Subscribe Now!
GannettUSA Today

Tony Graham

Saturday, September 30, 2006

How did this happen again?

It couldn't happen again but it did.

Two years ago at Kessler Field...Stony Brook 27, Monmouth 0. Seven MU turnovers. Saturday Stony Brook 36, Monmouth 17. Six MU turnovers and one questionable play.

Last year at Stony Brook, Monmouth 36, Stony Brook 7. The trick then is to play these guys on Long Island.

But the six turnovers and the ill-advised run out of punt formation squelched Monmouth Saturday. Of the seven miscues four were turned into touchdowns and one into a field goal. The same MU defense, which shackled Colgate's vaunted Jordan Scott last week, was also gashed for 170 yards by Stony Brook frosh Conte Cuttino. Before Saturday he had rushed for 132 yards total.

By the way, Scott today rushed for 169 yards and a TD as Colgate (2-2) blasted Georgetown 31-14. That's the same Georgetown which blanked Stony Brook earlier this year, 7-0.

Set back by the turnovers Saturday the MU defense didn't make a big play all day..didn't bail out the offense, and again did not register a sack.

It's sort of like a pitcher who, when an error is made behind him, either still limits the damage or becomes Armando Benitz vs. Atlanta.

Saturday the MU defense gave up too many long balls. It appeared totally befuddled on the two long bombs for TDs and turned freshman Conte Cuttino into Jim Brown.

I love Sean Dennis' aggressiveness and ability to make a play when rushed but he was looking at fourth and 12 when he tried to run. Seems to me he had ducked past the first rusher and had time to get the punt away.

And Mike McCelland's fumble after catching a first down pass was another key early play. I don't mean to be harsh, after all these are college kids, but they also are seniors on a team that has post season ambitions and can't be making these kinds of errors.

I guess you chalk it up to a bad day and go from there.

Interestingly after losing to SB in 2004, Monmouth did not lose again. After getting blasted by Monmouth last year, Stony Brook went on to share the NEC title with CCSU while Monmouth faltered.

After today MU, in my opinion, can forget about any NCAA at large bid and must zero in on winning the rest of its games with a shot winning the NEC and hosting the Gridiron Classic vs. the Pioneer League champion.

But MU has an up hill climb now with little margin for error. It has to finish ahead of Stony Brook in the standings or it will lose any tie-breaker with SB via head-to-head.

Here is the Associated Press story on next week's opponent...Sacred Heart..and it looks like MU has got to do something about its ineffective pass rush;

FAIRFIELD, Conn. (AP) -Tyler Arciaga threw three touchdown passes, two of them to Corey Bundy, to lead Sacred Heart to a 25-17 win over Wagner College in the Northeast Conference opener for both teams Saturday.

Wagner (4-1, 0-1) scored first with under a minute left in the first quarter. Sacred Heart (2-3, 1-0) soon got on the board with a 20-yard field goal from senior Nick Passalacqua.

Arciaga threw his first touchdown of the day to Bundy with 6:05 to go in the half, a 26-yarder. Passalacqua missed the extra point, but the Pioneers had a 9-7 lead.

The Seahawks regained the lead when Matt Abbey connected with Turner on the first play for a score and a 14-9 Seahawk lead.

The Pioneers scored four plays later on a 45-yard catch and run from Arciaga to Bundy, but Sacred Heart was penalized for excessive celebration on the touchdown, causing the extra point attempt to come from 35 yards out.

Backup kicker Joe Schroeder missed the kick, but the Pioneers had a 15-14 lead. Wagner then took a 17-15 lead into intermission with a 54-yard field goal by Piotr Czech.

Sacred Heart forced Wagner to punt on its first possession of the second half and the Pioneers turned that into a 22-yard field goal at the other end, taking an 18-17 lead.


See, I told you MU wouldn't have seven turnovers. Instead they had six. Double ouch. Tehnically they had seven if you include Sean Dennis' ill-advised run out of punt formation which he did on his own . SB scored off five of the seven miscues including the attempted first down run run on the punt. Safety Matt Hill (medical reasons,) MU's leading tackler, did not play. More later. Your thoughts on the game???

More MU AP Press football coverage this weekend

I was informed tonight columnist Steve Edleson will join me Saturday to do a column off the MU game. I will have the game story and then a follow for Monday.....soo.... we should be getting a lot of MU football in the paper.

Was at the Midd S.-Wall high school game Friday night. MS has some kids I'm sure Monmouth will be looking well as Wall athlete Tim Wright. Wright and a considerable number of players on both teams are juniors by the way.

If yu get a chance catch the MS-Wall high school game
high lights on Saturday RallyCast. Maybe some of these kids will be at MU in a year or so. South won, 20-7 for its 40th win in a row.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Latest on the MAAC

This from our news reporter Carol Gorga Williams:

The next (board of adjustment) meeting is Oct. 26. The school wanted a special meeting before then but the board was unable to accommodate them. Marc Policastro, an attorney for Monmouth, said the application could be completed in two hearings, which would take it into November.

My take - !!@#@!.

Sooo.. let's be optimistic and say this gets passed in Nov.or Dec. and ground breaking begins in the spring sometime's then about 2-3 years after that when it opens for action....

Stony Brook prediction we go.

At first glance this looks like a slam dunk for MU. But let's look closer. SB's schedule was a killer. What would MU's record be if the Hawks had played Hofstra, Georgetown, and No. 1 UNH and No. 9 UMass?. It wouldn't be 4-0. But it probably wouldn't be 0-4 either (maybe 1-3, perhaps 2-2?).

However ,I don't think MU would have been routed as bady as SB was vs. UNH and UMass. SB wasn't competitive in either game. It was OK vs. Hofstra (17-8) but was shut out by Georgetown (7-0).

SB, with a new coaching staff, is young in many areas on defense. Some of their leading tacklers are sophomores and freshmen.

Monmouth has 18 seniors on its two-deep depth chart. SB is building for the future. Monmouth is built to win this year.

When MU lost at home to SB two years ago it committed SEVEN turnovers. If that happens this time it'll lose again. It won't and Monmouth won't lose this one, at least I don't think so.

MU, 20-7.


Thursday, September 28, 2006

On the radio, etc./Football notes

Tonight (Thursday) and for the rest of the season on Thursdays I will be on WOBM AM (1160 and I think it's broadcast as well on 1310 AM)..talking MU football with Kevin Williams and Ed Sarluca on the Chevy Giant Football Show. For any one has not heard it..the program mainly deals with high school football but we do a Monmouth segment every week...

Actually ..I have been doing this now since last year but have forgotten to mention it this year on the blog until now...

