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Take Your Pick in the Ivy League

Cornell, Dartmouth Are Preseason Favorites; Veteran Defense Could Propel Elis

By Josie Karp

Let's talk about Brown football. Talk, talk, talk. Last year, his first at the Bruins' helm, Coach Mickey Kwiatkowski proved that he was a great talker.

Unfortunately, his team backed up that jabber with only two wins, which is only one more victory than last-place Columbia.

Yet, just like their coach, the Bruins were quite entertaining at times. Brown set six separate team, individual game and individual career passing records last season on the wings of Kwiatkowski's Wing-T Flex offense.

Just who will be doing the passing this year, however, remains the question mark for Brown this season, and the lack of experience at that position will keep Brown within spitting distance of the cellar again this season.

Whoever replaces graduated quarterbacks Mike Lenkaitis and Rich Willis, who led the Bruins to its most productive aerial attack in the school's 112 years of football, will be without the services of first-team All-Ivy split end Mike Geroux, who also graduated.

But, on the bright side, the Bruins still have senior flex receiver Rodd Torbert as a target. Last season Torbert set single-season Brown receiving records with 67 catches and 908 receiving yards en route to capturing first team All-Ivy honors.

The inside linebacker duo of Jason Pankau and Brad Sidwell looks to be the strongest aspect of the Brown defense. The two combined for 170 tackles last year. Only four other defensive starters return from last year, but maybe that is not such a bad thing, seeing that Brown gave up more than 380 yards a game last season.

Roaring Lions?

Columbia will also be looking to shore up its defense, but, then again, what won't the Lions be looking to shore up? Columbia's lease on the Ivy League basement won't expire this year.

The Lions are looking at a bevy of sophomores on defense to continue Columbia's long walk towards respectability. Tackle Colby Bressler and defensive end John Jennings epitomize the type of squad which Coach Ray Tellier has been trying to assemble since taking over two years ago.

Bressler and Jennings are big. Jennings stands in at 6'5" and weighs 225 pounds; Bressler is one inch shorter, but weighs 275 pounds.

The two also are representative of a recurring problem for the Lions. They are young and inexperienced. Only six starters return on offense and defense. One of Columbia's main problems has always been a lack of depth not at one position, but at every position. Tellier has problems just getting enough bodies on the practice field. This year, however, 20 more players are expected on the roster.

"We made progress last season, but we didn't get as far as we wanted to," Tellier said earlier this year. "This season we have to take that step toward winning."

That task will be made all the more difficult without two first team All-Ivy selections on the offense. Quarterback Bruce Mayhew and his favorite target, Gary Comstock, have graduated, leaving a gaping hole where the Lions scoring should be. Comstock's 68 catches were good for 816 yards and third in the nation.

Senior John Tribolet, Mayhew's backup for the past two seasons, is the favorite to take over the quarterbacking duties. He will be looking to hook up with juniors Scott Spivey and Mike Sardo on the receiving end.

Big Red Autumn

The receiving end of another Ivy League championship is where Cornell might find itself at the end of this season. The Big Red will once again go as far as the legs of tailbacks John McNiff and Scott Oliaro will carry it.

McNiff earned Ivy League Player of the Week honors after running over Harvard last year, was runner-up for Ivy League Player of the Year, and missed rushing for 1000 yards by only six feet. His average of 161.6 all-purpose yards placed him second in the country.

Oliaro's big game came against Yale, when he rushed for 288 yards on 35 carries and amassed 395 total yards, both Big Red records.

Cornell is also experienced at the receiver position, with senior wideouts Mike Grant, Andy Martin and Pete Reynolds all having starting experience.

The quarterback picture, as it seems to be with every Ivy League team, is cloudy. Chris Cochrane is gone, and who is going to fill his shoes is anybody's guess.

The offensive line is led by first team All-Ivy center Greg Finnegan (6'2", 247), right tackle Rob Schroeder (6'4", 258) and right guard Jason Jenkins (6'1", 248).

With 13 starters returning, the Big Red offense is in good shape. The same cannot be said for the defense.

Second-year coach Jim Hofher returns only five defensive starters. The hardest hit area is the defensive line, which does not have one starter returning.

