding on the part of the Raiders' OL went uncalled all day. (I know, I know "it happens all the time".) However, I took it as a sign of desperation by Colgate since our guys were never as aggressive this year as they were today. Basically, big piles in the A-gaps forcing Eachus to cut to outside and into awaiting OLB and/or corners.

Our D did have trouble initially with 'Gate's two back attack reminiscent of an updated spit "T" option with some nice faking by the Raider QB. However, once our guys calmed down, covered their assignments and merely tackled the first red shirted RB they saw rather than try to solve the mystery, they did fine. In fact, 'gate's first touchdown by Eachus was caused by one of our players trying to confirm if he had the ball or not rather than just going ahead and planting him.

Basically, our DL came out and hit the Raider OL in the mouth who then were so shocked by the temerity of the Crusaders they never recovered in first half. Our guys were so stubborn up front 'gate kept substituting centers - never a good sign. Rock fight up front it was indeed!

A classic game that will be a lifetime fond memory for everyone on the team.

By the way, is Perry Townsend unstoppable or what? And, does anyone know how Zitnik got loose?

Next championship game at home against the mountain chickens in two weeks. Show up and strap in. Let's not get ****y though (pun intended).

RookieDad is very accurate in stating "covered their assignments." Defending a running-based team who runs misdirection plays and the option, stopping an offense like this is simply knowing one's assignments and doing your job. That is one of Coach Gilmore's favorite phrases: "Just do your job." If everyone on defense simply does their job, albeit a very tough job against such a great running team like Colgate, the defense will succeed. And although Colgate eclipsed the 200 yard mark in rushing yardage, there was only one run, a a 35 yard scamper by Nate Eachus, that saw the 'Gate running attack get behind our secondary. 

What was so impressive on the defensive side of the ball, particularly the defensive line, is that they did a fabulous job without three regulars on the D-line. Jack Maliska, Eric Oldiges, and Matt Ferrel were all sidelined due to injury (Ferrel did travel, but he was a game-time decision and could not play). The depth and talent of the younger guys up front was really demonstrated on Saturday. Michael White, Mike Tucker, Joe Bell, and Matthew Boyd all seamlessly stepped in and played exceptionally well. In fact, it was Tucker who pressured Colgate quarterback Greg Sullivan in the game's final play to clinch the "W" for the Crusaders.

I am not going to lie, I had some serious doubts heading into the game with how thin our defensive line was against one of the premiere rushing attacks in the nation. The resiliency of the "big uglies" up front, and the constant pounding that was put on Sullivan and Eachus during every hit certainly kept the Colgate offense in check for much of the game.

Thank you, RookieDad, for your great analysis.

Look for some of my reactions to the game in the coming days. Also, I am sure Joe Tutino will want to share his thoughts on our trip out to Hamilton, NY sometime this week as well.

Kevin Doyle '11

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Joe Tutino '12 Weighs in on the Dartmouth Trip

Following two straight weeks at home, Joe did not feel the need to provide his always entertaining input of the Fordham and Brown games, although he does briefly touch on them in the beginning of his commentary. It is good to read through Mr. Tutino's thoughts, especially the tidbits he provides at the end regarding the nuances of the trip. Thanks again, Joe, for your work.

If the 2010 version of the Holy Cross Football Team could play every game at home for the next four games, the possibility of a second consecutive playoff appearance would be well within grasp. With recent triumphs over Fordham and Brown in the friendly confines of Fitton Field, this squad avenged tough blowouts at UMass and Harvard and a frustrating league defeat to the Hoyas of Georgetown. The Fordham game was historically close, but the Brown game was the more encouraging of the two especially on the defensive side of the ball. While the crowd was sparse as students embarked on a weeklong fall break, the emotion on the sidelines was equal to that of last year’s Lafayette game (compared to the previous five contests). This game did not mean as much in the standings as it did morale-wise, but it certainly meant a return to .500 and a statement to those up in Hanover that the Cross was no pushover to Ivy League competition. The Brown game was another home win, but the biggest games remaining on the schedule are mostly road games, a place where these Crusaders have not won since last November 7th (my birthday!) at Lehigh. The Dartmouth game—an exasperating 27-19 loss—proved that this young team is as unaccustomed to success on the road as the Detroit Lions.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Reactions to the Brown Game

