Monday, August 30, 2010

Offensive Line

Sorry for there being such a time gap between the preview articles. With moving into my house, located right across the street from the field house at Holy Cross, getting settled, and seeing friends, I have been very busy and preoccupied lately. Fortunately, when classes begin this Wednesday, I will get into a a good routine. With that being said, here is the offensive line preview.

There is an old adage in football that games are "won and lost in the trenches." Anybody who follows Holy Cross football closely is aware of the impressive skilled players who receive virtually all of the credit for the successes of the team. The offensive line, on the contrary, are often referred to as "the big uglies." Can a football game be won without a successful offensive line? A receiver may be able to get away with taking a play off, but an offensive lineman, not so much. Although graduation hit the offensive line hard, the depth at all the positions on the line should make for a seamless transition. Mike McCabe and Mike Bernazzani are back, but Aaron Jones, Chris Smith, and Chris Poole are all gone.

With the season opener against Howard just days away, Coach Gilmore has posted the two-deep on the football page of The left side of the line will remain the same as McCabe stays at left tackle, and Bernazzani at left guard. From center over to right tackle, however, will be entirely different. Sean Whited (center), Scott Wise (right guard), and Kyle Pedretty (right tackle) will look to protect recently named starting quarterback Ryan Taggart throughout the year.

It is hard for me to provide any substantial analysis to the big guys up front simply because I do not know much about their techniques, tendencies, and the strategies that offensive line coach Jeremy Bandy implements. What I do know, however, is that the overall quickness of the line will be excellent. While the Crusaders may have had the biggest offensive line last year in the program's history, they will be smaller from a size perspective, but very agile. By all accounts, Holy Cross will be running the ball more often this year, and having an offensive line that can move, pull successfully, and provide solid blocks to Eddie Houghton, Matt Bellomo, and Sam Auffant (Auffant is now listed as the starting back according to the depth chart).

Kevin Doyle '11

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Sports Network Patriot League Preview

The Sports Network recently released their Season Preview of the upcoming Patriot League Football season. Hat tip to Big Green Alert for bringing this to our attention. Lots of great details to get the juices flowing for the Crusaders' defense of their PLC. Speaking of defense, how interesting that in three different pre-season prognostications, three different HC defenders are projected as Defensive Player of the Year. Who might they be? Sean Lamkin, Mude Ohimor, and Anthony Dimichele.

Kevin Doyle '11 
FCS Season Preview: Patriot League

Greg Sullivan is coming off a season in which he totaled 2,740 yards.
Bethlehem, PA (Sports Network) - Colgate's free-spirited offensive lineman can be more "The Gong Show" than "Dancing with the Stars."

Bucknell's New President's Views on Athletics and Football

Anybody in business knows you need leadership from the top of the organization to create real long term success.

While academia is not exactly private enterprise, don't tell me it is not a business. On that note, I found an article at Lehigh Football Nation from last spring to be very interesting. This post, Spring Season Wrapup: Bucknell, highlights Bucknell's incoming President John Bravman's views on athletics in general and football specifically. Embedded in this commentary is additional color on the situation at Stanford. Juxtapose these views against the messages or lack thereof coming out of Worcester.

"John Bravman is a highly accomplished teacher, scholar, strategist, and passionate advocate for the liberal arts who is also a person of great character," said Board Chair Kenneth W. Freeman. "He has led many aspects of Stanford's renowned undergraduate programs and is very well prepared to guide Bucknell as it continues moving forward as one of America's finest liberal arts universities. We look forward to John's leadership, and welcome him to the University with the greatest enthusiasm."

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Bob Jauron on Holy Cross Football

The name Jauron is synonymous with football in New England. While Dick Jauron had an outstanding career  at Swampscott High and Yale and a solid career in the NFL as player and coach, the apple did not fall far from the tree. Dick Jauron recently lost his Dad, Robert Jauron. Anybody with a love for football and character will appreciate his obituary, Robert Jauron; Coach Career Spanned Decades and Teams. Jauron stood up for social justice and many more virtues.

Robert Jauron coached for a short stint at HC in the late '60s. His time on Mt. St. James may have been brief, but he left his mark. His obituary included this reference to his days at Holy Cross,

Wide Receivers / Tight Ends

The wide receivers and tight ends, positions that the Crusader faithful seem to take for granted at times, are an efficient and persistent unit that are recipients of much of Holy Cross' offense success over recent years. While Dominic Randolph will always overshadow many offensive players from 2006-2009, there have been more than a handful of receivers during this time that have put up huge numbers.

