Come one, come all. But preferably all.
The sprint football team kicks off its season tonight at 7:00 at Schoellkopf Field against Pennsylvania. The Red will be sporting a younger look than in years past as much of the offense and defensive secondary have new starters. But it’s a confident team that plays its first game of the season since a 14-3 victory over Princeton last November.
“All in all, we’re a solid team,” head coach Terry Cullen praised. “We will be better offensively.”
The team had a certain amount of difficulty in putting points on the board last season as it was outscored 51-115, and mustered only 120 yards per game while giving up over 300.
The remedy comes in a 5-8 junior otherwise known as Charlie Tam. Tam provided a number of highlights as a tailback last season and now takes the helm as quarterback. Cullen hopes to use his speed to create more of an option quarterback than then-senior Andrew Goodman ’01 was last season. Tam will have a number of experienced receivers to throw to, including senior tri-captain Sunil Gupta. The backfield returns senior Brian Allen, a fourth year fullback, and junior Guillermo Younger.
The defense has huge shoes to fill as last year’s squad was one of the greatest in league history. Gone is all-league middle linebacker Jon Krautmann. Gone is number one cornerback, Bo Sangosanya. Gone is emotional leader Imad Baggar.
But plenty of talent, not to mention leadership, returns. All four starters on the defensive line are back, including senior tri-captain Martin Vogel. The linebackers are young, “but they’ve been there all along,” Cullen noted.
Sophomore Adam Romeiser and senior tri-captain Angelo Palmieri lead the defensive secondary — one which recorded an incredible 12 interceptions and 17 forced-fumbles last season.
But the burden lies on the offense, which has yet to score against Penn in their last four meetings. If there is a weakness in this team, it will be at the linebacker position, where the Quakers must replace two graduated starters.
Look for Tam to establish a short passing game, and Allen a strong running game, in the opening few drives. It will be important for the Red to score early on in order to steal the momentum from a team that is looking forward to a second straight league championship.
Archived article by Sumeet Sarin