Two wins in a row and back to .500. It is safe to say this is not the same team that took the field against the Harvard Crimson in the third game of the year. It was hard to gauge what kind of team the 2010 Holy Cross Crusaders would be following the first two games of the year (Howard and UMASS). We rolled passed the Bison and felt pretty good about ourselves, but Howard is one of the worst teams in FCS football this year. The week after we struggled greatly against the Minutemen, but watching their performance against Michigan a week later, they clearly are one of the top five teams in the FCS this year. We fell somewhere in between these two teams, but where? Harvard would be the telling game, many presumed, of where the team stood this year. That Saturday night in Cambridge, however, was the low point of the season thus far. Not only did we get punched in the mouth hard by the Johnnies, there was little fight back. The offense struggled for the second straight week and looked to be in disarray, the defense had little answer for Andrew Hatch, and the energy on the sidelines was befuddled by the Crimson attack. After another setback down in Washington DC, although the defense came to play and the effort was there by the boys for an entire 60 minutes, the Crusaders returned to the friendly confines of Fitton Field. Getting past a weak Fordham Rams team was a nice confidence booster on Homecoming, but beating a strong Brown team the following weekend may be a sign that Holy Cross has turned to corner.

In an article I wrote back in mid-August previewing the Quarterback position, I commented on how every team experiences "growing pains" at the beginning of a new season. Some have worse pains than others; Holy Cross this season experienced pains throughout the first four weeks of the year. The past two weeks have demonstrated that these pains have been cured, and there is no better time for this to have happened. Going into our final out of conference game of the year against a much improved Dartmouth football squad, and then having Colgate, who is the class of the league this year, on the horizon, ridding ourselves of growing pains is crucial.

Now, let's take a closer look at the Brown game. What went right:

Monday, October 11, 2010

Checking in With Cindy Mercer

Cindy Mercer is a very special person. She is a 'dyed in the wool' Crusader despite the fact that she transferred from Holy Cross after her freshman year. Cindy has been a dedicated mentor to many Crusader football student-athletes both last year and this. She was gracious enough to recently provide some insights and perspectives. I thank her and commend her for all that she does in helping our Crusaders win 'off the field.'

  1. What attracted you to Holy Cross in the first place? 

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Is Bucknell Leaning Toward Supporting Football Scholarships?

With a new president in place at Bucknell, are the Bison now beginning to lean toward supporting the reinstitution of football scholarships? Well, whether it is the new President or not, the Bucknell sports board seems to be indicating a shift in sentiment in Lewisburg. Let's check this out.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Reactions to the Fordham Game

2-3 sounds a whole lot better than 1-4, doesn't it? The entire day was a real success all the way around. The only failure? The game did not start at 5 or 6 o'clock and finish underneath the lights. But, that is a post for another day.

Following the loss in DC to the Georgetown Hoyas, a loss that saw the 'Saders score only 7 points, many questioned the offense, and rightfully so. For the third straight game, the "O" scored in single digits. This was the first time since 1992 that Holy Cross scored in single digits for three straight games. But, like any good coaches and players do (and make no mistake, there are some very good players and coaches on the Holy Cross football team), adjustments were made. For anyone who watched the game, the offense had a new flare to it. The field was spread open more, we were more aggressive with our passing game, especially taking chances down the field, and we ran the quarterback draw to perfection. Ryan Taggart is not the most prolific passer, but his speed, agility, and legs are superior to many quarterbacks. The offensive play calling used his legs beautifully on Saturday. Before I start rambling, I will slow myself down and begin to break down what went right, and what did not.