The following former and current Crusader wideouts highlight this success: Thomas Harrison (130 rec, 1,720 yards, 12 td's) Ryan Maher (146 rec, 1,724 yards, 16 td's), Brett McDermott (138 rec, 1,736 yards, 14 td's), Jon Brock (129 rec, 1,721 yards, 18 td's), Ryan McGuire (42 rec, 456 yards, 5 td's), Bill Edger (73 rec, 1,163 yards, 9 td's), Luke Chmielinski (87 rec, 1,065 yards, 5 td's) (pictured right), Freddie Santana (73 rec, 911 yards, 11 td's), Alex Schneider (33 rec, 275 yards, 6 td's), and even out of the backfield Terrance Gass  and Matt Bellomo have been great threats in the passing attack; the numbers speak for themselves. The preceding names have garnered a combined five All-Patriot League first team selections, and six second team selections. But, more importantly, Holy Cross football went a combined 30-15 in this four year span. Any one of these talented receivers would tell you that the win and loss record is far more important than individual statistics. The current receiving corps has the same mentality.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Checking In with Bob Hurley '79

Where are they now? Where are some of the members of the Purple Pride who graced Fitton Field over the years? How did they get to Worcester in the first place? What are some of the special Holy Cross Football memories they carry with them? What would they say to the current contingent of Crusaders? Answers to these questions and more will be found as we "check in" with former HC gridders.

Today let's "check in" with Bob Hurley '79.

1. What attracted you to Holy Cross in the first place?
Coming from Nashua, NH (Buzz Harvey etc.), and a Catholic High School (Bishop Guertin), there was a very strong connection with Holy Cross.  I was recruited by a lot of schools, but the visit made my decision.  I loved the "feel" of the campus; there was a very down to earth atmosphere amongst the guys, I felt almost immediately accepted...from meeting Jack Scott, Jackie Mo, big time players etc.... 
2. Most memorable moment in your Holy Cross Football career?
Of course the BC game at Fitton in 1977 my junior year.  The Las Vegas line had us -27 points.  We were 1-9 having just beat Connecticut in a game where like the rest of the season we should have scored 30+, but only managed 14.  We actually pounded BC with either just under or just over 300 yards rushing, and like 28 first downs.  Peter Colombo was possessed, he called the whole game and ran BC ragged.  We had a 12 play 80+ yard drive following their opening 2 play drive TD.  We went into the half up 21-20 feeling confident, but this was BC (they had beaten Texas and some other great teams)......  We had some spectacular turnovers which our defense and special teams forced; this time the offense capitalized each time for scores.  
In terms of the "moment", I have two: (1)  4th and goal from the 2, Stevie Hunt scores behind me where I got a nice "push" against Freddie Smerlas....Stevie and I are laughing or crying I can't remember which, on the ground IN the end zone.  (2) Our defense slapped down BC's last offensive play with about 28 seconds left, the memory I have is the offense all holding hands after running one kneel down and watching the clock and the score:  HC 35 BC 20.  We did it!
"A few more" please:  it has to be beating BC again in '78, beating Air Force (coached by Bill Parcells) on Falcon Fever Day, and going 7-4 for the season.....

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Running Backs

In the previous post regarding the prospects for the quarterbacks in 2010, I stated that all college football teams experience growing pains from year to year. While this is true, the running back portion of the team had no attrition and figures to be a very strong part of this year's team. The Crusaders, which have not been a running team since the days of Steve Silva and Gideon Akande, will have perhaps the best one-two punch for running backs in the Patriot League. (Colgate may have the best running game with Nate Eachus and Greg Sullivan, but Sullivan is their quarterback. For the sake of this argument, I am merely highlighting the running backs.) With Dominic Randolph running the show and slinging the ball across all parts of the field for the past four seasons, Crusader running backs were often overshadowed; this certainly was not for their lack of talent, however. Matt Bellomo and Eddie Houghton (pictured below) have the potential to be not just an integral part of the offense this season, but the focal point of it.

The offense was centered around Dominic Randolph last year, and why wouldn't it have? When Bellomo and Houghton did have their number called, they performed exceptionally -- especially the young Houghton. And although Bellomo was just a sophomore in 2009, he played like an upperclassman as he was forced into a significant amount of playing time as a freshman in 2008. In an article released by the MetroWest Daily News earlier this month, Bellomo explained the role he and the other running backs will play this year: 

"I will definitely play a bigger role this year. The running backs will play a bigger role. Obviously, we lost Dom and we will have to play more of a role on offense." 