But, Cornell does have experience at the outside linebacker position, returning seniors Mark Broderick and Chris Mazoue.

Big Green Title?

If Cornell's defense does not hold up, the door could be wide open for Dartmouth to capture another Ivy title this year.

That is, if the Big Green's own inexperienced defense can weather the Ivy League storm.

It was the Big Green defense that paved the way to Dartmouth's share of the Ivy title with Cornell last year. In seven league games, the defense gave up only 65 points and notched two shutouts (of Harvard and Brown).

But this year, only four starters return on the defensive side. Like Cornell, Dartmouth does not return one starter on the defensive line.

Corners Sal Sciretto and Rob Birge return to the secondary, but gone are All-Ivy safeties Brad Preble and Tom Gladden.

The Dartmouth offense is in much better shape. Except, of course, for the loss of Shon Page, last season's Ivy League Player of the Year.

The Big Green will now have to center around Al Rosier. Rosier gained 723 yards last year when his primary task was to clear the way for Page.

Ivy League Sophomore of the Year Matt Brzica returns at quarterback, but his job might not be safe. Sophomore Jay Fiedler is expected to give Brzica a strong challenge in preseason action.

Seniors Jerry Gilbert and Mike Bobo are the stars of the receiving corps.

The offensive line, which took much of the credit for helping Page earn his superb numbers last year, is weakened this year by the loss of Chad Gallentine and Dave Murphy on the left side. The right side is more solid, featuring Lance Brackee at tackle and Mike McCune at guard. Center Greg Rush returns in the middle.

No 'O' in Penn

The last time Pennsylvania fielded a senior-dominated defense, it won the Ivy League title. This year, the defense is once again going to be dominated by seniors, but it is unlikely that Penn will be outfitting itself in championship rings come December.

The anchor of the defensive line is inside linebacker Joe Kopcha, a first team All-Ivy selection last season. Kopcha will be taking aim at the Quakers career tackling record, which is currently held by Kevin Bradley. Three other seniors will be vying for the remaining inside spot.

Despite missing last season, Brian Griffin was voted captain and should start at outside line-backer along with senior Jay Lee.

Senior free safety Tom Oko anchors the secondary, along with three returning starters and five other letterwinners.

That's enough of the good news. The bad news is that the offense is as inexperienced as the defense is seasoned.

Neither junior Fitz McKinnon nor senior Eric Hull established himself as the Quakers quarter-back of the future last year, leaving the signal-calling picture cloudy.

Inexperience abounds at the tailback and receiver positions, as well, but Penn's biggest problem will be trying to replace All-America tackle Joe Valerio.

Tigers Troubles

Last year Princeton coach Steve Tosches had the same problem, only he had to replace All-America running back Judd Garrett. This year, it's a different story.

The 1990 Tigers squad posted Princeton's first losing season since 1986.

The quarterback position will be decided in the preseason, with senior Chad Roghair garnering the inside track. He will be challenged by junior Peter Hess and a trio of sophomores.

Junior running back Erick Hamilton, who led the Tigers in rushing and scoring last year, will be joined by sophomore Keith Elias. In only six freshman games last year, Elias rushed for 1080 yards on 158 carries. Against Columbia, he rushed for 285 yards and three touchdowns.

The Tigers' two leading receivers, senior wide-out Mark Rogers and junior flanker Michael Lerch return this season.

Newcomers will start at tight end, but the offensive line will have some experience, returning three starters.

Three linemen return to anchor the Princeton defense--seniors Mark Johnson, Leon Newsome and Tom Ryan. Newsome's four sacks led the team in that category, and he recovered three fumbles.

Princeton also has experience at linebacker, where all four starters from last year return. The secondary, however, returns only one starter--senior cornerback Marvin Williams.

Bulldog Contenders

The Yale defense started earning a lot of respect late last season, and this year it might just allow the Bulldogs to sneak up on the rest of the Ancient Eight.

Coach Carm Cozza returns nine starters on defense.

On the line, senior Carmine Perrelli and juniors Erik Lee and Fred Howard evolved into one of the Ivy league's best units last year.