Following are Stony Brook game notes highlights from the Monmouth U. web site:

Head Coach: Stony Brook is led by first-year head coach Chuck Priore. Priore and the Seawolves are 0-4 on the season, with 48-7 a loss to nationally-ranked UMass on Saturday. Priore comes from Trinity College where he had a 30-game winning streak with the Bantams and was also an assistant at Penn.

Offense: The Seawolves have struggled in 2006 on offense, getting out-scored 134-22 through four games. Junior Josh Dudash and senior Andrew Garrett have almost split time at quarterback this season. Dudash has completed
55 percent of his passes, throwing for 407 yards and registering the team's only touchdown through the air. On the ground, Steve Austin and Conte Cuttino have carried the load for Stony Brook. Austin has 118 yards on 27 attempts this season for a 4.1 average and a long of 21. Cuttino has 100 yards on 32 attempts. Senior Mike Cosentino leads the team in receptions and yardage with 201 yards on 18 catches. Sophomore Dwayne Eley is second on the team in receptions with 11 for 109 yards.

Defense: Stony Brook's defense has allowed 33.3 points per game in 2006, with opponents racking up 211 yards per game on the ground against them. Senior outside linebacker Richie Richards leads the team in tackles with 11 solo and 15 assisted for 26 total. He also is tied for second on the team in tackles for a loss with two, including a sack. Sophomore Chris Merkle is second on the team in stops with 23. Sophomore defensive back Milo Otis has the team's only interception and freshman linebacker Tyler Santucci leads the Seawolves with three tackles for a loss. Stony Brook's best defensive performance
of the year came against Georgetown, when they held the Hoyas to seven points but the offense was unable to score against the Patriot League opponent.

Note: frosh Cory Giddings (Ocean) starts at corner for SB. Was also recruited by Monmouth.

Special Teams: Placekicker Matt Weeks has not attempted a field goal in 2006. Sean McGinty leads the NEC in punts, averaging 36.8 on a league-high 36 attempts. J.J. Cox Jr. leads the Seawolves in kick returns, averaging 18.1 yards per return with a long of 31 yards on 10 attempts. Cuttino has also taken six returns for a 135 yards or 22.5 yards per return. Eley has taken all 11 punt returns for the Seawolves.

Monmouth senior quarterback needs just 11 yards to become the Hawk all-time leader in passing yards. He currently has 6,219 and is 10 yards behind former Hawk Dan Sabella for first. Boland also needs just three touchdown passes to tie Sabella for first in passing TDs. Even more impressive is the fact that he also needs just 20 attempts and 12 completions to tie Sabella's records in those two categories.

Brian is No. 24 in 1-AA football in pass efficiency rating (139.0). For comparison, leader is Jarred Rucker of Bethune Cookman (188.2).

You can go to and find links to just about every category known to man and beast

As a team Monmouth ranks first in the NEC in Red Zone Defense this season, allowing their opponents just three scores in seven attempts for 42.9 percent. The Hawks have given up just one touchdown and two field goals when opponents are inside the MU Red Zone. The Hawks scoring
defense of 10.50 points per game is seventh among all teams that participate in I-AA football.

This season the Hawks have been the best team in the NEC in penalty yardage, committing just 19 penalties this season for 39.5 yards per game. Last season Monmouth finished sixth in the eight-team conference in penalty yardage
committed per game with 74.8 penalty yards per game. Sacred Heart has committed the most penalties thus far this season, averaging almost 65 yards per game.

However, penalties have cost MU four TD the last two games.

I found this next item interesting: good note from Greg Viscomi (MU football SID):

No. NAME CLASS RUSHES (pct) YARDS (pct) AVG. LONG TD’s (pct)
30 David Sinisi RS-FR 46 (39%) 188 (39.1%) 4.1 32 4 (57.1%)
22 Leonard Brice SR 49 (41.5%) 179 (37.2%) 3.7 22 1 (14%)
7 Rob Lutz SR 17 (14.4%) 72 (15%) 4.2 11 1 (14%)
25 Ryan Skorupka FR 6 (5%) 42 (8.7%) 7.0 24 1 (14%)

Below is from the SB web site.. a weekly letter on the web site from coach is part of it

Offensively (in last week's loss to UMass) we saw good play from our starting quarterback, Josh Dudash '08 (Beachwood, N.J.), who completed 15 of 28 passes for 150 yards. Josh did an excellent job of distributing the football around the field, hooking up with seven different receivers. His favorite target, Mike Cosentino '07 (Staten Island, N.Y.), had another good game with five receptions for 60 yards. He now leads the team with 18 catches for 205 yards. In the first quarter, with the score already 21-0, the offense showed resilience and promise by orchestrating a 12-play drive that took 6:30 off the clock. Undoubtedly these types of drives will result in points for the Seawolves versus NEC competition.

This weekend we open our league schedule against Monmouth. Monmouth has started the season 4-0, including a big win over Colgate. They are an experienced team with 10 returning seniors starting on their defense, a talented QB and an efficient offense. We will prepare this week no differently than any other week and when Saturday rolls around we will certainly play to our fullest potential.

Note from me: By leaving the NEC early (it had a contract through 2010 but will be gone after this year) SB will pay the NEC a penalty that amounts to $40,000 ($10,000 per year is its dues as an associate member). MU will continue to play least through next year.

Probably coming in the next blog or Stony Brook prediction. I only started this last week and am 1-0. Maybe I should quit while I'm ahead!!!

Q & A with coach Callahan, the latest on the MAAC, hoops news

Went over to MU today..watched some football practice and some hoops and asked questions of coach Callahan that had been asked on this blog. His answers are in quotes:

On a possible future football game with Princeton."Nothing has been talked about. I'd love to (play Princeton). I think it would be terrific, I think it would be a great non-conference game for both of us.'' On whether Monmouth has inquired of playing Princeton. ""We've inquired in the past but haven't recently. But we'd love to get something going.''

My take - Princeton wants no part of Monmouth. They could lose and it would be embarrassing. It took years for MU to get Princeton on its basketball schedule so it may happen some day.

Any higher level (NFL) interest in any current Hawks. "You'd have to ask people at the higher level.'

My take - At this time last year there had been all sort of interest in Miles Austin. I know of no NFL scouts who have asked to watch a Monmouth practice or a game. If they have no one has told me and I'm sure Callahan would. It would be another feather in MU's football cap.

Problem of the MU defense which, though playing well, has struggled in the sack area. ""We're not doing a good enough job getting of the blocks and getting to the quarterback. That's one of the things in the last couple of weeks we've been a little bit concerned about and we're working on it. It's something we have to improve upon.

My take - Yes. MU has to get more pressure on opposing quarterbacks whether it's from the front three or four or via blitzing. However, as MU defensive tackle Dan Sizelove pointed out when I talked with him about it, MU has been facing mobile quarterbacks for the most part.