What went right against Fordham:
  • The first class of six of Holy Cross' best inducted into the Ring of Fame. I will refer you to that post to read more about that:
  • We were back in the friendly confines of Fitton Field. The last loss at Fitton was against a top 5 UMASS team back in September of 2008. Hopefully we continue this hot streak in The Woo this weekend against Brown.
  • Bill Edger was back in the lineup and healthy. He was our leading receiver on Saturday, and probably does not get enough credit for all he does. I get a feeling if he was healthy enough to play against Georgetown we may have had more success on offense.
  • The offensive play book was opened up. As I already alluded to, I really liked the fact we elected to throw the ball down the field more (probably because Edge was back), and also let Taggart utilize his legs. Fordham was probably one of the weaker defenses we will run into all year, but the middle of the field was open all day, and Taggart took advantage of that.
  • Just looking at the statistics from the game: 32 first downs, 500 total yards, 30+ in time of possession, 13 for 18 on 3rd down!
    • 13 for 18...All about extending drives, moving the chains, keeping the offense on the field, and the defense off.
  • Easily, Ryan Taggart's best performance of his career. He looked very comfortable running the offense, something he did not look against UMASS, Harvard, and Georgetown, and made solid reads throughout the game.
  • Josh Hauser had 3 catches for 35 yards. If he can become another weapon in the offense alongside Alex Schneider, it would merely add another option for Taggart.
  • Of the eight drives throughout the game for Holy Cross, six ended in scores and just two punts. If we can score on 50% of our drives, I would be elated. 
  • Offensive line did a solid job throughout as Taggart and Watson were never sacked.
What did not go right against Fordham:
  • Defense needs to tighten up and not let the opposition back into the game. We were up 23-14, and then the Rams come down and scored, and then after being up 36-24, they scored late again to get within five.
    • Fordham was actually within one defensive stop of forcing HC to punt, but fortunately Taggart used his legs, lowered his shoulder, and picked up the yardage for the first down.
  • In the last three games, the opposition's quarterback has nearly been the leading rusher for their respective team. Andrew Hatch (Harvard) had 62 yards (Gino Gordon had 66), Scott Darby (Georgetown) had 101, and Blake Wayne (Fordham) had 114.
    • What does this all mean? The defensive line and linebackers have to work on containing the QB when a pass play breaks down and the QB tucks it in and runs.
  • Kicking game needs to be crisper. Missing two extra points and only averaging 33 yards a punt may come back to haunt us. If Fordham were to have scored late in the game, those two extra points would have been important. Also, we know there will be even closer games than this down the line; converting on these opportunities is pertinent.
  • Forcing more than two "3 and outs" not only benefits the defense as they get off the field sooner, but also enables the offense to get in a rhythm.
While this was a great win against an individually talented Fordham team--I did not believe they were that great as a whole--this was nothing more than a game to get Holy Cross back on track. The players know and believe this is a good team, and finally getting closer to putting a complete game together was a very positive sign. Brown will be a great test this weekend as we move closer and closer to the final four games against our Patriot League brethren.

Kevin Doyle '11

It's Basketball Season?

I know this blog is primarily meant for Holy Cross football, but I figured during the offseason I would inevitably deliver my thoughts on some of the other sports Holy Cross competes in as well. I have been busy lately communicating with a college basketball website called "Rush the Court" (, so I apologize for my brief hiatus from the blog. I just finished drafting up my first article for the site, and thought I would share it with you here. 

I thank Joe T for helping me out during my stint away from the blog. Hopefully I will be able to draft up some of my reactions on Fordham, and thoughts on Brown later on today and in the coming days. With a paper due tomorrow, however, it is looking like I will not be able to quench your thirst for Holy Cross football until then. Stupid schoolwork.

Without further adieu, here is the 2010 Patriot League Basketball Preview (the article has not yet been put up on the site, but should be up either later today or tomorrow. Also, sorry the formatting is pretty bad here, it will appear better on the website):

Predicted Order of Finish:

1.         Bucknell 10-4
2.         Lafayette 9-5
3.         Holy Cross 8-6
4.         American 8-6
5.         Lehigh 8-6
6.         Colgate 5-9
7.         Navy 5-9
8.         Army 3-11

All-Conference Team:

CJ McCollum (G), Soph, Lehigh (18.8 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 2.3 apg)
Jordan Sugars (G), Jr, Navy (15.9 ppg, 7.9 rpg)
Jared Mintz (F), Sr, Lafayette (14.6 ppg, 5.7 rpg)
Andrew Keister (F), Sr, Holy Cross (10.4 ppg, 9.4 rpg)
Vlad Moldoveanu (C), Sr, American (19.4 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 2.1 apg)

6th Man: Devin Brown, Jr, Holy Cross (13.2 ppg, 45.4 3PT%)

Impact Newcomer: Troy Brewer, Jr, American (transferred from Georgia)

What You Need to Know. Long are the days where Bucknell and Holy Cross had supremacy against the six other members of the Patriot League. In three years ranging from the 2004-2005 season to the 2006-2007 season, the Bison and Crusaders compiled a gaudy 74-10 record in Patriot League action. In this span, Bucknell garnered two NCAA Tournament wins (Kansas and Arkansas), while Holy Cross had an NIT victory (Notre Dame). Times have changed, however, as storied coaches Pat Flannery (Bucknell) and Ralph Willard (Holy Cross) have moved on to other endeavors. Since then, the Patriot League has become one of the most competitive leagues in the country in terms of balance within the conference. Jeff Jones at American hit lightning with a dominant backcourt in Garrison Carr and Derrick Mercer who nearly pulled off a dramatic upset of Villanova two years ago, and Lehigh saw freshman sensation CJ McCollum carry them all the way to a Patriot League title just a year ago. In the 2010-2011 campaign, however, it is anyone’s guess whom will be standing atop the pedestal come year’s end. Lafayette and Bucknell have the most talent coming back, American has Player of the Year Candidate Vlad Moldoveanu playing for the entire season (he missed the Fall semester last year), Lehigh has McCollum back after his rookie season that saw him dominate Patriot League competition by averaging 23 points a contest, and Holy Cross returns a boatload of talent, but will be playing under their third coach in three years.

