PHILADELPHIA - Less than four months ago, the University of Pennsylvania football team hoisted the Ivy League's championship trophy as they walked off the turf of Franklin Field. On March 16, the team will hold its first spring practice and officially begin its defense of the Ivy title.
During a 26-day period, the Quakers will practice 11 times. The team's spring session culminates with the annual Spring Game scrimmage as Red takes on Blue on Saturday, April 10. The first snap is set for 4 p.m. Multiple rain dates have been established to ensure Penn gets in all 11 practices. The Spring Game rain date is scheduled for Sunday, April 11. A full practice schedule is below.
The Quakers are returning 17 starters from last season's championship team, including 11 of the team's 18 All-Ivy honorees. The Red and Blue have nearly the entire offensive line intact, losing Matt Schaefer, but gaining Drew Luongo, who missed all of last season due to injury. Three of Penn's four starting quarterbacks return as do all of the running backs and All-Ivy fullback Luke DeLuca. Tight ends Luke Nawrocki and Ryan Murray will be back, but the Quakers lose three experienced wide outs in Kyle Derham, Tyler Fisher and Marcus Lawrence.
Penn will have some shoes to fill on the defensive side of the ball. Five starters will graduate from the nation's top-ranked defensive unit, and all of them were All-Ivy players last year. Joe Goniprow, Chris Wynn and Jonathan Moore were all first-teamers as well as co-Ivy Player of the Year Jake Lewko. Kevin Gray, who started all 10 games in the defensive backfield, was a second-team honoree. However, four All-Ivy players will return, including sack-leader Owen Thomas, and a trio of linebackers (Erik Rask, Zach Heller and Brian Levine).
All three place-kickers will be back - All-American placekicker Andrew Samson, punter Scott Lopano and kickoff specialist Dave Kuncio will return after missing the 2009 season due to injury.
Penn finished the 2009 season on an eight-game winning streak, finishing undefeated in the Ivy League for a record seventh time and claiming the program's 14th Ivy title.
Practice #1 - March 16: 8:15-10:15 p.m.
March 17: 9-11 p.m. (rain date)
Practice #2 - March 18: 8:15-10:15 p.m.
Practice #3 - March 19: 6-10 p.m.
March 20: 9-12 a.m. (rain date)
Practice #4 - March 21: 1-5 p.m.
Practice #5 - March 23: 8:15-10:15 p.m.
March 24: 9-11 p.m. (rain date)
Practice #6 - March 25: 8:15-10:15 p.m.
Practice #7 -March 27: 4-7 p.m. (with officials)
March 28: 5-8 p.m. (rain date)
Practice #8 - March 30: 8:15-10:15 p.m.
March 31 - Pro Day
Practice #9 - March 31: 8:15-10:15 p.m.
April 1: 8-10 p.m. (rain date)
Practice #10 - April 6: 8:15-10:15 p.m.
April 7: 8-10 p.m. (rain date)
Practice #11 - April 8: 8:15-10:15 p.m.
April 9: 9-11 p.m. (rain date)
Spring Game - April 10: 4 p.m.
April 11: 4 p.m. (Spring Game rain date)