MU's schedule for next year: Non-conference opponents - Stonybrook (which will be an independent), Lafayette, Delaware, and St. Peter's. Callahan said at least Delaware, Lafayette, and St. Peter's will be on the road. Bottom line: MU will spend a lot of money on gas in 2007.

On possible renovation or expansion of Kessler Field: "There are some preliminary plans and drawings but I haven't heard anything in a while.''

My take - Nothing significant will be done with Kessler Field until the MAAC is built. That seems to be the key to any and all upgrade of facilities including looking to perhaps join another conference or league..

Which brings us to the MAAC. There is a WLB board of adjustment meeting tonight but have been told by our newsroom MU Thursday night will request a delay in the Board of Adjustment vote until the next meeting (Oct. 26) because it couldn't get its "Traffic expert" to testify until then. As you the last resident..ONE - made a big fuss over possible traffic issues with the new arena even though MU had already completed and, I believe, submitted a study of same to the WLB panel. So now they'll do it again and this one resident will delay the vote for at least another month.

On MU hoops..nothing much to report from Wednesday's pick up action. Freshman Youngblood continus to impress as a point and or shooting guard as does freshman shooter Yaniv Simpson with his 3-point accuracy. Am not going to mention everyone though on a break Youngblood delivered a pass with sparks on it to Dejan Delic for a layup. ""Deki" also shot well.

Mike Shipman (foot), Rickie "The Rookie" Crews (minor soreness) and John Bunch (knee )did not play. All are expected to at the least be ready for Oct 14 practice per MU trainer.

Coach Calloway gave me next year's non-conference home schedule. MU will host Princeton and Penn, also Texas A & M Corpus Christie, and Rider. MU will visit Seton Hall, Hartford, and St. Peter's..some other games (probably on the road) are yet to be scheduled. Also..MU will return to the Paradise Jam Tournament, field yet to be announced.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Monmouth bound

Heading over to MU today to watch some football practice and some hoops.

Coming in Thursday predictions on order of finish in NEC football, and Friday on the blog, a look at the Stonybrook game.

I'll also be blogging sometime this evening (if not sooner) after returning from MU.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

We're back..I hope

Since last night until now I couldn't access the blog but hopefully we're back in action.

More later


This is a test of the blog which does not seem to be viewable

Monday, September 25, 2006

Possible Top 25 for Monmouth?

Monmouth (4-0) moved to No. 3 in this week's Sports Network 1-AA Mid…Major Poll behind Albany (3-1) of the Northeast Conference and No. 1 San Diego (3-0) of the Pioneer League. Monmouth also received 14 votes in the "Also receiving votes" portion of the SN 1-AA Mid-Major national poll.
BUT the big news is.......Albany is ranked for the first time in the SN Top 25 replacing CCSU at No. 23 and is ranked for the first time in school history while becoming the second Northeast Conference school to earn a top 25 nod. The Great Danes knocked off Central Connecticut State, the first ranked NEC team, to earn a spot in the poll.

Sooo.... if MU runs the regular season table.. meaning it beats a top 25 ranking in the cards.?? Or..if it continues to win and Albany stumbles does it earn a nod sooner?

I know this is placing the cart well before the horse, not to mention the pony and the colt, but..hey..this is fun isn't it?

On some of the questions being asked on the blog I'm going over to MU practice and see coach Callahan Wednesday so will ask him blog questions then rather than pepper him with numerous questions at this time. OK?


Complete story

Due to space considerations parts of the story I sent the Press for Monday had to be cut. These things happen. But here is the complete version ( I hate quotes going to waste - don't you?)

If it seemed as if the defense of Monmouth University football team was zeroing in on
Colgate sophomore tailback Jordan Scott Saturday there was a reason for that.
It did.
""He's one of the best backs in the nation, a preseason All-American, of
course you're looking at him,'' said Monmouth coach Kevin Callahan.
On his first carry in Saturday's 17-12 Monmouth victory, Scott zipped for a
seven-yard gain. Scott also reeled off a nine-yard carry in the second half
but these were few and far between.
Saturday the Hawk defense held Scott, a Third Team All-America running back last
season, to 43 yards on 21 carries.
That was a far cry from the prior week when Scott went 65 yards for a TD
vs. Dartmouth on Colgate's first offensive play en route to a 169 yard, three
Colgate senior quarterback Mike Saraceno racked up a season high 240
yards with two interceptions (David Jiles, Derek Bischoff) but Monmouth
was willing to surrender some passing yardage to prevent Scott from dominating
the game.
""Andy Bobik (Monmouth defensive coordinator) put the scheme together to
try and take the run away from them, try and make them one dimensional.''
said Callahan.
Perhaps two consecutive moments Saturday illustrated that Monmouth had
Scott under control.
With Monnmouth in front 7-0 near the end of the first quarter, on third-and-
two at the Monmouth 35, linebackers Mike
Nunzato and Anthony Addonizio nailed Scott for a one-yard loss.
On the next play linebacker Mike Castellano dropped Scott shy of first down
""We all played very well,'' said Castellano, a Feehold Township High
School graduate. ""We did a great job tackling. Everyone went after the
ball, the "D" line got a good push, the linebackers were running around, the
secondary was filling. Everyone did an excellent job of stopping him.''
""They got a little bit more success (in the air), a couple of plays there with a little
more room than we would have wanted,'' said Callahan. ""But I thought we did a great job
against the run.''
Castellano said Monmouth had game planned for Scott and Saraceno's roll outs. ""We drilled it all week,'' Castellano said.
Saraceno said Colgate was not taking Monmouth lightly.
""We knew they were
a good team and had a good defense coming in,'' said Saraceno. ""We
definitely didn't underestimate them. We knew they were going to be real
""They like to get their offense on the field. They only play with three or
four down lineman and everybody else is a pretty good athlete.''


A couple of things

First - Mike Nunziatio had the block of the PAT vs. Colgate Saturday according to Monmouth. Colgate had listed Matt Hill and Bryan Bischoff.

Now - the biggie. What happens (and this remains a lonnnnnnnng shot) if the NEC regular season football champ (or the Pioneer League champ) receives an at large bid to the 1-AA playoffs?. As we know the NEC has a written agreement with the Pioneer League to play that league's champion in the Gridiron Classic Nov. 18 at the NEC champions' field.

After speaking with NEC associate commissioner Ron Ratner this morning....that agreement holds. Nothing has been decided or discussed in the event of a 1-AA berth.

HOWEVER..this is my gut feeling.. I find it inconceivable that after all these many years of seeking a playoff bid the NEC would turn one down. I think in that eventuality the two leagues (NEC and Pioneer) would work something out (second place team replaces first place team in the game, etc.) This is merely my opinion.