All-Transfer Team: Some of the best players in the league this season began their college careers with bigger name programs in BCS conferences, but ultimately found their niche in the quaint PL. Jeff Jones at American always seems to tap into the Junior College (JUCO) talent, but this year his top three players may be Division 1 transfers from bigger schools: Vlad Moldoveanu (George Mason), Troy Brewer (Georgia), and Charles Hinkle (Vanderbilt). Colgate was the recipient of John Brandenburg (Virginia). Holy Cross hit pay dirt last season when Mike Cavataio (St. Johns) was one of their most dependable players throughout the year. O.J. Avworo (Idaho) brought his talents to Annapolis a few years ago after having a solid season for the Vandals in 2006-2007. Lehigh has guard B.J. Bailey (Boston University) available after the conclusion of the Fall semester; just in time for Patriot League action.  

Power in Pennsylvania: Last season the three Pennsylvania-based schools—Lehigh, Bucknell, and Lafayette—all finished 1-2-3 in that order. The Patriot League championship featured Lehigh vs. Lafayette, one of the biggest rivalries in all of college sports, and both squads look to be strong again this year. Bucknell seems to finally be figuring out the system of third year coach Dave Paulsen. After going a disappointing 7-23 in his inaugural season, the Bison went 8-2 in the last 10 games of the PL regular season last year before being upset in the first round of the league tournament against rival Holy Cross. With much of their starting five and nine of their ten top contributors from last year’s squad returning, Bucknell may be the favorite to win the league.

A New Era at Holy Cross…Again: After a disastrous season that saw Holy Cross have one of its worst seasons (9-22) in the history of the program, Athletic Director Dick Regan elected to fire Sean Kearney after just one season at the helm. Kearney came to the Crusaders via Notre Dame after Ralph Willard, a 1967 graduate of the college, spoiled the HC faithful with four NCAA Tournament berths and an NIT bid in a seven year span. Now, Milan Brown will lead the men in purple. Brown, who comes from Mount St. Mary’s, is a defensive stickler who will look to improve Holy Cross’ defense which ranked 288 last year.   

Predicted Champion. Bucknell (NCAA Seed: #15). The Bison bring back virtually everybody from a team that ended last year playing very well together. This team will not be as good as some of the dominant Bison teams in past years—I don’t think the Patriot League will ever see a team of that caliber again—but their depth will make it hard for other PL teams to compete with. The Bison routinely went 10 deep, and eight of these 10 players averaged between 5.6 and 10.1 points per game. The unselfish nature of Dave Paulsen’s motion offense makes it hard for opponents to key on one player. Senior Darryl Shazier leads the team at point guard, something he has done since his freshman season, and is joined by sharpshooter Bryson Johnson (2.2 3PT per game) in the backcourt. Fifth year senior Stephen Tyree, a menace on defense, and do-it-all player Bryan Cohen (8.8 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 2.7 apg) will be integral parts of Bucknell’s success. Bucknell has not finished above .500 since 2006-2007, and many of the Bison faithful may be losing patience with Dave Paulsen, but this looks to be a breakout type season for Bucknell.

