Wednesday, August 24, 2016

And So It Begins



Spotted this graphic out of the Dartmouth football office and thought it appropriate to re-post because today is a day to be great: The first day of practice.

BGA Premium will be there and have the story tonight – along with the third in a series of opponent previews, this one of Cornell.

A reminder that the email notification list for BGA Premium is still being compiled. If you signed up to have alerts sent along, please CLICK HERE and it will address an email to me with the subject Email Alerts. Then just type in the addresses that should receive notifications each time a story has been posted.
The official Dartmouth football roster page has been updated with heights, weights and numbers. Things get interesting right at the top with freshman receiver Hunter Hagdorn inheriting Victor Williams No. 1 and Danny McManus taking over the family franchise and becoming the third brother to wear No. 2.

A full 10 players are now listed at 300 or more pounds with two others at 295 and three more at 290. The lowest weight on the roster is 160.

Thee are three players listed at 6-foot-7, two at 6-6 and seven at 6-5. The smallest player is 5-6.

The top three positions for number of players:
Offensive Line - 21
Linebacker - 19
Wide Receiver - 17
The MVP robotic tackling dummy has made an appearance at the San Francisco 49ers camp. (LINK)
Dartmouth coach Buddy Teevens gets a mention in a story about three prep schools in Northern New Jersey holding a non-tackling scrimmage. (LINK)
Not many of you have been in the old press box at the University of New Hampshire's football stadium, but if you have, you will thoroughly enjoy THIS STORY. It really did look like – and was built like – a bunker. What I'll always remember is having to hold onto railings while climbing up a set of concrete steps that leaned a touch back as you got higher. Quite the place. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Gearing Up


Football's Freshman Family dinner was held in town last night and whispers about the impressive size of many of the incoming players are absolutely true. Some seriously big fellows will be on the field tomorrow for their first official college practice, and BGA Premium will have the story.

Opponent previews began last night with a look at the 2016 Brown team and the series continues tonight with a detailed overview of Columbia. In addition to a story about the opening of practice, tomorrow's BGA will include a preseason look at Cornell. Daily opponent previews will be paired up with practice coverage until stories about all 10 teams Dartmouth plays this fall have been posted.

A reminder that everyone who takes out the BGA Premium family option is eligible for email notification to three addresses immediately after each story has been posted. The notification isn't hte story, but rather a heads-up that a story is now online.

Two things:

1) Please make sure the folks at the addresses you send along actually want to get 10 or so emails a week alerting them that a story is up. You'd be surprised how many people who I'm asked to add to the alert list get back to me and very nicely ask me to stop sending them along. Either way, they'll have access to the stories.

2)  I've been receiving handwritten notes with email addresses and unfortunately e's tend to look like i's, and r's and m's look like n's. You get the idea. I always get a bunch of bounce-backs on the handwritten addresses I try to figure out. To that end, if you signed up to have alerts sent along, please CLICK HERE and it will address an email to me with the subject Email Alerts. Then just type in the addresses that should receive notifications each time a story has been posted. I'll compile my list and start sending out alerts within a few days.
Click photo to enlarge
Passing through Durham, N.H. on Sunday afternoon I snapped a picture of the University of New Hampshire's new football stadium. Kudos to the state university because by all appearances the folks across the state did it right.

The new UNH stadium will have a "soft opening" Thursday when the Wildcats wrap up their preseason. That's right. Dartmouth opens camp tomorrow and the Big Green's season-opening opponent finishes camp the next day. UNH then begins game-week preparation for its opener on Saturday, Sept. 3 at 8:30 p.m. Eastern on the road at FBS opponent San Diego State.

Like a lot of FCS schools, UNH regularly schedules up one game a year. Over a five-game span not that long ago New Hampshire was a serious giant killer. Between 2004 and 2009 the Wildcats posted victories over Northwestern, Rutgers, Army, Ball State and Marshall. They've since come back to the pack, and dropped a 43-13 decision at San Jose State.

New Hampshire, by the way, still hasn't settled on a starting quarterback. At least not publicly. Find a story about how practice is going for Dartmouth's first opponent HERE.

Dartmouth and UNH will square off on Memorial Field on Sept. 17 at 7 p.m. 