Also, in my opinion - Albany probably has the best shot (still a lonnnnng) shot of receiving an at large bid if it runs the table which would include a win over Cornell this week plus its wins over Lehigh and Delaware. The loss to Fordham might be overlooked in that instance. In the NEC it would have beaten CCSU and Monmouth.

Monmouth's chances of gaining an at large berth if it goes 11-0? Win over Colgate - I think - is significant but wins over St. Peter's, Morgan State, and Fordham carry less weight. Of course it would also have beaten CCSU and Albany. Sooo..I imagine it would rate some selection committee discussion.

But there are only eight 1-AA football at large berths and NEC has never gotten a whisper of a bid.. far as I know-- even when Sacred Heart and Robert Morris have been unbeaten in the past. I'm not saying it (a bid for MU) can't happen but I would be surprised.

Also..there is something to be said for playing in the Gridiron Classic. As with men's hoops last year, was meeting Hampton in the "play-in" round better for MU than going directly to the Field of 64 and getting Duke? You betcha.

Does MU benefit from getting UNH in a first round 1-AA playoff game? Maybe...but maybe not. Sometimes baby steps are the best strides.

Down the road the NEC feels the 1-AA football field will eventually expand as other football leagues become eligible for the 1-AA playoffs, but that could still be a few to more than a few years away.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Reflections on the Colgate game..a hoops note

Monmouth won because it kept Colgate TB Jordan Scott under wraps. Yes, it gave up a lot of passing yardage but controlled the game for the most part.

First Colgate TD was short field set up by a long kick off return, second was the fumble return.

Individual highlight of the game I thought was the 55-yard TD by Dave Sinisi on the fake punt that didn't count via the holding call. Sinsi had another solid game (he also plays special teams). MU's backfield is very diversified.. hard to defend I think. Differing styles..between Brice, Sinisi, and Lutz, and Boland also has to be accounted for. Bur defense won this game (it usually does).

As for the refs...I never blame refs one way or the other though it would have been tempting if MU had lost.

How many times do you see FOUR TD called back in one game. At least it evened up..two on each side.

Holding call on the Sinisi TD may have been accurate or close to it. . On TV replay it looked as if someone ((Addonizio was announced as the culprit) was grabbing a red (Colgate) jersey. On the roughing the passer call on Sizelove that cost Matt Hill an INT..I didn't see that well enough on replay to make a comment...nor did I see clearly the replay that cost Lutz his TD (yes I was at the game! Some of those replays were very quick..this wasn't Fox coverage).

But Colgate had the two TDs called back, it seemed to even out. MU has now had four TD called back over the last two weeks.

Very key series was Monmouth's drive to the FG after the Colgate fumble return. MU drove 60 yards in 11 plays over 5:22 resulting in the Fred Weingart FG (productive game by "Freddie the Foot") that made it 17-12 with 5:17 remaining. Most of the plays in the drive were runs

On Monmouth's classic 91 yard TD march in 17 plays consuming 7:29 off the clock for its first score, MU converted four third downs (a Boland rush, a Boland to San Miguel pass, a Boland pass to Pat Codd, and a Boland 12-yard pass to Sinisi that set up Sinsi's three-yard TD), and the fourth down Dennis 12-yard run on fourth and six.
I didn't ask (forgot, but I will), but do not believe that was a designed play.

In my opinion MU's biggest single game football win (considering the ilk of the opponent) in its 14 years of football. No matter what happens the rest of the year, 2006 will always be remembered for this victory.

In Monday's Press we review with quotes the MU defense that Saturday
curtailed the dangerous Scott (he had eight 100 yard games as a frosh and one this year) with coach Callahan and Mike Castellano.

On Thursday, with MU opening its league season Saturday vs. Stonybrook (0-4), a glance at each NEC team. Two of Stonybrookj losses were blowouts to No.9 UMass and No. 1 New Hampshire. Others to Hofstra 1708 and Georgetown 7-0.

A basketball note here: MU soph point guard Mike Shipman suffered a foot injury in practice recently but coach Calloway said MRI revealed no serious damage and he should be out about 2-3 weeks.

Sunday I drive back to the Shore. It should be a pleasant trip.

That was something!

I'll be back later tonight when I have more time. What a job the defense did on Scott. Were you nervous when it got to 14-12? My pick on the score was 17-13. I can't believe I was that close. I've gotta hit the race track quick.

MU 7-0 at the half - my thoughts

Two big penalties hurt MU in the first half but one on Colgate at the end wiped out a Colgate TD.

From TV replays - the roughing the passer call on Dan Sizelove which wiped out a Matt Hill INT appeared to be borderline at best but the hold on Anthony Addonizio on the Dave Sinisi TD appeared to be valid.

The clipping call on Colgate negated a possible tying TD.

Observations: MU doing a great job on RB Jordan Scott (14 carries for 23 yards) but MU is getting no pass rush to speak of on QB Mike Saraceno. (9-15-1, 159) .

Brian Boland (8-15-0, 54 yards plus 31 yards rushing) is having a solid day for MU and that with two balls dropped. The 91-yard TD drive was impressive to say the least.

If MU can forge a two TD lead it will win.

Here we are!!

What a modern press box (hint! hint!) with mountains off to the east. One road leads into town.. with Colgate buildings on both sides of the road. Very much looks like an Ivy League campus.

Watching the teams warm up Sean Dennis just hit a 52-yard field goal. Interesting to see who attempts the FGs today. Weather: Cloudy..around 60. Rain has stopped. At CB senior Ayo Falae starts in place of Marcus Shell (out with a shoulder injury).

In observing Colgate in warm ups they didn't seem to be much bigger if they were bigger at all than MU. Key still remains for MU is stopping the TB Jordan Scott of Colgate

Very small crowd so far at 11 minutes before kick off. But there are definitely a good MU fans here, sitting just below press area behind the MU bench.

Well..let's see what happens.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Watch the game on your computer!

The following is from the MU web site:

The game will be broadcasted live on Time Warner Sports in upstate New York. Fans who have high-speed internet connections can log onto and sign up for live streaming video of the game.

Those who cannot make it to Andy Kerr Stadium can listen to all the action on WMCX, 88.9 FM and over the internet at

Fred's Inn, Norwich, NY

Well..that's where myself and my wife are staying here in Norwich, N.Y., about 30 minutes north of Binghampton.

For dinner Fred is going to cook the rabbit he shot and the ""facilities" are only about 10 yards from the door. I only stay at the finest locales.

Just kidding, this is a really nice place about 20-30 minutes from Colgate.

I did not make it here in time to attend MU's practice today at Colgate but chatted tonight with football SID Greg Viscomi. He reports MU had a walk through today and a light practice and worked on some special teams play. That would be the usual fare for a Friday before a Sat game. The team came up in two buses and is staying in Utica, north of Colgate.