Top Contenders. There are four other teams aside from Bucknell that have legitimate chances to challenge for the Patriot League title. In fact, it is hard to make Bucknell the clear-cut favorite, but with the amount of talent they have returning, along with their supporting cast, they should have a slight edge. Lafayette, Lehigh, American, and Holy Cross will all be in the mix come conference tournament time.
  • While the Mountain Hawks graduated two of the league’s best in Marquis Hall and Zahir Carrington, they return arguably the best pure scorer in the league in CJ McCollum. McCollum has the ability to take over the game with his quick speed and flawless stroke, and Gabe Knutson is a formidable big man underneath. If Lehigh can overcome the loss to Hall and Carrington, which will be no easy task, they have a chance to be a serious contender.
  • American, after a down year following back-to-back NCAA Tournament berths, reloads with two transfers: Troy Brewer and Charles Hinkle. Add on Vlad Moldoveanu and Stephen Lumpkins (drafted as a left-handed pitcher by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the most recent MLB draft), and American could feasibly win the league if all the pieces to a complicated puzzle are placed together.
  • Lafayette returns four of five starters from a team that went to the league championship last season. One of these starters, senior forward Jared Mintz, may be the league’s most efficient offensive player, as he shot 55.6% from the field and 87.5% from the charity stripe. The Leopards’ most important aspect of their team, however, may be their head coach Fran O’Hanlon. Although his record may not indicate his coaching abilities as Lafayette struggled for much of the 2000s, O’Hanlon was essentially coaching with one hand tied behind his back as LC was the last school to implement basketball scholarships. With that being said, O’Hanlon managed to lead Lafayette to two straight Patriot League titles in the late 90s. He has employed a sophisticated offensive system that takes advantage of his deadly three point shooters (ranked 28th in the nation by drilling 8.1 per game), and opens up the middle for Mintz to operate.
  • Holy Cross is unquestionably the biggest enigma entering the 2010 campaign. There is little doubt around the league and amongst the coaches that this team has talent. They were, after all, picked to win the league in 2009 and have graduated only one player who contributed significant minutes since then. Yet, being on their third coach in three years will pose major challenges for the team as they are learning another new system of basketball. Ralph Willard was famous for his suffocating 2-3 match-up zone, Sean Kearney instilled a “run-and-gun” style, and new coach Milan Brown looks to be a hard-nosed, defensive minded coach. Led by senior point guard Andrew Beinert (10.2 ppg, 3.5 apg), fifth year senior power forward Andrew Keister, and former Rookie of the Year and All-League guard RJ Evans (13.2 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 2.7 apg), the leadership and talent is there on the court. The overriding question that will determine how far this squad can go in the PL, is whether the talent on the court meshes well with Milan Brown’s philosophy and game plan.     

Top 5 RPI Boosters:

Nov. 12, 14, Dec. 22, Jan. 2—Bucknell @ Villanova, @ Marquette (CBE Classic), @ Boston College, @ Richmond—The Bison face two of the Big East’s most formidable opponents within the first three days of their season. Wins are very unlikely, but competitive and close showings could demonstrate how they are the class of the league.

Nov. 13, 17 22, 27 Dec. 4—Holy Cross vs. College of Charleston, @ Harvard, @ Boston College, @ UMASS, @ Wake Forest—Although the Crusaders do not play any perennial national powers until Wake in December, they face off against some of New England’s toughest in November. Defeating a Charleston team led by Bobby Cremins to begin the year would be a great sign under first-year coach Milan Brown.

Nov. 19, Dec. 11, Jan. 4—Colgate @ Duke, @ Syracuse, @ Maryland—Not only is Colgate playing a few teams from BCS conferences that can boost the RPI, but these are three teams that routinely advance deep into the NCAA Tournament.

Nov. 20—Lafayette @ Villanova—Want to show the rest of the Patriot League you are legitimate contenders this year? Give the Wildcats a competitive game.  

Dec. 1, 5, 16, & 22—American @ West Virginia, vs. Florida, @ Northwestern, @ Pittsburgh—After several relatively easy out of conference games to begin the year, the Eagles will learn quickly whether they can hang with the big boys.

Key Conference Games:

Jan. 12—Colgate @ Lafayette—The Raiders will want to prove early on if they belong in the upper or lower tier of the league. Defeating the Leopards on the road would go a long way in proving the former.

Jan. 16—Holy Cross @ Bucknell—Always a fun game between a rivalry that developed when the Crusaders and Bison were the face of the league for a three year span.

Jan. 22—Lehigh @ Lafayette—The battle for the Lehigh Valley. Both have legitimate shots at winning the Patriot League, and gaining the upper hand on the other team early in league play could pay dividends down the road.

Feb. 9—American and Bucknell—How good are the three Eagle transfers relative to one of the league’s best? The Eagles can prove they are a force to be reckoned with by defeating Bucknell.

Feb. 19—Army @ Navy—Although neither team figures to pose a serious threat in challenging for the league crown, any game with Army and Navy is a nip and tuck fight ‘til the very end.

Digging Deeper. The two New York-based Patriot League schools have seen very little basketball success in the history of the PL. Army has never won the League, and has yet to even be in the title game, while Colgate has not won the League since 1996. That 1996 Raider team featured Adonal Foyal, arguably the best player to ever don a Patriot League jersey. Foyal was drafted with the 8th overall pick by the Golden State Warriors in the 1997 NBA Draft.

Fun With KenPom. Since the 2004 season there has been a steady improvement in terms of conference rating. The #29 rating in 2004 was by far the worst year for the conference as a whole in recent memory (Lehigh won the PL and was pitted against Florida A&M in the Play-In Game). There was a five spot jump in 2005 to #24, back to #27 in 2006, but then a drastic jump in 2007 to #20. In 2008, the conference came in at #21. The Patriot League can thank Bucknell, and to a lesser extent Holy Cross, for the improved ranking during these years.

