Tuesday, August 5, 2008

UAlbany Football Begins Preseason Camp and Defense of Northeast Conference Crown

Courtesy: UAlbany Sports Information

Albany, N.Y. – The University at Albany football program will be pressed to defend last year’s Northeast Conference championship with a challenging non-league schedule and the addition of Duquesne as a conference member. The work to repeat as NEC champion began on Monday, Aug. 4 when preseason camp kicked off with an afternoon practice on the campus’ Dutch Quad intramural fields.

Head coach Bob Ford has 47 letterwinners, including 11 starters, returning from a squad that finished with an 8-4 record. The Great Danes, who became the fifth team in NEC history to go undefeated in league play, have produced seven or more wins six times as a FCS program.

“The first day is always tough,” offered Ford, who enters his 40th season at the collegiate level with a 225-162-1 record. “You are trying to take 32 freshmen and squeeze them in with 60-plus veterans to make them part of the squad. This slows the process, but everyone in the country goes through it. The vast majority of the team is in great physical condition and the freshman class may be better than I thought.”

The Great Danes will open with four consecutive Colonial Athletic Conference opponents, including national runner-up Delaware and NCAA quarterfinalist Massachusetts in preparation for the NEC schedule. UAlbany opens the conference slate at Duquesne on Saturday, Oct. 4.

“The tempo was good and everyone was real excited,” said UAlbany quarterback Vinny Esposito, who passed for 1,810 yards and 12 touchdowns in his first year as a starter. “I felt more comfortable (than last year), but I can’t rest. With the competition for positions, everyone has to keep improving.”

The Great Danes will practice twice on Tuesday in helmets and shorts and then wear shoulder pads the following day. UAlbany will work out in full gear for the first time on Friday, Aug. 9.

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