Here are some comments from MU coach Kevin Callahan earlier this week about the success NEC teams have had vs. non-conference opponents this season: "I'm very happy for what other teams in the NEC have done. I'm happy with the way they've been able to go out and represent the conference in non-league games. Hopefully we'll be able to represent our conference as well.''

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Rain on the parade?

Latest official forecast....

316 PM EDT THU SEP 21 2006


A "recognition game"/little known fact/my prediction/game notes

This is, in my opinion, a "recognition game" for Monmouth. Win and the Hawks get a lot more ink, notoriety, etc. than they do if they beat any NEC foe. True, NEC games are more important in the overall scheme of 2006 and if they win this and don't win the NEC it's just a nice feather in the cap (better than none though) and if they lose this and win the NEC..well no none expected them to beat Colgate anyway. So it's sort of a win-win situation for Monmouth. A loss does no irreparable damage, but a win would make a big splash.

A little known fact that could have bearing on this game. While Colgate soph TB Jordan Scott went 65 yards for a TD on the team's first play last week, MU hasn't had a back rush at least 60 for a score since Chad Smith, Sept. 22, '01 when he went 60 vs. CCSU.

I think, to some degree, what has separated MU from the ""bigger time" programs it has faced in the past has been the lack of a home run hitter in the backfield. Perhaps Dave Sinisi or Ryan Skorupka or someone else can eventually be that person, but Colgate already has one.

To me this game with Colgate comes down to wehther MU can contain Scott somewhat and control the QB Mike Saraceno a fifth year senior. Probably a whole lot easier said than done.

However, though Scott had a big game vs. Dartmouth last week it was only 14-7 Colgate going into the fourth quarter. Dartmouth was picked seventh in the eight-team Ivy League.

Also...will Colgate and eventually other teams start double-teaming MU WR Adam San Miguel and can Brian Boland rely on other options? MU does have depth at WR and two good TEs in John Nalbone and Patt Codd. Adam has become Monmouth's home run hitter, through the air at least.

Boland is having a fine year so far. In this battle of fifth year senior QBs MU has to at least come out even, if not ahead.

In its opener Colgate listed 22 frosh or sophs on its two-deep while MU lists 11 this week, so MU has the overall experience advantage, it would seem especially on the lines.

Another key: MU special teams. Punter Sean Dennis seemed a tad rusty last week, understandable after his initial two-week game layoff but needs to unoad some boomers this week. Fred Weingart has already missed more field goals (four) than he did all of last year (three) and has even missed two PATs after going 30-for-30 in 2005. True, one failed FG try and one failed PT attempt this season were in the monsoon at Fordham. But ""Freddie the Foot" was flat out stunningly accurate last year and he needs to return to that form for Monmouth to win the close games.

Now - My prediction (drum roll please). Logic and common sense tells me to pick Colgate. But that's never held me back before. Colgate is not Penn State. CCSU beat it up there last year on a late field goal, 24-22.

If MU wins this game and I didn't pick them I'd be kicking myself all the way back down Route 12. The NEC has done strikingly well this year vs. the Patriot and other leagues (see CCSU win over Ga. Southern).

This, I believe, is a winnable game for MU and it wins, 17-13 (just don't bet the college tuition).

Below I have included some of the MU press game notes courtesy of MU football SID Greg Viscomi who is doing a fine job..especially putting up with me. Who do you think drove Thomas Dick into retirement?. Just kidding. I hope. Anyway, TD is at Texas doing baseball and other sports if you hadn't heard.

MONMOUTH AGAINST THE PATRIOT LEAGUE... Monmouth University is 3-3 all-time against members of the Patriot League, with it’s most recent win coming this season against Fordham. MU’s other two wins were against Georgetown. The Blue & White are 0-1 against Lafayette and 0-2 against Lehigh. The Mountain Hawks were the only PL team that MU faced in 2005, with Monmouth suffering their worst defeat of the season in Bethlehem, Pa., 54-26.

YOU CAN GO HOME AGAIN Prior to accepting the head coaching position at Monmouth in August of 1992, MU coach Kevin Callahan served as assistant coach at Colgate University for eight seasons. While with the Red Raiders, Callahan served as assistant head coach and defensive coordinator, while tutoring the linebackers and secondary.
He also coordinated recruiting efforts for Colgate. Callahan coached 11 All-Patriot League players as the Raiders’ defensive coordinator. Colgate allowed just 111.9 rushing yards per game in 1987 to rank ninth in the country. In 1990, CU was among the nation’s leaders in total defense and set a team record for fewest total yards allowed in an 11-game season. MU defensive coordinator Andy Bobik played for and coached with the Raiders (six years) and is a 1982 graduate of Colgate.

A look at Colgate

Head Coach: Colgate is headed up by 11th year coach Dick Biddle, who has led the Raiders to five I-AA playoff appearances and five Patriot League titles. The Raiders are 1-1 this season after losing 28-7 to No. 11 UMass but bouncing
back the next week against Dartmouth with a 28-7 victory.

Offense: Senior quarterback Mike Saraceno has taken all of the snaps under center this season, throwing for 279 yards on 29-of-39 passing. He threw his first touchdown of the season to tightend Brent Dillingham against Dartmouth
last weekend but also has two picks on the year. Sophomore tailback Jordan Scott leads the Raiders on the ground with 252 total yards through two games. Scott was just named PL Offensive Player of the Week after racking up 169 yards and three touchdowns against Dartmouth. Saraceno is second on the team in rushing with 34 yards. Kenny Parker and Erik Burke are one-two this season for the Raiders in reception yardage with 86 and 81 yards, respectively.

Defense: Traditionally, Colgate has been stingy in rush defense, holding opponents
to under 100 yards rushing 52 times in the last 11 seasons. The Raiders lead the Patriot League in total defense this season, holding opponents
to 233 yards per game, 116.5 rushing and 116.5 passing. Junior linebacker
Mike Gallihugh leads the team in tackles with 22 this season. David Wesley ranks second on the team with 14. The ‘Gate defense has forced three turnovers in two games, with Cody Williams and Andrew Moore picking off passes and Geoff Bean recovering a fumble. Colgate has recorded just two sacks in 2006. Special Teams: Sophomore kicker Jacob Stein has averaged 62 yards on kickoffs this season but has struggled field goal kicking, going 0-2 this season (both of the kicks were of 40+ yards). Jason Sutton handles the punting for Colgate and has averaged 37.4 yards net this season with three kicks inside the 20. Colgate has blocked one punt this season. Saftey Geoff Bean has handled all of the kickoff returns for Colgate, averaging 20.3 yards per return with a long of 40 yards.