Monday, August 22, 2016

Ratings Ranting

It's that time of year again when the venerable Sagarin Ratings come out. Here's how they shape up before Dartmouth has had even one practice:

104. Harvard
130. Penn
153. Dartmouth
169. Yale
180 Princeton
193. Brown 
218. Columbia
230. Cornell

146. New Hampshire
160. Towson
183. Holy Cross

Keep in mind, Sagarin's ratings do not take into account graduation losses, injuries or recruiting, so your guess is as good as mine with regard to what they do take into account. I read somewhere they weigh recent performance in addition to historical performance over a set number of years. That may well be, but if that's the case I don't understand how perennial powerhouse New Hampshire and Towson are ranked as low as they are.

Here's the thing about Sagarin. It's pretty good about ranking the teams after the season is over ;-)

How Sagarin ranked the Ivies prior to last season:
142. Harvard
172. Dartmouth
182. Yale
196. Brown 
198 Princeton
212. Penn
240. Columbia
234. Cornell

And here's how it had the Ivies ranked after last season:
106. Harvard
112. Dartmouth
149. Penn
173 Princeton
175. Yale
198. Brown 
220. Columbia
233. Cornell

For reference, here's a reminder of the overall record for Ivy League teams last fall:
9-1 Harvard, Dartmouth
7-3 Penn
6-4 Yale
5-5 Brown, Princeton
2-8 Columbia
1-9 Cornell

A final thought: Have fun with Sagarin and the other ratings, but don't put too much stock in them ;-)
Each year the same question makes its way to the BGA in-box.  How come some Ivy schools like Cornell start practice before the others, and isn't that unfair? (Cornell kicked off practice on Aug. 16 while Dartmouth doesn't start until Wednesday.)

The answer is that all Ivy League schools are allotted the same number of preseason practices. They are simply spread out differently. Cornell got the jump on Dartmouth because classes in Ithaca begin tomorrow and they don't start in Hanover until Sept. 12.
Check out the Harvard football website for an inspiring MGoBlue story about former Crimson fullback Michael Hirsch battling back from a life-threatening disease that kept him from playing for Tim Murphy. With the NCAA showing a little common sense, the 24-year-old Harvard graduate will be allowed to suit up for Jim Harbaugh at Michigan.
And finally, this scan from Sports Illustrated has been sitting on my desktop for more than a month waiting to make it into this space. Today's as good a day as any ;-)
 

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Headed This Way

CLICK HERE to watch the video.
Headed Dartmouth's way a year from now according to the Twitter feed of a friend who congratulated him is St. Louis tight end/defensive end Holden Wilmsen.

The 6-foot-4, 250-pound Wilmsen caught a whopping 62 passes for 927 yards and nine touchdowns as a junior at Priory High School in St. Louis. That's 14.9 yards per catch, a terrific number for a tight end.

Named to the Metro League first-team offense,  Wilmsen caught 11 passes against Cardinal Ritter, 10 for 160 yards against St. Dominic and seven for 170 yards and three touchdowns against Sullivan.

On the other side of the ball he had 40 tackles with two sacks.
A reminder that BGA Premium opponent previews will begin tomorrow with a look at the Brown Bears.
Dartmouth grad Kyle Hendricks, your MLB ERA leader. Read the story HERE.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Practice Schedule

PRACTICE SCHEDULE - Subject to change
(On Memorial Field unless otherwise noted.)

Wednesday, Aug. 24 - 10 a.m.
Thursday, Aug. 25 - 8:30 a.m.
Friday, Aug. 26 - 8:30 a.m.
Saturday, Aug. 27 - 8:30 a.m.
Sunday, Aug. 28 - 8:30 a.m.
Tuesday, Aug. 30 - 8:30 a.m.
Tuesday, Aug. 30 - 4:15 p.m. Blackman Field
Wednesday, Aug. 31 - 3 p.m.
Thursday, Sept. 1 - 8:30 a.m.
Thursday, Sept. 1 - 4:15 p.m. Blackman Field
Friday, Sept. 2 - 2 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 3 - 10 a.m. (Green vs. White)
Monday, Sept. 5 - 2 p.m.
Tuesday, Sept. 6 - 2 p.m.
Wednesday, Sept. 7 - 2 p.m.
Thursday, Sept. 8 - 3 p.m. (Scrimmage vs Harvard)
Saturday, Sept. 10 - 10 a.m.
Monday, Sept. 12 - 4 p.m.
(Game week schedule begins)

(BGA Premium will post the first practice report Wednesday and will have reports after every practice, including each of the double sessions.)