NCAA Tournament History. The Patriot League has built a reputation during the last decade of being a real tough out in the NCAA Tournament. Bucknell finally got over the hump that Holy Cross could not by defeating the third seeded Kansas Jayhawks 64-63, and the following year knocking off Arkansas 59-55. In three straight seasons, the Crusaders lost to Kentucky 72-68, Kansas 70-59, and Marquette 72-68. From 2001-2010, the average defeat of Patriot League teams in the first round has been a respectable 11 points.

Final Thoughts. Although the Patriot League will not play the flashiest basketball around, one can expect a very competitive league, especially with the top five or six teams. With the exception of Lehigh, the top tier teams in the league return plenty of their top scorers and players from the 2009 season. Being a relatively small conference with just eight teams, the familiarity each team has with one another makes for interesting games night in and night out. While there are always many questions heading into every season, it remains to be seen if American will gel with three transfers now on the roster, or if Holy Cross can adjust to a third system in three years, or if both Lafayette and Bucknell can live up to preseason expectations. 

Kevin Doyle '11

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Remarks at Building the Brand/Ring of Fame Reception

October 2, 2010

With a spectacular early fall day atop Mt. St. James on the outside and a couple hundred of my closest Holy Cross friends on the inside, it doesn't get any better than this.  

I'm Larry Doyle, chair of the Holy Cross Gridiron Leadership Council. On behalf of all those on our council, and I believe all those in attendance today, I feel exceptionally confident in stating that this reception, today's ceremony, and every effort that has gone into launching the Building the Brand Ring of Fame is truly one of Holy Cross' finest hours. I thank everybody connected to this effort both on and off campus in making this day a reality. I want to specifically thank the Holy Cross administration and our President Fr. Michael McFarland, the Athletics  Office and the members of our council. I want to draw special attention to the man who had the vision for this day and this initiative and has worked tirelessly to bring them to fruition. I am honored to count this man as a  friend and that is Ron Maheu of the Class of 1964.  

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Joe Tutino '12 Weighs in on the Georgetown Trip

Hopefully this can become a weekly posting from Joe. I always enjoy reading his thoughts from our road trips and his humor. 

The Doormat. The Sightseeing Trip. Tom Gilmore’s Opus. There’s the Patriot League and then there’s that other team. The Georgetown University Hoyas, the only football team I’ve ever heard of going to the Sun Bowl one year and dropping the sport the next (that really happened 1950-1951), was the only school in the league who could boast a high school squad in a high school stadium but competed in NCAA athletics. Notice I wrote was. With the installation of former Holy Cross assistant coach Dave Patenaude as offensive coordinator in early 2010, and a matured squad led by head coach Kevin Kelly and utility stud Keerome Lawrence, Georgetown is no longer Howard’s ugly D.C. twin. That was quite evident Saturday in a 17-7 loss to the Hoyas in front of a capacity crowd of (gasp!) 3000+. Like the Tampa Bay Rays of Major League Baseball, the Hoyas are taking advantage of their underdog status to surprise a lot of teams with their youth, athleticism and flexibility in play calling and personnel. Georgetown proved to Holy Cross what the Spartans did to the Persians at Thermopylae: we’re here to fight.

However, let’s get one thing straight: Georgetown did not dominate the Crusaders. Nor did they outplay them. They stark reality is that the Saders, to use a cliché, beat themselves. Georgetown came into the game with a record of 2-1 after taking Yale to the wire at the Yale Bowl last weekend, with prior victories coming over Pioneer Football League member Davidson and league foe Lafayette. Opening the season on Homecoming obviously had an effect on the Hoyas, but this was our game to win from the very beginning. I will leave the particulars to Mr. Doyle, but this game came down to a lack of anything on offense and questionable play calling by the coaching staff. I may have put a little too much emphasis on the defensive back play last week (which, from my perspective, did underperform against a Harvard team that lost 29-14 to Brown), but that was most certainly not an issue this week. Coach Richard Rodgers had his platoon up for the fight, which yielded less than 200 yards to Georgetown quarterback and Tewksbury native Scott Darby (though he did rush for 98 yards). The defensive rush is still suspect, though preseason All-American Mude Ohimor provided the lone highlight with a 34 yard fumble return in the third quarter which sparked the only score of the day. Ricky Otis had a career day after sitting out the previous two road trips due to injury, nagging 16 total tackles and garnering Patriot League Defensive Player of the Week honors.