Some MU notes of interest


n the third quarter of Monmouth’s game against Saint Peter’s, senior quarterback
Brian Boland tossed up a 65 yard bomb to wide-out Adam San Miguel. Not only did that pass put the Hawks at first and goal from the nine, but it also put Boland No. 1 in total offense among all Monmouth players. Boland finished the game with 20 completions for 226 yards, moving his career total offense numbers to 6,234, pass Hawk QB Dan Sabella by 87 yards. Boland is still on the hunt to become Monmouth’s all-time leader in a number of other offensive categories,
including, completions, passing yards, passing touchdowns, attempts and completion percentage

Also..Boland is three TD passes from tying Dan Sabella's school record of 52.


Out of Boland’s 20 receptions against the Peacocks, 11 of them were to senior wide-out Adam San Miguel. San Miguel’s 11 receptions for 168 yards were both career highs for him, which would have been even higher if his 96 yard touchdown
reception wasn’t called back. His performance against Saint Peter’s moved him up one spot to fourth all-time in career receptions with 95 and jumped him up two positions on MU’s all-time receiving yards list. The North Bergen, N.J., native now has 1,155 receiving yards in his three-year career.

Now it's time to pack my lunch (and maps) for the trip. Any lakes around there? Do I bring my fishing pole? Decisions. Decisions. Decisions.


Thoughts and notes

Went over to MU today for football. Also watched a lot of men's hoops in pick up games. That MU exhibition game for Dec. 17 with Stockton is all but official...probably a 4-pm tip off.

As for hoops..not everyone participated. Of those who did Marques Alston looked VERY good, slashing to the hoop and hitting from deep. Whitney Coleman, Rickie the Rookie - hey I just found a nickname for Rickie Crews - and frosh Youngblood also played well. John Bunch ran on the side..looked Ok as far as his knees and legs go, at least I thought he did. I didn't menton everyone I know. Som weren't there or didn't play. Others were Ok but no highlights to mention.

On the next post much more on football...and my long awaited (well, maybe by somebody) Colgate prediction..

By the way two former Shore Conference players suit up for Colgate..Junior Ryan Miller (Colts Neck) starts at defensive end and freshman Ryan Gross (Southern Reg.) started at center last week.

The big game this week in the NEC has CCSU (3-0) at Albany (2-1) which should have championship implications. MU plays CCSU in its third to last game of the season (MU home coming) and ends at Albany.....sooo...if Hawks are doing well up to that point they will probably control their own destiny.

Monmouth victims this season are 1-7. Morgan State (1-2) won its first game last week 28-20 over Division II Bowie State while Fordham (1-2) was waffled by Columbia, 37-7. The prior week Fordham had upset Albany which otherwise has beaten Lehigh and Delaware. As I said on an earlier blog...go figure.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Count down to Colgate kick off

The remainder of the week: Plan to go over to MU football practice Wednesday and also check out the men's hoopsters again. Thursday I am at a high school football game. Then Friday it's off to beautiful upstate NY. Any early thoughts on Saturday's outcome? I will publish my prediction (pant! pant!) Friday. Colgate has a young line but its RB is on the Walter Payton watch list.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Directions to Colgate

I saw a number of routes on the web...this looked the best to me, from the Monmouth U. area anyway...

I am making the trip to cover the game and this is what I plan to use (so when I break down be sure to give me a lift!)

From North Central N.J.: Follow I-80 West (you can get on via 280 off the GSP and take that to 80) Exit to I-380 northwest toward Scranton, to I-81 north to Binghamton. Exit 6 for Route 12 north to Sherburne, and 12B to Hamilton.

Somhow I figure that in Hamilton (Pop 2,600) Colgate will be hard to miss...

I am told about a five hour ride. I believe I am going up Friday just to be safe.

MU football follow story

It will run tomorrow (Tuesday) per my boss. Sorry it did not run today. Space issues. If it makes you feel any better we had nothing on Rutgers today either. Thank you for your understanding.


Sunday, September 17, 2006

This week

Writing for Monday on how MU hopes to avoid more penalties like those which cost it those long plays Saturday, for Thursday on Adam San Miguel and his fearless approach to punt returns, and, of course..for Saturday, a Colgate preview.

I hope to make the trip to Colgate...the Press should let me know by Monday at some point.

Here is the AP story on Colgate's win Saturday:'
HAMILTON, N.Y. (AP) -Jordan Scott ran for three touchdowns and 169 yards to lead Colgate to a 28-7 win over Dartmouth on Saturday.

The sophomore tailback, who also caught two passes for 28 yards, ran 65 yards on the first play from scrimmage for the Raiders (1-1). He scored on runs of two yards in the third quarter and seven yards late in the fourth quarter.

Colgate quarterback Mike Saraceno completed 14 of 16 passes for 175 yards. He threw one interception and a 15-yard scoring pass in the fourth quarter to Brent Dillingham and ran for 38 yards on eight carries.

Dartmouth (0-1) took the lead 7-6 in the second quarter after a field goal was blocked by Ian Wilson. The Big Green then scored on a 56-yard drive capped by Milan Williams' one-yard run and Andrew Kempler's extra point.

Ton Bennewitz was 14-for-22 throwing for 102 yards for Dartmouth.

By the way... UMass (2-1) which beat Colgate 28-7..beat Villanova (0-3) Saturday, 31-21. UMass 'loss was to Navy 21-20. CCSU won at Colgate last year, 24-22.

Also..any thoughts on my men's hoop non-conference predictions. Reasonable? Right on? Way off? Etc.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Catching up

A few things...

After double checking, my explanation of the MU scholarship football situation is correct..MU and all NEC schools can have the equivalent of a maximum of 30 scholarship players on the team at one time. That means if they are divided in half they could have 60 players on half scholarships, etc.

As for football recruiting...MU can evaluate players live right on through the end of the high school season. In past years there were some NCAA restrictions during the season but no more.

I have no specifics but I believe I am safe in saying MU, now armed with scholarships, will be going after the best players in the Shore and NJ.and some from out of state they can track. MU may now more seriously compete with the likes of Delaware, Hofstra, etc. for players .

Like in basketball there are some kids (ie Knowshon Moreno) who are big time D1 and out of reach but the scholarships places MU within reach of a caliber of athlete they had no shot at before..but this holds true for all NEC schools.

As for playing Rutgers as someone mentioned..I think that's a waaaays down the road. MU would like to play Princeton in football but that hasn't come about..

The whole key to further upgrading MU athletes is the proposed new basketball arena. Once that's up and running MU could think about a higher level conference, about maybe doing some things with Kessler Field. There are thought of at least expanding the football press box (hooray!!) and a baseball pressbox is in the works.

But consider this. When Rider and Marist left the NEC in the late '90's they trumpeted loudly their joining the MAAC. Well since many times has their men's basketball teams been to the NCAAs? The answer is none. MU has gone three times since and MU fans have enjoyed new heights of excitement. So you always have to look before you leap (very original phrase.. right?) but it makes sense.