One wouldn't know it by the numbers, but the play of the Crusaders' two top running backs last year was a much needed relief for Randolph when he wasn't running or passing the ball himself. 

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Dominic Randolph Receives Another Shot at Dream

Who would have thought that the New York Giants would be depending on two FCS quarterbacks for their preseason game this Saturday against the Pittsburgh Steelers? Sam Houston State's Rhett Bomar will start for the G-Men on Saturday night, and Holy Cross' own Dominic Randolph should relieve Bomar later in the game. Two of the FCS best quarterbacks in recent memory will be hurling the pigskin around the New Meadowlands Stadium, something I am sure many of the Giants faithful never expected to see.

Due to Eli Manning's injury to his head that he suffered against the New York Jets, and Jim Sorgi's ailing shoulder which he will have an MRI on later in the week, Randolph has been called back to the Giants after being released by them during rookie mini camp. While Randolph's stay with the Giants will most likely be determined by the health of Sorgi's shoulder, he will have an opportunity to show his many talents that he displayed during his four years at Holy Cross in front of Giant coaches, the team, and fans. 

If you watched the Giants vs. Jets preseason game on Monday night, you will undoubtedly recall former UMASS standout Victor Cruz's impressive three touchdown performance; Cruz may have earned a spot on the roster with his play.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Growing pains. Every college sports team, regardless of the sport, experiences these at the beginning of every new season. For a college football team, the loss of around 25 players and the need to replace many of the year's previous starters is a tall task. The depth chart is in constant flux during spring practice and throughout summer camp in August as current players jockey for a starting job. While some players can seamlessly be replaced (as a potential incoming starter possesses the same, or better, capabilities, skills, and talent as the former player), other graduates simply cannot be replaced. Dominic Randolph (pictured below) is not a football player that can be replaced. I could go on and on about his gaudy statistics and numerous individual awards, but you already know them all. The reassuring part of the quarterback job in 2010 for either Ryan Taggart, Kevin Watson, or Mark Tolzien (incoming freshman Max Librizzi from Junction River, VT may factor into the equation, but it is hard to see a freshman stepping into such a role so soon. Also of note is that Joe Barber, a freshman walk-on from Rye Country Day School in Rye, NY will join the ranks at QB), is that coach Tom Gilmore is certainly not expecting his future quarterback to replicate Dom Randolph. Emulate? He can do his best. Replicate? No way.

There may be some instances at Fitton Field this fall where fans of the Crusaders may say to themselves, "Dom woulda made that throw." Or, "Number 9 coulda eluded that linebacker." Or, "Randolph would have recognized that blitz coming." 41 total touchdowns, 4,256 total yards, and a Patriot League Championship cannot be duplicated. Well, the two large numbers won't be. But another Patriot League Championship? Well, that absolutely can be achieved. Many of the so-called Patriot League football experts and others in the blogosphere have claimed that upon the graduation of Holy Cross' one-trick pony in Dominic Randolph, the Crusaders' days as Patriot League King will soon end. Sure, the most important piece to the Holy Cross football puzzle has left, but there are about 100 other pieces that have something to prove. Now, we look at the contenders who will vie for the job under center (actually, more like 5 yards standing behind center for the Holy Cross offense).

Monday, August 16, 2010

Previewing the 2010 Team

While the posts previewing the opponents on this year's schedule will certainly continue, it would be remiss of me if I did not look at our own team during the preseason. In the coming days and weeks, I will break down the nine aspects of the Holy Cross football team:

1)     Quarterbacks
2)     Running Backs
3)     Wide Receivers
4)     Offensive Line
5)     Defensive Line
6)     Linebackers
7)     Defensive Secondary
8)     Special Teams (Punters, Place Kickers, Returners)
9)     Coaching Staff

We will begin analyzing the positions with certainly the most important position for a football, and arguably the most important position in all of sports: Quarterback. Along with previewing each position for the 2010 campaign, keep an eye out for the previews of the opponents as well that will appear sporadically in between the positional previews. Up next is our Week 4 opponent: Georgetown University Hoyas.

