Post by thecrossisback on Jul 29, 2019 20:31:23 GMT -5
WORCESTER — The Holy Cross football team opens camp Thursday in what has been a busy and productive summer for the Crusaders as they prepare for the 2019 season, and another grueling out-of-conference schedule.
“They continue to tackle each day with everything they’ve got,” HC coach Bob Chesney said, “and I like how they continually do that.”
Holy Cross finished 5-6 (4-2 Patriot League) last season, Chesney’s first, and finished the year with four straight wins. There is much anticipation for year two of the Chesney era at HC and much more familiarity among coaches and players.
“We really speak the same language at this moment,” Chesney said. “We’re kind of done learning who each other is. We are at the point of understanding what’s expected — what I expect of the coaches, what they expect of me, what we all expect from the team, what we expect of everyone who touches this team. I feel like we’re in a much better spot right now (than at this point last year).”
More than 80 players, Chesney said, were at Holy Cross this summer taking classes, doing internships and working doggedly in the weight room with assistant strength and conditioning coach Chris Grautski.
“Coach Grautski is taking care of them in the weight room,” Chesney said, “so when we roll into that first week of practice we feel like we’re in decent shape.”
Last week, the Crusaders did their max testing — power cleans, squats and bench press.
“There has been significant improvement in the weight room,” Chesney said. “There are some high numbers on some really good football players here that are putting themselves in a position to physically now compete at a different level. A bunch have made huge gains. The average gain on cleans was 17-20 pounds for every kid. That’s significant.”
Players went home late last week to rest, recharge and get ready for the upcoming season.
“They’ve given us everything they’ve got,” Chesney said. “There’s still a little bit of unknown until you put those pads on and get out there and run around and see how people compete physically and what they are capable of against other guys on our team.
“Even after you go through all camp there’s still the unknown of, ‘Alright, we look good against each other, but are we good?’ That’s what the first game and early season starts to paint a picture of — what this team is and how much work do we have left to do as coaches as the season gets rolling to cover up some of our deficiencies or continue to reveal some of the things that are our strengths.”
The Crusaders open the season Aug. 31 at Navy. It will be the first meeting between the programs, and the game will be televised on CBS Sports Network. Other non-league opponents include Syracuse, New Hampshire, Yale and Harvard. The Sept. 7 game vs. UNH is the Crusaders’ home opener.
The Crusaders graduated their top three receivers from last season as well as quarterback Geoff Wade, who started eight games, so those will obviously be two positions to keep an eye on once camp starts.
Freshman Chris Butash and Matt Considine, a junior transfer from Wake Forest, join the QB mix along with senior Emmett Clifford, who started three games last year, and junior Connor Degenhardt, who played in two games and attempted one pass.
Eddie Scott, a freshman quarterback on last year’s roster, has left Holy Cross, Chesney said.
Defensively, the Crusaders will look to replace the production of highly-decorated linebacker Ryan Brady, who was the team’s leading tackler, and defensive lineman Teddy Capsis, who led the team in sacks.
HC returns 11 starters, including senior offensive lineman Brett Boddy, junior offensive lineman Brian Foley and senior running back Domenic Cozier, who were All-Patriot League selections in 2018.
In addition to the playbook, practice plans and installing new drills, much of Chesney’s and his staff’s summer was devoted to recruiting.
“Since the early signing period (was instituted by the NCAA two years ago) the recruiting thing has just been booming in a different way,” Chesney said. “We have 12 guys committed at this moment and I think there’s a pretty good chance before August 1 shows up we’re almost done with recruiting for that next year.”
The Crusaders have 22 freshmen on this year’s roster.
Crusaders give back
Community involvement was always a staple of Chesney’s teams at Assumption, and that continues at Holy Cross.
Recently, eight players — junior wide receiver Tenio Ayeni, senior placekicker/punter Andrew Beatty, junior offensive lineman Jack Bowler, senior offensive lineman Jackson Dennis, junior defensive back Josh Hicks, junior defensive lineman Jordan Jackson, senor offensive lineman Joe Mattingly and sophomore defensive back Alex Sloan — took part in a submersion program in Worcester County District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr.’s office.
“They’re learning about the court system and it’s a great opportunity to be present and learn a little bit about everything that goes on there,” Chesney said.
Last week, the Crusaders took part in a free youth clinic at Greenwood Park.
“What’s going to get them involved in us it us getting involved in them,” Chesney said. “Showing up and being present together is a great opportunity and when you go somewhere especially with someone who doesn’t quite have what you have, you learn to appreciate what you have. You feel like you’re going there to help people, but they’re really helping you.”
McCabe gets call
Former star linebacker Jerry McCabe will be inducted to the Crusader Football Legends Ring of Honor during a ceremony Sept. 7, when HC hosts UNH at Fitton Field.
McCabe, a 1987 Holy Cross graduate, was a standout on the outstanding teams of the mid-1980s and helped the Crusaders go 31-12-1 during his four years. He set what was a school single-season record with 178 tackles as a junior, and his 386 career total tackles were the second most in program history at the time of his graduation.
McCabe was the 1986 Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year and a second-team All-American. He will be the 28th member of the Crusader Football Legends Ring of Honor.
Colgate with the earliest start date I can remember - with their 'week zero' opener vs. Villanova, they opened camp this past Sunday.
Tough (and early) August 24th opener for Colgate - last year Villanova beat FCS Temple in their opener before the injury bug bit them hard. Kind of interesting that Villanova opens with 3 straight Patriot League opponents this year. CAA picked them (Villanova) 9th but that is the CAA.
This is the football staff listing in the Staff Directory at goholycross.com:
Bob Chesney -- Head Coach
Scott James -- Defensive Coordinator Patrick Murphy -- Offensive Coordinator Israel Abraham -- Running Backs Coach Anthony Barese -- Secondary Coach Drew Canan -- Special Teams Coordinator / Tight Ends Coach Casey DeAndrade -- Cornerbacks Coach Todd Gilcrist -- Wide Receivers Coach Mike Pucko -- Defensive Line Coach Chris Smith -- Offensive Line Coach Brian Vaganek -- Linebackers Coach
Ashton Grant -- Volunteer Special Teams Quality Control Tyler Loftus -- Volunteer Offensive Quality Control Josh Maurer -- Volunteer Recruiting Quality Control / Analytics Kevin McLaughlin -- Volunteer Defensive Quality Control Mike Murphy -- Volunteer Defensive Quality Control
Mike Volcano -- Volunteer Director of Operations
Lu-Ann Hennessy -- Administrative Assistant
Thus, one head coach, 10 assistant coaches, 5 "Volunteer Quality Control," 1 Volunteer Director of Operations, and 1 Administrative Assistant.