Bagnoli Quotes

Head Coach Al Bagnoli

On having family near the media day location in New Haven, Conn.:

“It’s always good to get back. The trip is always way too short for me. I’m trying to see a lot of different people and we are in preseason preparation so I have to leave Philadelphia, run up here (for media day), get out and see my family and then scurry back to the office. But it’s always nice to come back.”

On whether he ever expected to be the longest tenured coach in the Ivy League:

“No, I really didn’t. It has flown by. My youngest daughter just graduated from Penn and we have been able to get three kids through Ivy League schools. In a blink of an eye, 17 years have gone by. It’s just incomprehensible to me that it has been that long. I don’t consider it to be that long, but when you look at the records book it has been.”

On his 78 Ivy League wins – fourth all-time:

“It just shows that you’ve been in the league a long time. But we have been blessed. We’ve had a lot of good players; we have a terrific school and a terrific city. Those things give you a chance and that’s all you can ask for.”

On competing against so many Philadelphia colleges and professional franchises for fans’ attention:

“We have our niche. Villanova has their niche. Temple has their niche. And the Eagles have their niche. It is a big population and we have a very, very proud tradition with very active alumni, so we get our fair share of crowds.”

On the team’s current health after a variety of injuries last season:

“Our big question mark has been the health of our quarterback. Robert Irvin played tremendous sophomore season and threw for over 2,000 yards. We expected big things from him, but unfortunately he has been banged up and has really been out for two years. He appears to be healthy. He appears to be the Robert Irvin of old, but we won’t know until he gets into a game and takes a hit. If we get him healthy, that is going to answer one question mark for us.

On whether Irvin will be given the starting job at quarterback:

“Well, he is going to have to earn it. But he was a difference maker as a sophomore and it is hard to find more than one of those kids in your program. Much of what happens with him will be predicated upon how quickly the rust comes off and how he psychologically and physically handles the return.”

On how you help someone mentally recover from an injury:

“I think you try to put him in as many situations in practice that he’ll see in a game. So if that does happen in a game, he has already been hit, he has already been pressured, he has already been tackled and stood up and realized that he is fine.”

On junior quarterback Brendan McNally:

“He played last year as a sophomore. He is a dynamic kid both run and pass. He’ll battle and get on the field. I think he is too much of a dynamic athlete to leave there (as the backup quarterback). If that’s case, I think he would have to find another way to get on the field. But we have to let the quarterback situation play itself out first.”

On losing running back Joe Sandberg to graduation:

“When Joe Sandberg and our quarterback went out, we kind of lost our identity a little bit. What it did indirectly though, was force to freshman Mike DiMaggio and Bradford Blackmon into unprecedented amounts of playing time. Now we have players who have gone through it and I think we have reason to be optimistic that those two, collectively, can make up for Joe Sandberg.”

On the wide receivers:

“We have some good players. Marcus Lawrence and Tyler Fisher are two players that are both returning, dynamic playmakers. We have all of our tight ends back and some kids that can catch the ball. We just need to get that stability and consistency at the quarterback position to make sure we can get the ball to them.”

On the defense:

“I think that defense is our strength. Our whole secondary returns and we have two all-league corners coming back. We have a lot of experienced kids back. We were forced to play a lot of young kids last year who have benefited from a year of experience. We have a nice foundation on the defensive end.”

On the Ivy League:

“It is a league built on parity, so you know your going to have to play really well. It is a league that puts a premium on quarterback play so that position has to be solidified. All of the top teams have that common denominator with really good quarterback play. We are in the same boat as everybody else. If quarterback play goes back to where it was, we are pretty dynamic because we can surround him with really good players, the foundation of our defense is set and now you look for health and a couple good breaks.”