October 2, 2012

SPRINT | C.U. Prepares for Battle Against Black Knights

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The sprint football team has won as many games in 2012 as it won in all of 2011— defeating Penn, Franklin Pierce and Princeton in the month of September. One reason for the Red’s most recent success is an increase in the players’ game-day experience.

“We started quite a few freshman last year,” said coach Bart Guccia, explaining that the team suffered in “key situations.”

A second reason for Cornell’s success lies in something much harder to explain — luck.

“We’ve been pretty fortunate actually. [We’re] getting a lot of breaks,” said coach Terry Cullen.

Cullen —who has coached sprint football since he was a graduate student at Cornell — has spent the last few seasons fulfilling more of a manager role, while Guccia takes charge of on-field coaching.

The Red has won each game this season by a small margin, with only one touchdown a game separating an imperfect record in 2011 from a perfect one in 2012. The Red’s biggest test so far, and perhaps of the season, will be on Friday when the team hits the road to take on Army, who has been averaging 53 points a game. Understanding how the Black Knights play, Guccia has a game plan for how to prepare for the contest.

“We have to watch a lot of tape,” he explained.

“[Army does something] very similar to what Oregon does,” Guccia said, describing Army’s “no-huddle” offense, as well as the team’s knack for executing what the coach called “more wide receiver screens than [he has] seen in a while.”

Despite boasting a threatening resume, Cornell has remained competitive against Army in past meetings.

“Last year … we were up 10-0 on them,” Guccia said.

However, the Red was unable to fend the Black Knights off for the rest of the game, finishing 41-16. Junior punter/kicker John Rodriguez scored a 29-yard field goal as junior Brendan Miller and senior Spenser Gruenenfelder completed a 37-yard touchdown to give the Red the 10-point lead late in the first quarter.

Army responded by scoring three consecutive touchdowns early in the third quarter, but Cornell was able to stage a brief comeback. Miller found Tim Bruhn ’12 for a 23-yard touchdown, bringing the Red within five points; however, Army staved off any further comeback attempts — recording three more touchdowns for the win.

Original Author: Skyler Dale