The Vocativ website has a story under the headline, Battlefield To Playing Field: How Virtual Reality Took Over Sports. From the story:
It is no surprise that (sports VR pioneer Derek) Belch said younger players tend to acclimate and utilize VR technology more quickly, a sentiment shared by Dartmouth football coach Buddy Teevens, who began using STRIVR last year. Video games are ubiquitous; VR is essentially an immersive version of what college athletes do in their free time.
“It really resonates with guys because that’s their world,” Teevens said. “It’s a Pokémon Go type of culture.”
And . . .
Teevens is serious about reducing wear and tear, having eliminated tackling in practice back in 2010. Players work on form by wrapping up the MVP, Dartmouth’s Mobile Virtual Player, a remote-controlled tackling dummy on wheels, or through the STRIVR system. Teevens said his team’s missed-tackle rate has actually declined 50 percent because they actually work on technique more than they used to because it’s safer.
“The last two spring practices, we haven’t had any [concussions],” Teevens said. “Spring practice is what I consider ‘concussion season.’ If you look at statistics nationally, that’s when most of them at the college level occur. The peripheral reduction has been huge as well—necks, shoulders, backs, arms—just because collision with another human being has essentially been eliminated.”
For a roundup of Dartmouth performances in the Rio Olympics – including former junior varsity quarterback Sean Furey in the javelin – CLICK HERE.
Former Big Green pitcher Kyle Hendricks gave up just one run in six innings last night before the Chicago Cubs let the game against the Colorado Rockets slip away with Hendricks on the bench. With still another strong performance the righthander lowered his ERA to 2.16, which will be the best in the Major Leagues among pitchers with enough innings to qualify for the ERA title with Clayton Kershaw out.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Teevens' Media Day Remarks

Delayed by our trip West and a few pressing deadlines, BGA Premium opponent previews will finally kick off Monday. Coverage of practice begins with the first session on Wednesday. As always, there will be at least one story on the site seven days a week until the finale against Princeton.

In advance of the preview series here is a lightly edited version of Dartmouth Coach Buddy Teevens' remarks from the Ivy League preseason media teleconference. Keep in mind these remarks are somewhat off-the-cuff and Teevens, who likes to mention a lot of players, had a limited amount of time ;-)

BUDDY TEEVENS' MEDIA DAY REMARKS

A lot of new faces and a lot of enthusiasm and excitement. Guys see an opportunity to compete and play. There’s a great work ethic and attitude.

We did graduate a good number of people who were significant players and had played great roles with us. Philosophically, we like to play a lot of people. So we have younger guys who have snap time behind them and understand and have an appreciation of what it takes to play in a very, very competitive league.

It will be kind of a blend of old and young faces.

On our offensive line, we have two tackles who are very productive players, David Morrison and Matt Kaskey and they are joined by Zach Davis. (Morrison and Davis) have been starters for the better part of their careers. They are all good-sized guys that we feel can play. We need to fill some spots in between, but that’s a good start for us.

At tight end Stephen Johnston, who missed last year with an injury, is back. And Cameron Skaff had a very good year so we think we’re fairly solid at the tight end position. They’re joined by Blake Orvis, who has been with us for a bit.

At the running back position, Ryder Stone has been very solid. Abram McQuarters is a very good contributor as well. So we feel like we are OK at that position, with some experience.

At receiver, Jon Marc Carrier and Houston Brown have been solid. Charles Mack saw an awful lot of time last year, so we feel like we have very capable people in those positions.

Certainly the biggest question people will ask, and have asked, is about the quarterback spot. Dalyn Williams was really our guy during the course of the last three years. No one has really had snap time significantly behind him.

Bruce Dixon, a rising sophomore, had a great spring camp for us. And Jack Heneghan was very, very competitive as well. It will be a different spin, if you will, at that position, but we feel like we have two very capable and competent guys.

One of the nice things from a staff standpoint is there has been consistency over the course of recent years, so understanding the players, transitioning systems and so forth has gone fairly smoothly on the offensive side of the ball.

I would say the same for the defensive side of the football.

Up front Brandon Cooper has been a very steady player for us, a regular player for us. Zach Husain as well. Jackson Perry came in last year as a freshman and made his presence felt. He's a very talented guy. And Nick Tomkins. So we feel like we have a good core of people up front.

