PHILADELPHIA - Now just past the halfway point of the spring football season, here is a review of what went on during the second week of practices.
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. In the first seven practices this season, there have been 54 tweets, or an average of about four per hour. So make sure to follow the team on twitter to be alerted of each update, or check back often.
New Linebackers Coach
Another reason to follow the Penn Football twitter account: the announcement of Penn's new linebackers coach will come later this week on PennAthletics.com, but the news will be preemptively released via the Penn Football twitter account sometime Wednesday night during the team's practice. Also, see this week's PSN spring football video.
Video of the Week
Click on the link atop this release to see the latest spring football report from the Penn Sports Network. Penn play-by-play announcer Brian Seltzer sits with defensive lineman Brandon Copeland and linebacker Zach Heller in the Jack LeFort football office to discuss the Quakers' defense.
Week of Practice
Despite the rain in the Philadelphia area over the past week, the football team has dodged the poor weather at each practice thus far. The Quakers practiced three times last week and were in pads for each one. Tuesday and Thursday were more physical and carried an increased intensity compared to the first few practices without pads. Saturday proved to be the coldest day of the spring thus far, but the Quakers got to experience some game-action scenarios. The team practiced with officials - there were several penalties with the offensive line flagged several times. The team also used the down and distance markers to practice game-type situations. The day was heavy on third down situations, mostly in mid-range scenarios, but also including some third-and-short and third-and-long plays.
Also this Week
In between practice days, the entire team participated in the "Be the Match" program to recruit more donors for the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) registry. In their third year with the program, the Quakers broke their team record, signing up nearly 400 new donors within four hours. For more information on the event, click here.
- No news is always good news on this front. The Quakers have completed another week of practice without any major injuries. As is custom with the spring ball season, many of the players have experienced some minor setbacks, but nothing more than just a few sprains and strains. The coaching and training staff continue to use caution when dealing with these injuries and there has been an increase in players with gray sweatsuits (instead of pads). But no one has missed much time.
- Also some other players of note. Defensive lineman Drew Goldsmith led the team in tackles two seasons ago, but missed the 2009 campaign due to injury. The Quakers are hoping that he will be cleared to play and return to the field soon. Defensive back Nate Powers suffered several concussions during the course of the 2009 season and may choose not to return to the field in 2010. He did not play in the team's final three games last year.
Each week we’ll take a look at a particular position in need of some new talent after the graduation of its senior(s). Let's stick with the linebacker theme this week:
- Linebacker: Remarkably, no matter how many great linebackers – and there have been many – leave the program via graduation, Penn never seems to be lacking at this position. The same looks to be true for the upcoming season. Despite the loss of Jake Lewko, Penn’s first Asa S. Bushnell Cup winner as the Ivy League MVP since 2003, the Quakers have plenty of talent to fill the void. The only question is which players will earn the playing time. Zach Heller is coming off of a junior season in which he started all 10 games alongside Lewko and earned second-team All-Ivy honors. Erik Rask would be a likely choice to stand beside Heller. Rask was part of a solid rotation at linebacker last season as he earned honorable mention All-Ivy status, leading the team in tackles for loss. Also bringing extended experience at the position entering the 2010 season are veterans Jason Rasmussen, Alex Paino and A.J. Hewitt. But also pushing to make it into the upcoming year’s rotation is a strong group of underclassmen in Stephen Guetig, Peter Hobson, Steve Lias, John Onwualu and McKinley Stephens.
On Wednesday, Penn will host its Pro Day at Franklin Field as seniors Jake Lewko, Joe Goniprow and Chris Wynn will work out for NFL scouts. The trio will meet with the scouts, be measured, tested and run through a series of drills. Scouts from the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles, Green Bay Packers, Carolina Panthers, St. Louis Rams, Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers have already confirmed that they will be in attendance. Penn has also invited several other local players to participate in the event, including Villanova's Osayi Osunde.
Coming Up This Week
Penn has just two practices this week due to the holiday weekend. The team will be on Franklin Field Tuesday night from 8:15-10:15 p.m., and then again the next night at the same time. A rain date has been set for Thursday night should the weather force a practice to be cancelled. If the Quakers don't use the rain date, it will mark the longest break of the spring season as the team will not practice again until Tuesday, April 6. Though of course, that doesn't mean all will be quiet in the Jack LeFort Football office during the five-day break. The players will certainly be in-and-out for film study and meetings.
Also, don't forget:
- The spring prospectus is available online all season.
- A full practice schedule can be found here.
- Your first chance to see the defending Ivy League champions is at the Spring Game on Saturday, April 10.
For a full recap of the team's first week of spring practice, click here.