KD '11

Friday, August 13, 2010

Harvard University Crimson

There is little doubt that Harvard is the most highly anticipated out of conference game on the schedule every year. While some may say UMASS is a bigger opponent this year, no other team has such a rich history and storied rivalry on the out of conference slate than HC and Harvard. From past and current players, alumni of the college, friends of the football program, all the way up to head coach Tom Gilmore, everyone always wants to beat Harvard. I am not sure the exact reason for this. It may be how close the two schools are as they are separated by just about 40 miles. It could be the feeling by some that Harvard football players perceives themselves as innately better than their opponents as they don a large "H" on the front of their chests. Or, maybe it is the storied rivalry that the Crusaders and Crimson have with one another. But, in my opinion, it starts at the top and trickles down to the rest of the Holy Cross football family. Coach Gilmore gives the impression of wanting to defeat Harvard more than any other opponent on the schedule.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Public Petition for Restoration of Holy Cross Football Scholarships

Chu Chu Rah Rah received a message from a devoted Holy Cross alum, Dr. Joe Ciccone, MD, '97. With his permission, we are running it as a means of public petition for those who would like to endorse Joe's call to restore football scholarships at Holy Cross. Please attach your real name and any message you might like to share via the Comments box at the end of Joe's message. (Please know that all e-mail addresses are fully protected!!)

The petition will ultimately be delivered to the Holy Cross administration and Board of Trustees. Thank you Joe for your passion and your eloquence!!

Chu Chu Rah Rah!! 

To:  Members of the Holy Cross Football Community

From: Joe Ciccone, MD, ‘97
Re: Restoration of Football Scholarships

Date: August 11, 2010

Successes in life are relative, and football is no different.  For some, it means being All-League or All-American.  For people like me, simply having had the chance to play on Fitton Field is one of the defining moments of my life. What unifies all of these experiences, whether grand or mediocre, is indefinable, but has something to do with what it means to “wear the purple.”  It has to do with the type of men the program attracts, the life-long friendships that are forged, and the memories that are as vivid today as they were back then. 

For alumni, the strength of that experience drives us to want to see it succeed at the highest possible level.  This does not mean joining the Big East or ACC, but rather the ability to give the Holy Cross Football community the chance to dream once again.  Practically speaking this may mean being able to restore the BC rivalry, playing Army or Navy regularly, or finding a way to fill the seats behind the far endzone during home games.  Most agree that the program is already competitive at that level, but simply lacking in the recognition that goes along with being branded as a “scholarship program.”  Anyone who saw last year’s team knows that the players are already scholarship quality.   

Fitton Field remains a fantastic venue to watch fabulous student-athletes pouring their hearts and souls out for our Alma Mater. The young men that I saw gut it out against Lafayette last year to win the league championship deserved a packed house.  The teams of the future deserve a chance to play in a conference with enough respect that at an at-large bid to the FCS playoffs is possible without having to win the league outright.  If they do win the league, they deserve to be in a conference with enough respect that they are not immediately a 16 seed.  It is my contention that HC should have played Villanova in the championship game last year not in the first round. It is the college’s duty to give the program a chance to prove that it is possible to be competitive athletically, even on a large scale, while still holding true to the highest of academic and Jesuit ideals.   

The counter-argument to scholarships that many people make revolves around a theory that athletic talent and academic ability are somehow inversely related.  Not only is this a fallacy, but it is insulting to those that know firsthand that it is possible. The Holy Cross Gridiron Leadership Council chaired by Larry Doyle has helped sparked a renewed alumni enthusiasm in the program, and created an invaluable resource in the "90-Wide"Mentoring program.  Rest assured, the Board can rely on the alumni, especially those involved in the mentoring program, to make sure that young men of the same character continue to come to the college year after year after the reinstitution of scholarships.  They can also have confidence that we will support the players from day one, providing the guidance they need when times get tough, not only during their time on the hill, but also as they prepare to enter the professional world.  

How then can Holy Cross achieve even greater levels of success both on and off the gridiron? Now is the time for the Holy Cross administration and the Board of Trustees to ‘dare to be great.’ Jesuit principles are not restricted to service to others but also incorporate the pursuit of excellence in all aspects of our lives. While Holy Cross Football specifically and Holy Cross Athletics in general have fabulous and rich traditions, we can not deny that there have been periods of real mediocrity. Although the issue of football scholarships for many may be purely a question of athletics and finances, I believe it goes much deeper than that. I sincerely believe Holy Cross Football can and should be viewed as a means to developing and strengthening the Holy Cross brand on a national level. How valuable is a dramatically enhanced brand to the college? That brand can and should embrace the Jesuit principles wrapped in a spirit of true competitiveness, real honor, and dynamic courage. Will the administration and board be courageous, pursue this brand, and strive for greatness? I strongly encourage them to take up the challenge and embrace the opportunity.         