This weekend plans for tonight are to do a column at the BlueClaws at MU fball tomorrow..and the TRN-Brick game tomorrow night..I mention this only because it will cut down on my blogging volume some what until later tomorrow night....Thanks for your patience.

Football prediction (no suspense); A further look at MU hoops non-conference schedule

First, in football: MU, 38-0. It could be higher.

Thought some of you may be interested in this. Went to Lindy's College
Basketball magazine and put down the magazine's predictions for all of Monmouth's non-conference men's baskeball opponents.

Here they are, though not in exact order of MU's schedule. They are listed
home or
away with the league favorite in parenthesis. Also a W means I think MU wins the game, L is a loss, T is a toss up:

Old Dominion (A) 6th in 12-team Colonial Ath. Association (Hofstra) L
Clemson (N) 9th in 12 team ACC (UNC)T (I think MU has a chance)
Akransas State (N) 7th in seven-team Sun Belt Eastern Division (New Orleans) W
Lehigh (H) 3rd in eight-team Patriot League (Bucknell)W
St. Peter's (H) 9th in 10-team MAAC (Marist, our old NEC buddy)W
Rider (A) 8th in MAAC T
Penn (A) 1st in Ivy L
Loyola Marymount (H) 3rd in eight-team West Coast Conference (Gonzaga) T
Hartford (H) 9th in 9 team America East (Vermont) W
Seton Hall (A) 14th in Big East (UConn)L
Houston (A) 2nd in Conference USA (Memphis)L
Texas A & M Corpus-Christie (A) third in Southland (Sam Houston State)L

How many wins for MU do you see? Lately Monmouth has not done well in
non-conference games...I think MU can beat Ark State, Lehigh, St. Peter's,
maybe Rider but it's on the road, and Hartford. Maybe Loy Marymount in an
upset as it's here. That's about 4-6 wins of 12. 5-6 wins Ok to good. Less than 4, not good.

PS..I write the NEC for Lindy's and
picked MU second to Robert Morris..Colonials have everyone back rom last
year's 15-14, 10-8 NEC team, a frosh
seven-footer who local hoops guru Steve Keller tells me is the real deal, and
preseason Player of the Year in A.J. Jackson, and beat MU twice last year...of
course..I could be wrong.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

MU football scholarship question and answer

This came in from muhawkfan and I thought for anyone who has a question in this area it can be addressed here..

Here is the comment from muhawkfan: Whats up with the scholarships, less than 10 ? Thats pretty sad, i think they get 23 i could be wrong.Should have been broken up into partials. This way most of the players including the upper class could of gotten some money.Who's decesion was it to give them out this way the coach or the A.D.?

My comment: Right. Marilyn is trying to ruin the program! C'mon muhawkfan...get a grip here.

As I understand it .... NEC football programs are now allowed up to 30 full football rides..maximum...on a roster as of this season and for the foreseeable future. That's not 30 per year.. that's 30 on a roster at any one time. Total. So it would not make sense to dole out all 30 now in the freshman class. Then you'd have none for the next three years.

MU gave "less than 10" this year per coach..and I'm sure some were partials divided among more than 10 players. Also..the rides were only allowed to go to freshmen.otherwise it would have caused league wide chaos on the rosters.

Say MU adds 10 or so to next year's frosh..that makes maybe 20 for a rough and very unofficial figure ....then it has to be careful so that in year four it still has scholarships to give. Who knows? By that time the NEC may be offering even more scholarships..especially if it ever gets the automatic bid to the NCAAs.

I believe D 1-AA schools are allowed around 60 full rides on a team at any one time ...Anyway..""less than 10" at this time seems prudent.. and don't worry...I am sure MU has it worked out for future seasons. Callahan is a stickler for detail. Trust me on that one.

I will double check with MU about the above numbers and if there are any corrections to what I have written here I will let everyone know.

Oops! Forgot to hit the comments button!!!

Forgot to activate the post a comment access on the last two blogs - on the red-shirt rule, and the long day. My bad. Soooo...if you would like to comment on those or any other recent posts please do it on this one. apologies.

Also... you can always e-mail me at

Again reviewing the red shirt rule; more on hoops

Here is the direct quote from MU football coach Kevin Callahan on the red shirt rules, ""As soon as you appear in a game it constitutes a year of eligibility.

""You can get a medical waiver, which is known as a medical red shirt, if you play in 20 per cent or less in the total number of contests in that year, and your injury happens in the first half of the season.''

On hoops...didn't mention Marques Alston, Dejan Delic or Corey Hallett only because you know what they can do.

But Marques looked strong as ever and I believe will have a heck of a senior year, Deki was raining 3s, and Hallett appears to be more physical and aggressive. Again..all this is just from 35-40 minutes of observation so it's a very small sample and what it translates to over the next seven months remains to be seen.

A long (but interesting) day I went to MU fball practice.. then MU men's hoops pick up
games..finished the MU feature story and the local college notes for
Thursday..did the interviews for Saturday , and am about halfway through the
high school football story for Friday...whew!

Am not complaining.....just running on fumes for the sure beats
working 9-5 in an office is how I look at it!!

But anyway....from football.. Sean Dennis' suspension is over and he will
be punting and likely kicking off Saturday vs. St. Peter's. Andrew
Mandeville did a nice job with the punting while he was in there and is
probably Dennis' heir apparent at least.

Got the word from coach Callahan on the red-shirt rule. If you're in a game
at all you lose your red-shirt year.....unless you get injured and have played
in around 20 percent or less of your team's games before the halfway
point..then you can get a medical redshirt

So if Brian Callahan goes out
there for one play he cannot red-shirt..I would think it's in MU's best
interest to red-shirt much of this talented freshman class unless they are
going to significanfly contribute this season. Cella, Skorupka, and Wright
are some of the freshman who have played this season so they cannot red-shirt. get right to the point.. when I saw Ricky Crews I thought I was at
a Mississippi State scrimmage. This lean 6-7, 6-8 kid can be question. Runs like a deer, jumps through the ceiling..can whirl inside nicely to the hoop. Though he can block shots, needs work on defense and more overall polish, but he
could be something else if he works at it.

Youngblood...has jets for sneakers.. very quick..more point guard
instincts than I was led to believe. Strong for his size (about 6-0).

The two new big kids...Gaitley and Dobrinsky....have a ways to least one
or both will probably be red-shirted... RS freshman Sean Barlow (6-9) should be able to help some this season...Barlow and Crews will probably be the two big men off the bench.

The kid from Israel..kid?.. he's 21.. Simpson is polished and
serious..appears to be a very good shot from deep as advertised.
Alex Nunner was also draining 3s.

Now I only watched for some 35-40 minutes but those are my initial impressions. I will try to get over there again next week.

To answer another question - MU men's hoops has three scholarships remaining for 2007-2008.

