Albany, N.Y. - Spring practice for the University at Albany football program begins on Saturday, March 19. The first workout is scheduled from 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. on Alumni Turf Field, adjacent to John Fallon Field and just south of Indian Quad. The Great Danes, who are allowed 15 practices, are slated to play an intrasquad spring game at University Field on Saturday, April 9 at 3:00 p.m.
UAlbany established a program record with its fifth consecutive winning season one year ago. The Great Danes, who have won four Northeast Conference championships since 2002, recorded non-league wins over Maine and Yale during a 6-5 campaign. Head coach Bob Ford, the active Division I FCS leader with 247 career victories, has 51 letterwinners returning, including seven starters on both offense and defense.
"We need to solidify our offensive line (during the spring)," explains Ford, whose team ended the 2010 schedule by winning its final three games. "We got away from being dominate on the line of scrimmage last year. We will be addressing turnovers, both holding on to the ball and taking it away. The coaches will also emphasize the importance of finishing plays, drives and games. Our younger players, especially those in the redshirt freshman and sophomore classes, will get an opportunity to show what they can do. We need for those groups to step up their production."
The Great Danes return their starting quarterback, top tailbacks and leading receiver. Buddy Leathley took over the starting quarterback duties at mid-season as a redshirt freshman. He completed 67 of 125 pass attempts for 748 yards and four touchdowns and was third on the team in rushing with 178 yards and two scores. Dillon Romain was the conference's top offensive rookie after rushing for 547 yards and six touchdowns and averaging 86.7 all-purpose yards per game. Andrew Smith, who has more than 1,800 all-purpose yards in his two-year career, had a team-high 724 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground. Ryan Kirchner registered the fifth-best single-season total in school history with 50 receptions for 504 yards and one TD. He also averaged 10.4 yards per punt return.
Eddie Delaney earned second-team All-Northeast Conference honors for the second time in his career last year. The defensive end had 41 tackles, including 4.5 for losses. Dave Plungas, an inside linebacker led the team in tackles with 71 as a sophomore. Jake Ciccarello, a safety who received the program's best defensive back award, accounted for 51 tackles, two interceptions and five pass break-ups. Inside linebacker Jon Morgan (54) and free safety Justin Hassan (51) each had more than 50 tackles.
The Great Danes should be solid on special teams. Herb Glass, a placekicker, enters his final season ranked sixth on the school's all-time scoring list with 164 points. He is second in career field goals (26) and fourth in point-after attempts (86). Paul Layton averaged 40.1 yards per punt attempt as a redshirt freshman. He had 12 punts of 50 or more yards.
2010 Record: 6-5
Northeast Conference Record: 4-4 (tie, fourth)
NEC Champions: 2002, '03, '07 & '08
Lettermen Returning/Lost: 51/15
Off. Starters Returning/Lost: 7/4
Def. Starters Returning/Lost: 7/4
Basic Offense: Multiple
Basic Defense: Multiple
Offense (National Rank)
Yards Rushing/Game: 151.1 (t56)
Passing Yards/Game: 137.6 (102)
Total Net Yards/Game: 288.7 (99)
Points/Game: 20.6 (87)
Turnover Margin: +0.1 (52)
Defense (National Rank)
Yards Rushing/Game: 134.3 (39)
Passing Yards/Game: 216.1 (77)
Total Net Yards/Game: 350.4 (55)
Points/Game: 23.2 (50)
Pass Efficiency Defense: 112.2 (26)
Courtesy: UAlbany Sports Information
Thursday, March 17, 2011
Posted by BRE at 6:26 PM