The 2005 sprint football team begins its season at home tonight against Penn at 7 p.m. on Schoellkopf Field. The first two contests of the year – the second will be against Navy one week from today – do not count in league standings, but they give head coach Terry Cullen an opportunity to test some of his newer players in game situations. Leagues rules stipulate that teams are only allowed 15 practices before the first game, which according to Cullen, leaves a coach with many questions unanswered.
“We’ll definitely be trying out new things in this first game to see how our players react,” said Cullen, who is entering his 41st year with the sprint football team. “We need to develop our young offensive line and try people out at different positions to improve our depth.”
Cullen is determined to lead his squad in the 2005 campaign to its first league championship since 1986. This season will ride on the health and performance of quarterback and senior captain Alec Macaulay. Macaulay had a troublesome ’04 season, as he suffered several ailments and injuries throughout.
“Macaulay is the man, our leader,” Cullen said. “We will only go as far as he takes us this year. But another determining factor in his performance is the play of our offensive line, which returns only one starter from last year.”
Some new faces on the offensive line that fans will get used to seeing are junior left tackle Andrew Plaisted, who is new to the team; senior left guard Daniel Bjornstrom, who has started in the past; sophomore center Ben Abramoff, who backed up last year; and junior right guard David Frumberg who lettered last year and recently emerged as the starter. The only returning starter from last year’s team is junior Robert Kurucza at right tackle.
The unit suffered a devastating injury to senior Mike Singer, who separated his shoulder in the red/white scrimmage, and was slated to start on the offensive line.
“We’ll certainly find out a lot about our offensive line in the first game or two,” Cullen said. “I believe it is the toughest position to play in this game because the defensive linemen are about the same size as you and they are so fast and quick. A lot of guys are also learning new positions and playing this game for the first time, so it will be very interesting to see how we adjust.”
While quarterback play and offensive line protection are keys to a successful run for the Red this year, the clear strengths of this team entering the first game are the skill-position players on offense, and the continuity of a strong defensive unit.
Offensively, Macaulay’s weapons include junior tailback Mike Fullowan, who Cullen described as the “go-to guy on offense for us,” as well as All-League wideout, senior Jon Amoona, who surprised the league last year with his deadly speed and game-breaking abilities. Eli Northrup, a junior receiver, is out for the year with a knee injury, which puts more pressure on Amoona to carry the receiving load and may allow teams to double him.
Cullen, though, believes the real strength of the team is on the defensive side of the ball.
“Defensively, we are very strong,” he said. “We’ve looked good in practice and we are returning a veteran unit of real solid players. I’ll be relying on guys like [junior Matt] Collin, [senior captain Amos] Smith, [junior Trevor] Schwartz, senior Stephen Baron, [junior Gordon] McLaughlin, and [senior Josh] Van Buskirk, who are all returning upperclassmen.”
The Red defense hopes to shut down a very strong and capable Quaker offensive unit this evening. The focus will be stopping the junior quarterback Mike Loguidice. In 2004, Loguidice had played well in both contests against Cornell, with each team winning on its home field. In the first game, Loguidice went 15-for-23 for 251 yards and a touchdown, setting the second highest passing total in team history. Loguidice came back in the second contest, a Red victory, and threw for 250 yards again on 19-for-23 passing with two touchdowns.
“They have a very capable quarterback who certainly scares me,” Cullen said. “The first game will be a good test for us to see how we match up. This league will be very tight all season, so the adjustments we make from week to week will be crucial.”
Archived article by Josh Fox
Sun Staff Writer