The glaring problem is the darn offense. Much maligned Quarterback Ryan Taggart continues to look nervous as a hare in the pocket. On the second offensive possession for the Purple, Taggart failed to know where the sticks were, electing to baseball slide his way to the turf a yard or two short of the first down when lowering his shoulder would have extended the drive.  More than one offensive lineman was incensed at this decision, letting Taggart know what his decision meant to them as they jogged to the sidelines. In addition to another shoddy run performance (86 yards total), the receiving corps cannot afford to drop passes on first and second down. The apparent shoulder injury to game-changing receiver Billy Edger is really limiting Taggart’s ability to throw the ball downfield right now, but he still has viable options in Freddy Santana, Luke Chmielinski and Rob Koster, not to mention budding stars Gerald Mistretta and Mike Fess. What is really puzzling is that tight end (and potential NFL prospect from what I understand) Alex Schneider (3 catches, 20 yards) is not utilized as often as he should be, especially for an offense that has chosen a more conservative approach of nickel and diming the opposition down the field.

This week’s third consecutive defeat is frustrating in that the entire game was frustrating, having scored 7 points or less for the third consecutive week. It hurts that many a possession started in what would be deemed prime field position. The offensive play calling was very suspect, especially on third and fourth down (RUN THE SNEAK PLAY, PLEASE!!!). What is especially frustrating for the team right now, however, is how this loss and the two previously are already being perceived by students and alums alike. Browsing Crossports after a long bus/plane ride home following a tough loss, I was appalled. Sure, losing three straight games brings back plenty of memories of the not-too-distant past. It’s normal to react in a negative manner, as I’m sure I did along with many of the Cross supporters in attendance in D.C. Losing downright sucks. But what sucks even more is the perception factor of so-called fans. Whoever compares this program’s ability to that of a Division III program is either disillusioned or on some kind of drug. This team is 1-3 with only one league loss and the world comes crashing down on all of us. We’ve got some clamoring for full scholarships immediately and others who would like to see the program dropped outright. If someone has a beef with the athletic department, that’s fine by many of us because there are areas that are sorely lacking and I will expound on that further (as I and many others already have). But do not give up on this team. This team is transitioning after a legendary 2009 campaign that saw three seniors briefly go on to the National Football League and, at the present, are not letting go of that dream, a season that saw the Crusaders take the FCS champs down to the waning moments of the first postseason appearance in two decades. While the same philosophy has always been in place and the playbook is generally the same as it has been in recent years, it comes down to a new group of guys leading the charge. In the words of Coach Gilmore after the trip, a sense of entitlement to this season may have been felt early on by many of the players and that mentality needs to change, simple as that. I really hope current students are not hanging their heads as low as some posters on Crossports, which may lead to a poor showing at future contests and lack of interest in the team. Perception changes a lot of things, but it will not change the resiliency and gamesmanship of this squad. The team is merely going through growing pains. Our brand of style is Holy Cross Football. A few losses are not going to change that. Beat Fordham.