Three starters return to the secondary, led by Scott Wagner, a second team academic All-America last year. Wagner led the team with four interceptions last year. He is joined by returning starters Eric Drury and Maurice Saah.

The weakest unit on defense is the linebacker position, where Cozza will try to replace Jerry Joyce, who led the team in tackles last year, and captain Chris Gaughan.

The biggest offense punch from the Elis looks to come from the foot of senior placekicker Ed Perks. Perks led the team in scoring last year with 57 points.

At quarterback Cozza has a decision to make on the successor to the very successful Darin Kehler. He also has to decide whether or not to continue with the wishbone offense that Kehler orchestrated so well. The most experienced quarterback in the lot is Kehler's backup, senior Nick Crawford.

At wide receiver the Eli's Ya-Sin Shabazz returns this season along with Adam Lenain. Shabazz made every one of his 13 catches count last year, picking up 304 yards and two touchdowns.


Nickname: Bears

Coach: Mickey Kwiatowski

Record Last Year: 2-8 Overall, 2-5 Ivy

Last Year vs. Harvard: Harvard, 52-37

Series vs. Harvard: 22-66-2

Captains: Jason Pankau, Rodd Torbert

Lettermen Lost: 26

Letterwinners Returning: 40

Returning Players to Watch: Nick Richardson (QB), Brett Brown (RB), Matt DeSutter (LB), Rick Britton (DB/P)


Nickname: Lions

Coach: Ray Tellier

Record Last Year: 1-9 Overall, 1-6 Ivy

Last Year vs. Harvard: Harvard, 9-6

Series vs. Harvard: 10-38-1

Captains: Chuck Dimitroff, Brad Hutton

Lettermen Lost: 19

Letterwinners Returning: 30

Returning Players to Watch: Colby Bressler (DT), Solomon Johnson (WR), Jason Tarbart (C/OT), Pat Armstrong (C)


Nickname: Big Red

Coach: Jim Hofher

Record Last Year: 7-3 Overall, 6-1 Ivy

Last Year vs. Harvard: Penn, 20-17

Series vs. Harvard: 23-30-2

Captains: TBA

Lettermen Lost: 23

Lettermen Returning: 27

Returning Players to Watch: Chris Zingo (LB), Richard Emmet (DE), Billy Wood (WR), Pete Fitzpatrick (RB)


Nickname: Big Green

Coach: Buddy Teevens

Record Last Year: 7-2-1 Overall, 6-1 Ivy

Last Year vs. Harvard: Dartmouth, 17-0

Series vs. Harvard: 40-50-4

Captains: Mike Bobo, Sal Sciretto, Harry Wright

Lettermen Lost: 36

Letterwinners Returning: 31

Returning Players to Watch: Al Rosier (TB), Neal Martin (FB), Jay Fielder (QB), Chris Mawn (TE)


Nickname: Quakers

Coach: Gary Steele

Record Last Year: 3-7 Overall, 3-4 Ivy

Last Year vs. Harvard: Penn, 24-20

Series vs. Harvard: 21-38-2

Captains: TBA

Lettermen Lost: 23

Lettermen Returning: 32

Returning Players to Watch: Mike Baker (QB), Dave Betten (OLB), Chris Brassell (WR), Kyle Holmbeck (C)


Nickname: Tigers

Coach: Steve Tosches

Record Last Year: 3-7 Overall, 2-5 Ivy

Last Year vs. Harvard: Harvard, 23-20

Series vs. Harvard: 46-30-7

Captain: Jim Freeman

Lettermen Lost: 28

Letterwinners Returning: 18

Returning Players to Watch: Chad Roghair (QB), Erick Hamilton (RB), Keith Elias (RB), Reggie Harris (DT)


Nicknames: Elis, Bulldogs

Coach: Carm Cozza

Record Last Year: 6-4 Overall, 5-2 Ivy

Last Year vs. Harvard: Yale, 34-19

Series vs. Harvard: 58-41-8

Captains: Chris Kouri

Lettermen Lost: 27

Lettermen Returning: 39

Returning Players to Watch: David Kelley (RB), Mark McKane (LB), Dave Iwan (WR), Stu Wilson (TE)

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