Spring Football Recap; Offense Wins 2011 Spring Game

2011 Spring Updates - Week 1 | Week 2

Spring Game Statistics

PHILADELPHIA - With the conlcusion of the 2011 Spring Game on Saturday night at Franklin Field, the University of Pennsylvania football team put a cap on its spring season. Here is a closer look into the Spring Game and the wrapup of the spring season for the two-time defending Ivy League champions.

Spring Game Setup
How it works...
A little different than the typical Spring Game, the annual Red vs. Blue Spring Game is a simulated, situational scrimmage. The offense starts each half at the 30-yard line. If stopped after a few first downs, the offense will then start the next possession deep inside their own territory - just as they would in a real game if the opposition was able to drive and pin Penn inside the 20-yard line. However, if the offense was held or pushed back, the next possession would start around midfield, just as it would if the Penn defense had pinned back an opposing offense. After scores, the ball would go back around the 30-yard line.
The Scoring...
Since its not a traditional Spring Game, the coaching staff has its own scoring system. It includes points for the offense for first downs, big plays (12+ yds), scores, etc. The defense gets points for each drive stop, negative yardage play, turnovers, etc.

2011 Spring Game
The scrimmage lasted about 90 minutes with the first few possessions going to the defense. The offense was pushed back on its first drive and didn't manage a first down until their third drive of the evening. However, the offense got going with a five-play, 50-yard scoring drive that was sparked by a 30-yard scamper from wideout Aaron Bailey. Bailey found the near sideline and was aided with a block from running back Brandon Colavita about 15 yards downfield. Colavita, the team's leading scorer last year, then capped the drive on the next play with a three-yard touchdown run. The defense got the best of the next few drives, which included sacks from Jared Sholly and Jim McGoldrick. But right before the half, quarterback Andrew Holland connected with Conner Scott for the biggest highlight play of the scrimmage and a 50-yard touchdown. Scott went over the back of the defender, reached down and plucked the ball away. He then easily scampered the next ten yards into the end zone. The offense found a bit of a rhythm in the second half, but the defense didn't break. After a few first downs on the third possession of the half, Dan Lipschutz connected on a 30-yard field goal. Eventually, two drives later, the offense found pay dirt again. Tyler Hamilton connected with a wide open Luke Nawrocki in the back of the end zone from 12 yards out for the only touchdown of the second half for the Quakers. For the official unofficial Spring Game stats, see the link atop this release.

Other notables from the game...
- Brandon Copeland, Ryan Becker, Jason Rasmussen and Michael Pinciotti were among the notables that sat out the spring game as a precaustion.
- The underclassmen played most of the game with most of the incoming seniors playing only a third of the total plays or fewer.
- Matt Hamscher played both offense and defense and was back for punt returns.

Spring Games of the Recent Past
En route to Ivy titles in 2009 and 2010, the Red vs. Blue matchup has proven to be a good indicator of things to come recently. Two years ago, at the 2009 Spring Game, the offense only managed a single score - and that came on the final play of the scrimmage. However, that was against a defense that would eventually go on to rank No. 1 in the nation. Last year, the offense saw much more success with a decidedly better day than the defense (which ranked atop the Ivy League last season) en route to finishing the 2010 campaign with the sixth-best rushing attack in the nation.

Injury Updates
They did it! The biggest key to having a good Spring Football season is avoiding major injury. The Quakers survived all four weeks without any notable injuries. Obviously there are the common day-to-day injuries that occur, but the Quakers did not have any player miss significant time. Some of the bumps and bruises led the coaching staff to sit out a few notables from the Spring Game, but none were due to long-term issues.

Replacing Positions
Each week we’ll take a look at a particular position in need of some new bodies.
- Offensive Line: This was the biggest question mark of the spring season for the Quakers, but the coaches were pleased with the progress of the underclassmen. Greg Van Roten is a returning All-Ivy honoree and Michael Pinciotti has seen a fair amount of playing time in each of his first two seasons. The other three spots will be maintained by a less experienced trio. Christopher Bush started at center in the spring game and played at that spot in the season finale last year, while Sam Graham has also spent some time at that position. Garrett Moore was among the starting linemen on Saturday as was Alec Smith. Joe Bonadies is the only other lineman returning with playing experience as he lettered for the Quakers last year, while Peter D'Andrea is back this season after missing the 2010 campaign due to injury. Dan Saris will also be among those angling for playing time, while last year's freshman class has some high expectations in Sean McGinn, Jake Schwertner and Steve Szostak.

2011 Team Captains
The end of the spring season also means the announcement of the team captains. The team voted for their three captains last week and the announcement was made prior to the Spring Game. The official release of the captains can be found at PennAthletics.com on Tuesday night.

Coming Up
The players will certainly be relieved to have wrapped up their spring practice schedule. Now it is back to the classroom with finals fast approaching. Offseason workouts will continue and in each of the last three summers a strong majority of the players returned to campus early to continue their workouts.

Download: Binder1.pdf