At the linebacker spot, Flo Orimolade  has been on a lot of people’s watch lists. He’s a very talented guy. A good pass rusher. Alex McCrory and Brian Fordon have seen spot time at the second level.

At the backend, Charlie Miller has been a very steady player who has seen a lot of time with us. Danny McManus – I’m trying to recruit his sister who is a sophomore so we still have another McManus in the loop. He will be the last of the boys that will be here, and has been very solid as a return guy and also as a cover guy. Lucas Bavaro at strong safety is returning and he has been a solid player for us. And a young guy, Darius George, had a real good spring. We are excited about him.

In the specialty areas, punter Ben Kepley has been very solid. We need to resolve our kicking game. We’ll have some competition during (camp). We need to do a better job. We have capable guys but under duress we need to be productive.

The schedule is certainly a challenge this year. We’ve got the University of New Hampshire as the opener, perennially a top FCS team. And then Towson State a little bit later in the schedule was a national champion (finalist) a few years back as well. And then Holy Cross, which which has been consistent with us. So the nonleague calendar will certainly be a challenge. We expect to progress as a football team and be ready for play on the 17th.

Within the league, talent continues to come in. I think all the staffs have done a wonderful job recruiting. I say it often. I think people underestimate the quality, and the coaching, and the work ethic that goes into being a member of the Ivy League, both as a coach and as a player.

As Robin (Harris, Ivy League executive director) mentioned, 24 Ivy League kids in NFL camps is pretty impressive. You go out and talk to young guys who have dreams and aspirations that point to that, regardless of the team, and they have a chance because of the quality of play.

Certainly the television exposure has created a greater national attention and awareness. On the whole, the league continues to move forward, and I would like to think that we are keeping in step with it. But certainly, we have a very, very challenging schedule, and a challenging league to compete in.

RESPONSES TO QUESTIONS
What surprised you during the spring season?
There were not a whole lot of surprises. Charlie Miller was very solid but we knew about him. He has seen some time and has been very productive. I thought Ryder Stone had a very solid spring. It was nice to see Matt Kaskey –  he had been playing a bunch – but he really stepped up his play. On the defensive line, Nick Tomkins was a very strong performer.  And then Flo Orimolade, not really a surprise but he’s a very, very intelligent young man. And the ways that you can get him on the field has been helpful for us.

Who are you looking to take a leadership role with the team this season other than quarterback?
It’s something that we stress across the board. Cameron Skaff and Stephen Johnston at the tight end position. The linemen that I touched on. Houston Brown at the wide receiver spot. Abram McQuarters has been a very good presence for us.

Defensively, Brandon Cooper and Flo Orimolade have been very, very solid. Lucas Bavaro.

You develop guys as you go and we’ve got a good community of players. It is very, very important to them. So the leadership I don’t worry about that much. We have got to play at a very high level and play well early and that will certainly be the preseason challenge for us.

What makes Flo Orimolade a special player? He has a low center of gravity and is a quick twitch guy. He loves to play. He’s a very productive tackler. He’s just a tough guy to block. You can move him around. He’s adept. Don Dobes does a great job defensively to keep  people guessing as best we can. It’s just (Orimolade’s) natural athleticism and his love of the game. He’s a good, fun kid to coach. Happy, smiling, upbeat, but he always comes to play. He is inspiring to the guys around him as well. … We are hoping to keep people on their toes with him and that will open up opportunities as well with other people who play inside.

Is there an  opposing player that really excites you in terms of being able to watch them on the field this season?
There’s a bunch, attested to by the number of guys in the NFL or in camps. There’s a guy or guys on everybody’s roster. That’s a fun thing about the league. You watch tapes and say, “Son of a gun, that dude can play.” Fortunately, we feel we’ve got a guy or two like that.