Tidbits from the Georgetown Trip
  • Nice to see many alumni/ae at the game, including recent graduates Mike Wright, Aaron Jones, Jack Leatherman and Wayne Nesbit. A strong showing by many parents from the Mid-Atlantic Region, as well as current students in the Washington Semester Program. These loyal fans took up about three-fourths of the away side stands, tailgating in force on the heights near the old football “stadium.” A Jones sends word that he has recently started a new job, but is hanging onto hopes of playing in the NFL again real soon, employing the efforts of a current coach to try and procure a new agent.
  • Georgetown has improved their facilities in recent years, but full improvements on the Multi-Purpose Field are still not complete. The “stadium,” which really resembles a poor man’s Hawk Bowl (for Xavarian Brothers (MA)/Catholic Conference fans), seats over 3000, but end zone seating and restroom facilities could be solid additions, not to mention that fellow manager Kevin Callahan had to film from a Georgetown player’s dorm room adjacent to the field. The visiting locker rooms were better suited to house a basketball team rather than an FCS football team, but then again this was a Georgetown program that considered dropping football again very recently.
  • Homecoming activities at Georgetown meant lots of activity, but I was unable and unwilling to buy tickets to the Mr. Georgetown pageant for Friday night. The quad area on the upper campus was abuzz with activity on Friday afternoon and Saturday afternoon was an adventure unto itself, especially for our bus drivers who had to dodge many an inebriated Hoya Superfan. The Georgetown manager (a grad student studying Sports Management who held the title of football manager for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish while an undergrad) who I filmed with from an extremely hazardous precipice (the lift we filmed on broke down in the second half) told me that this was by far the biggest crowd Georgetown has seen in a very, very long time. Probably since that Sun Bowl game back in 1950.
  • If my memory isn’t hazy (which I did slam my head on the bus more than once), former Northeastern head coach and Minot State legend Rocky Hager was dressed to the nines  while viewing the game from the air-conditioned (Holy Cross officials, take notice)press box. Not a clue as to why he was in attendance, but I’m sure watching Tom Gilmore ply his trade here as a spectator  rather than as an opposing coach on a flooded Parsons Field seemed much better.
  • This was the first overnight trip of the season and, boy, was it a treat. Not only did we get a plane trip out of it (with complementary snack and drink no less), the Key Bridge Marriot in Arlington, Virginia right across the Potomac from Georgetown was, in my opinion, a five-star affair. On par with the Fordham trip last year, the lasagna and ice cream bar that followed (standard fare on road trips) was extremely tasty. Breakfast featured at least ten different types of beverage, not to mention freshly-squeezed orange juice. The three guy managers shared a third floor room with the most comfortable beds I think we ever slept on. Of course, I took advantage of the customary free pen and paper in the room, adding to my ever expanding collection of hotel pen and paper, but, sadly, the shampoo and mouthwash was better left in the room to avoid trouble at the airport. Top it all off with a return plane trip at night with a cloudless sky and (besides the loss) you have a very enjoyable trip.
  • Road trips also mean plenty of free time for managers and other non-football staff who made the trip. While most trips include a movie back at the room (who can forget The Bee Movie last year at Bucknell?) or maybe a trip to a nearby convenience store for a two-foot sandwich (a la Villanova), this trip included some sightseeing, baseball and some friends studying in the area. Our flight was originally delayed for an hour in Providence on Friday, so a 2 hour trip to the National Mall turned into the under 1 hour adventure. Some daring players made the sprint from the Natural History Museum to the Lincoln Memorial in 95 degree heat while some staff opted for the air conditioned bus and Italian Ice (no names will be provided). Some of us managers chose to take the Metro (confusing at first, but easy to learn) to take in the Nationals-Braves game at the new Nationals Stadium. Having gotten past a few scalpers, we were able to get free tickets and finagle our way a couple rows from the Braves dugout on a picture perfect Friday night. The Nationals ended up with the win, led by two home runs from Adam Dunn and a rare true inside-the-park home run from former Red Sox legend Willie Harris.
  • Good to see Tom “Big Red” Kelleher back in the booth for the first time this season. Providing color commentary alongside the ageless Bob Fouracre, Big Red began his first of four broadcasts, with Gordie Lockbaum doing the last game this season (having done the previous three) and Charles Bare filling in for three more games this season. Kelleher is enjoying retirement in Miami, but still enjoys his time in the booth when he gets the opportunity.
  • While we waited out the delay to board in Providence to get to BWI, two birds were flying around the players and staff in the waiting area. I took the opportunity to toss a few pieces of my sausage, egg and cheese for them to eat. Of course, you can’t give one some food without feeding the other, so both got their piece. However, one bird took the weight room slogan “only the strong survive” to aviary heights by barging in on the other bird and taking his piece of the croissant. I know that other bird must’ve felt as I did in that Harvard press box.
  • Some commented on Crossports last week about the JV game. The Holy Cross JVs defeated a talented Bridgton Academy team on Sunday afternoon up at the Hart Turf, 29-6. A very large contingent witnessed the game as parents from both schools packed the stands and surrounding area. Some performances that stood out were those of freshman quarterback Max Librizzi and his classmate, running back Reggie Woods. Librizzi looked impressive in the pocket, using his legs to get himself out of trouble on more than one occasion and tossing for one touchdown. Woods, with the help of a stout offensive line, tore up the Bridgton defense by hitting the hole with a fearless approach. The only negative from this game was the lack of discipline shown by the young Crusaders, judging from the amount of flags for false starts and personal fouls after the play. This victory brings their record to 2-1 on the season with one more contest remaining, an October 10th tilt at Brown.
  • Only pet peeve of the trip: The captain of our AirTran return flight from BWI into Logan remarked to someone ahead of me in line, “Isn’t Holy Cross a school in South Bend, Indiana?” Thanks a lot, Rudy.
  • Don’t forget: This week is Homecoming vs. Fordham with the Ring of Fame ceremony to take place at Fitton. Having lost an NFL-caliber quarterback in John Skelton and losing to Division II Assumption College with scholarships last week, Fordham will have something to prove against a team that handed them a demoralizing loss last season. I really hope the Athletic Department hypes this game as much as Georgetown did their Homecoming. Looking forward to a very entertaining backyard brawl with both the Johnny Turco Memorial Trophy and the Ram-Crusader Cup on the line. Go Cross!