PHILADELPHIA - With three more
practices in the books, the two-time defending Ivy League champions are just a little more than halfway through the spring season. Let's
take a closer look at the progress of the spring football season during its second week.
Live Practice Updates
Fans can follow every practice live via the Penn Football Twitter account. The Quakers staff has been active in updating the account with up-to-the-second information and pictures. Make sure to follow the team on twitter to be alerted of each update, or check back often.
Video of the Week
Click on the link atop this release to see the latest spring football report from the Penn Sports Network. Defensive Coordinator Ray Priore, who is entering his 25th season along the Penn sideline, talks about the future of the Quakers' defense with the Penn Sports Network's Brian Seltzer.
Week of Practice
The Quakers practiced three times in the last week, including their first afternoon session of the spring. The team was in full pads for each practice and will be until the final practice before the Spring Game. The coaching staff has spent a lot of time evaluating its underclassmen with just nine total starters returning from the 2010 title team. Most of the current underclassmen have seen significant time already in their careers and are now vying for starting positions with one another. We'll dissect some of these competitions in the secondary below. The weather has continued to cooperate, though cooler than usual this time of year, the team has had relatively calm conditions throughout the past two weeks.
Other than the typical spring sprains and bruises, the Quakers have continued to avoid any major injuries. A few players have missed some time here and there, but nothing of long-term concern has come up in the first half of the spring.
Each week we’ll take a look at a particular position in need of some new bodies.
- Defensive Back: At first glance, it seems hard to replace the talent the Quakers lost at this position last year. Brian Levine, Josh Powers and Bradford Blackmon were all All-Ivy members of the secondary last year and left due to graduation. As did Jon Saelinger, who led the team in interceptions and was a National Defensive Player of the Week honoree last season. But there is a lot of playing experience returning. The Red and Blue had a large rotation in the secondary last year. The most notable returners are All-Ivy selection Matt Hamscher, eight-game starter Jason Schmucker and Jim McGoldrick, who's played in all 20 games during the last two title seasons. Together they have the potential to form a new, formidable backbone in the defensive backfield. Meanwhile, a wealth of experience follows. Stanford transfer Fred Craig has battled some injuries, but is expected to be an impact player when healthy. Justyn Williams, Dave Twamley and Daniel Ritt have all seen significant time in their first two seasons and even combined to start six games as sophomores. Then add in Anthony Marino and Sam Chwarzynski who are also both letterwinners as well as Allante Keels, Sebastian Jaskowski and Evan Jackson, who have seen noteworthy game action, and the Quakers already have a lot to work with in replacing their secondary.
Last week we touched on some offseason honors for the team and most notably, for former Penn great Chuck Bednarik, ED'49, who was honored several times over the winter. (He earned the 2011 "Distinguished American" Award from the Walter Camp Football Foundation. He was also honored by Penn Athletics and the Ivy Football Association (IFA) at the Sixth IFA Dinner at The Waldorf-Astoria in New York City on January 27). We updated his condition when it was reported that Concrete Charlie was in ill health. Well we are happy to report that our fellow Quaker has been released from the hospital and "he left with a clean bill of health"!
Later next week, the night prior to the spring game, the Quakers will be doing some community service at Penn’s annual “Relay for Life.” From 6-11 p.m., the football team will be at the event in support of the “Be The Match” Registry, encouraging people to be a part of the National Marrow Donor program and potentially save a life. This has hit the Quakers close to home recently as defensive back J.P. Grant has been selected as a potential match and is in the early stages of becoming a donor.
Coming Up This Week
- There are just four final practices prior to the spring game on April 9. The team will be in full pads for the first three, but will dress only in upper pads for a less physical practice prior to the game. The Quakers practice Thursday night from 8:15-10:15 p.m., and then have their only morning practice of the spring. Practice on Sunday was moved to 10:45 a.m. Penn's only other practice this spring under natural light was the previous Sunday. The Quakers then have their final practice in all pads on Tuesday from 8:15-10:15 p.m., and will have their final Spring Game tune-up on Thursday, April 7 at the same time.