Saturday, August 21, 2010

Quarterback Dan Di Lella Taking Aim; UAlbany FCS Football Ends Second Week of Preseason

Albany, N.Y. - It's been a three-year period of both preparation and waiting to get to this point for University at Albany quarterback Dan Di Lella. The 6-foot-5 junior has toiled on the practice fields while watching Vinny Esposito lead the Great Danes to a pair of Northeast Conference championships. Now as preseason moves along, it may be Di Lella's turn at the controls.

"Patience is a virtue for a reason," said Di Lella, who on Saturday completed 10 of 16 passes for 82 yards and added 36 more on the ground in UAlbany's second intrasquad scrimmage. "Since the last play at Wagner (last year), I have been getting ready. To be finally able to take that first snap has been my light at the end of the tunnel."

Di Lella has not wrapped up the starting quarterback position and continues to battle redshirt freshman Buddy Leathley. But he looked comfortable in his squad's first series when he connected on 5-of-6 through the air in leading the first team downfield in a productive offensive set.

"I trust our line, running backs and receivers," offered Di Lella, who threw just four passes during the 2009 campaign. "We were fluid (in the first series) and I was able to get the ball into the playmakers' hands."

Although head coach Bob Ford admits that Di Lella pulled away and opened up a gap on the depth chart after the Great Danes' first preseason scrimmage one week ago, there is still room for improvement.

"I've worked hard," Di Lella explained. "I am playing with confidence and trying to make the plays you are supposed to, whether it's the right run check or getting the ball to a certain receiver."

Di Lella's metamorphosis continues when the Great Danes are back for two-a-days on Monday.

Paw Prints: UAlbany's matchup with defending Northeast Conference champion Central Connecticut State at University Field has been moved to Friday, Oct. 22 at 7:00 p.m. ... the NEC contest will air on the MSG Network and Fox College Sports ... QB Buddy Leathley completed 10 of 17 passes for 48 yards in Saturday's preseason scrimmage and threw a 2-yard touchdown in a goal line situation ... WR Ryan Kirchner was the top receiver with four catches for 46 yards ... freshmen Jake Meek and Will Fiacchi fired TD passes during offense's red-zone series ... Meek hit WR Jameel Gay for 13 yards and Fiacchi hooked up with TB Everett Tune on a 19-yard touchdown ... DE Eddie Delaney had six tackles and one sack to lead the defense ... ILB Dave Plungas made four hits, including three unassisted, and picked off a pass ... CB Nick Crockett (6 tackles), OLB Chris Blais (4 tackles), S Jake Ciccarello (4 tackles, 1 PBU) and CB Leon Saddler (4 tackles, 1 PBU) were also active on the field.

Courtesy: UAlbany Sports Information

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