After 20 years, I think Holy Cross Football stands once again at the crossroads. The program is strong. The coach is world classPride is high. I urge the Board of Trustees and administration to look closely at what happened the last time it stood at these crossroads, and be brave and bold in taking a different path this time.  Holy Cross Football does have a history and tradition unlike any other, and it deserves to be a shining example of all that is possible in collegiate athletics.

I urge the Board to have faith in this tradition, and the courage to allow it to serve as the framework for success on the next level.  If any program can rise to the occasion, it is Holy Cross Football.

Let's win!!!

Joe Ciccone, MD, ‘97

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Checking In with Dan Adams '07

Where are they now? Where are some of the members of the Purple Pride who graced Fitton Field over the years? How did they get to Worcester in the first place? What are some of the special Holy Cross Football memories they carry with them? What would they say to the current contingent of Crusaders? Answers to these questions and more will be found as we "check in" with former HC gridders. 

Today let's check in with Dan Adams '07, 

Monday, August 9, 2010

Holy Cross Recruiting Guide

For those looking for the hard copy of the annual Holy Cross Football Media Guide, stop looking. Given the move to electronic delivery of almost every production, Holy Cross joins many other colleges in going online with this effort. Interesting that the production is designated a Recruiting Guide as opposed to a Media Guide, but what do I know. In any event, it looks to be a nice 21-page electronic delivery. Enjoy!!
Anthony DiMichele
Tri-Captain, Anthony Dimichele '11

2010 Holy Cross Football Recruiting Guide

Sunday, August 8, 2010

University of Massachusetts Minutemen

When the football schedule was released back in 2007, I was delighted to see UMASS back on the slate. Sure, playing the New England Ivy League Schools in Harvard, Dartmouth, Yale and Brown is nice as there are plenty of natural ties and all schools are “like-minded institutions,” but not playing other FCS schools throughout New England always irked me. I always thought that two schools in particular—the University of New Hampshire and the University of Massachusetts—should be on the schedule on close to an annual basis. Holy Cross has more of an extensive history with the Minutemen than the Wildcats (HC has only played UNH 11 times, and not since 1984), so renewing the rivalry with UMASS is probably a game that more alumni are excited about. In the future, however, I hope UNH finds its way onto our schedule.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Are Scholarships Coming to the Patriot League?

The Sports Network covered the Patriot League's football media day earlier this week. While the upcoming season and pre-season awards always generate a lot of excitement, the major question on every PL fan's mind is whether the league will move to scholarship status for football. TSN provides a fabulous review, in writing, Decision on Scholarships Is Patriot League's Biggest Issue,

By Craig Haley, FCS Executive Director

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Checking In with Chuck Doyle '86

Where are they now? Where are some of the members of the Purple Pride who graced Fitton Field over the years? How did they get to Worcester in the first place? What are some of the special Holy Cross Football memories they carry with them? What would they say to the current contingent of Crusaders? Answers to these questions and more will be found as we "check in" with former HC gridders.

Today let's "check in" with Chuck Doyle '86....

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Checking In with Craig Cerretani '79

Where are they now? Where are some of the members of the Purple Pride who graced Fitton Field over the years? How did they get to Worcester in the first place? What are some of the special Holy Cross Football memories they carry with them? What would they say to the current contingent of Crusaders? Answers to these questions and more will be found as we "check in" with former HC gridders.

Today let's check in with Craig Cerretani '79.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Howard University Bison

At the conclusion of every Spring Practice (dating all the way back to the chilly nights in March) and the subsequent practices that will occur in Summer Camp in less than a week’s time, there is a resounding shout to the tune of “Beat Howard!” that comes from the new turf field behind the Hart Center. Ever since the conclusion of the 1st Round FCS Playoff game against the Villanova Wildcats, a game that saw the Crusaders lose to the eventual national champions 38-28, the men in purple have been competing against and hitting only each other. 

With the class of 2010 seniors graduating (one of the most successful classes in recent memory), healthy competition for positions has pushed the team to new heights. Rest assured, once September 4th rolls around, the season opener against Howard will feature a fiercer competition compared to the healthy one exhibited in camp. Being able to hit a different color jersey for the first time in over nine months always brings about a renewed sense of invigoration and energy. Now, let’s find out just what we can expect from the Howard University Bison.