I wouldn’t single out any one of them. You can go right down the roster. On each team there’s guys that can play and play at a very high level. As a former Ivy League player I am proud of the fact that we have that caliber of people and players representing our conference.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Watch And (Maybe) Listen

Dartmouth held its third annual Football 101 while BGA was on hiatus and here's some of what it looked like:

CLICK HERE to watch the video.
Former Dartmouth lineman Mike McCune, now the sports anchor at WCAX TV in Burlington, Vt., was at Football 101 and spoke with Coach Buddy Teevens about the event and the upcoming season:

CLICK HERE to watch the video.
Summer isn't about the beach anymore for college football players. Check out some of what went on at Dartmouth this summer. (Usual warnings about anyone of a certain age muting their computer apply ;-)

The video parade continues with a snippet out of the Los Angeles Rams practice, where the MVP tackling dummy made an appearance. The video on the RamsWire site was provided by former Dartmouth defensive back Tony Pastoors '10, Senior Assistant to the NFL team.

CLICK HERE to visit the site and access the video.
Find a story I freelanced about Pastoors while he was at Dartmouth HERE.

Pastoors works under Kevin Demoff '99, executive vice president of football operations/chief operating officer of the Rams.
FCS Football has a preview of the CAA with capsule looks at Dartmouth opponents New Hampshire and Towson. CLICK HERE.
It's getting a little (a lot?) ridiculous.

Clemson's new $55 million football complex will include a player lounge featuring a barber shop, arcade, bowling alley, laser tag, indoor golf simulator, 24-seat HD theater, an outdoor village with basketball, putt putt and seating areas along with the usual weight room, training and rehab facilities with pools.

Oh yeah. And it will have a "Nap Room."

Find a story on the complex, due to be finished in January, in The State.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Still Catching Up

Center Jacob Flores, the only member of Dartmouth's Class of 2016 still in an NFL camp, has had surgery for a torn meniscus in his right knee according to Twitter.  (Thanks for the tip.)
College Sports Journal has Dartmouth pegged to finish fifth in the Ivy League football race. The CSJ projection:

1. Penn
3. Harvard
3. Yale
4. Princeton
5. Dartmouth
6. Brown
7. Columbia
8. Cornell

CSJ finishes off its team previews with looks at Harvard and Penn.
Longtime Ivy League watcher Craig Haley centers his STATS media day coverage on the rebuilding efforts at Columbia and Cornell HERE.
From HERO Sports:
In February, HERO Sports put together a ranking for the top FCS schools--but this time it wasn't the on-the-field product we were putting in order. This time, we charted FCS recruiting.
The Ivy League--yes, the league that doesn't provide full rides for football--had two of the Top 10 teams, and three of the Top 20. How can that happen, one might ask?
Green Alert Take: Here's the answer. By trying to chart Ivy League recruiting in February, long before Ivy League schools announce their full recruiting classes.

More from HERO:
Don't be surprised if true freshmen play a big role in the Ivy League this fall.
Green Alert Take: Be surprised if more than a couple of freshmen play a big role in the Ivy League this fall.
Kyle Cavanaugh '09, a standout safety whose career was plagued by – and ended by – injury, has joined the American International College staff as a graduate assistant. AIC is a Division II school in Massachusetts.
• 
From the Norwich Bulletin:
One of the most respected high school football coaches in the state will not be on the sidelines this season. 
The coach: Brian Crudden.

One reason he's stepping down? To have a chance to watch grandson Kyran McKinney-Crudden play in the Dartmouth defensive backfield.
The MVP tackling dummy developed at Dartmouth gets a workout at Notre Dame. Fighting Irish coach Brian Kelly on the robots (LINK):
"They're worth their weight in gold."
• 
News that three Dartmouth football games would be televised on ONE World Sports sent me scurrying off to see if they would be carried on DISH, our satellite provider. Apparently they are, although our lower mid-level package does not include ONE, which it seems is not be confused with ESPN. From Wikipedia:
The network exclusively telecasts England National Cricket Team’s international home matches, the Yomiuri Giants, Kontinental Hockey League, Champions Hockey League, Chinese Basketball Association, OneAsia Golf Tour, the New York Cosmos, and competitions in table tennis and badminton from around the world.
Apparently ONE is also a world leader in darts broadcasting ;-)
NBC headline:
Runners Abbey D'Agostino, Nikki Hamblin Show True Meaning of Olympic Spirit
 Find the story and video of D'Agostino's '14 inspiring run HERE.

D'Agostino, who had been advanced to the finals because of the "no-fault" fall, will be unable to run after being diagnosed with a complete tear of the meniscus.

UPDATE: D'Agostino has a complete tear of her right ACL, a meniscus tear and a strained MCL.

D'Agostino helps Hamblin to her feet in this screenshot from NBC.