Back to this year..another demanding non-conference schedule may water down the record, but this could be a very good team.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

questions for coach? Predict the games!

Am going over to the MU football practice Wednesday. Any time you have any questions you'd like me to ask coach Callahan just let me know. Also..predictions on the upcoming week's games are invited here. Of course, this looks like a no-brainer but you never know. St. Peter's (0-2) has yet to score a touchdown this season.

I also plan to watch the MU men's hoops team shoot around in the gym. Not all the players may be there but am curious to see the younger players and especially Rickie Crews, the leaper from South Jersey I have heard so much about.

Thursday's story is about MU's football depth in many areas on the field. It's one thing to have bodies but it's another to have quality depth and I think MU has that.

Someone in our office was asking me when QB Brett Burke (Wall) is going to play. He'll get his shot next year. If Hawks gain control early vs. St. Pete's he'll see action this week as he did for a few moments last week and in some other games last season.

Also coming Thursday is the first of our weekly wraps of how local players are doing at other college football programs DI, II, and III. If you have anyone in mind who you may wondering about or would like to see him in print please advise.

The obvious question: it looks like Knowshon Moreno is going to red-shirt at Georgia.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Grading the Hawks, etc

Just for the fun of it each week we'll give MU a grade on how it performed in that week's game...based on 10 being the best (nearly perfect) and on downward. Feel free to scream and holler if you dislike , or by some wild chance, actually agree. You may chip in with your own grades. Again this is just for fun. Don't take it like it's a matter of life and death.

Morgan State game....Very solid in most areas. Defense just had the one breakdown and had good pressure on QB Byron Selby most of the day. Offense was diversified and moved the ball well..but there was some unexpected glitches in the kicking game.

Final grade: 8.5

Grade for the Fordham game...8.

Nothing much happened vs. the Rams after the first quarter and MU was conservative with the lead which made sense with the weather.

MU's win over Fordham looks a lot better now after it dumped Albany Saturday. That CCSU win over Georgia Southern Saturday night was an eye-opener.

This week's MU football coverage: Monday follow story. Thursday mini feature and notes, Saturday advance on St. Peter's game, Sunday game coverage.

This is interesting - according to an e-mail from NEC assistant commissioner Ron Ratner, if I understood it correctly, if the 2006 NEC champ gets an invite to the D-1 AA playoffs it won't go due to its obligation to play the Pioneer League champ in the Gridiron Classic. thinks the coach of the NEC champ and his school might not be real enamored with that but I guess that was the agreement with the PL. The NEC champ has never been invited to the 1-AA playoffs as the league does not have an automatic bid.

Hoops note: Monmouth men will not be playing Princeton this year as coach Dave Calloway cited a scheduling conflict but said the series will resume in 2007-2008 with the Tigers coming to Boylan Gym.

Keep the Sept. 28 date in mind. That's the next scheduled meeting of the West Long Branch zoning board on Monmouth's MAAC project (the new athletic building).

Saturday, September 09, 2006

It wasn't perfect but ....

MU will take it. So the Hawks are 2-0 against teams, Fordham (0-1, playing at Albany Saturday night) and Morgan State (0-2) and hosts St. Peter's (0-2) in their next game Saturday.
Then it's off to Colgate (0-1) which is idle this week.
MU showed nice balance and an all-around solid effort vs. Morgan State. By the way, MSU quarterback Byron Selby and his coach said Selby suffered "a little concussion" in the first quarter which is why Selby played off and on after that.
Mu coach Kevin Callahan wasn't happy with the kicking game in which Fred Weingart missed a PAT and an extra point and had another kick blocked.
But, as someone said after the game, "It was a good win.'' Frankly, I have never heard of a bad one.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Chucky goes south/A Milt Wagner flash back

The following is from the web site...about former Monmouth U. player Jose "Chucky"' Martin, played with Alex Blackwell in the early 90's....

Jose "Chuck" Martin, an assistant at St. John's University the past two seasons, has been hired as an assistant men's basketball coach at the University of Memphis, head coach John Calipari announced Tuesday. The 2006-07 campaign will be Martin's eighth year as an assistant, as prior to St. John's he also served on the staffs at Drexel, UMass and Manhattan. "Chuck brings great experience to our staff," said Calipari. "He worked with a close friend of mine (and former Calipari assistant) in Bruiser Flint at UMass and Drexel.

Martin was a key recruiter on the St. John's staff the past two seasons.

. "It's an honor to join the staff here at Memphis, and I'm excited to have the opportunity to work with John Calipari and the staff," Martin said. "I'm looking forward to being a part of the Memphis family"St. John's will always be special to me because I grew up in New York City. It was a great experience working with Coach (Norm) Roberts at St. John's. They are turning the corner there, and they'll do well this year."

Prior to St. John's, Martin was an assistant coach at Drexel for head coach Bruiser Flint, who served as an assistant for Calipari at UMass in the 1990s. During his time with the Dragons, Martin was involved in all aspects of the basketball program, including national recruiting, working with the team's guards on skill development, scouting and game preparation. "Chuck will be a great fit for the Tiger program," Flint said.

"I've known Coach Calipari for a few years, and I also worked for Bruiser Flint so I'm familiar with what they do," said Martin.

Martin attended Champlain (Vt.) Junior College, where he captained a pair of NJCAA Tournament teams, before he was recruited to Monmouth by then coach Wayne Szoke and completing his career at Monmouth University.

At Monmouth, Martin played the point guard position and averaged 7.1 points and 2.0 assists for his career. Martin is a 1993 graduate of Monmouth with a degree in communications.

In other news regarding the Memphis program, one of the greatest players in New Jersey history, Camden's Milt Wagner has left the Tiger staff and gone to the University of Texas El-Paso as part of new coach Tony Barbee's staff. Milt is the father of another NJ scholastic legend Dajuan Wagner.

I saw Milt - when he was at Camden - hit the shot that helped defeat Middletown South and coach Pat Houston in the late 70's in the NJSIAAs at Rutgers. MS finished that year 27-1..Not that I'm dating myself or anything....

Thursday, September 07, 2006

More on the new MU hoops point guard. Football weather great for Saturday.

Spoke with the new MU men's hoop recruit.. PG James Hett today. Nice kid. Said MU coaches compared him to Tyler Azzarelli. Story on him runs Friday. Spoke with recruiting guru Steve Keller ...said Hett wasn't a star but should be a good player in MU's system...MU fans can follow Hett's senior year in the Staten Island Advance on line. I'll have some updates on him as well.

Wow. It seems just like yesterday I writing about MU recruiting Tyler. Monmouth's 30-game regular season schedule starts tomorrow..well..not til Nov. 10 but it seems like tomorrow.

Was told today a coach at Texas A & M Corpus Christie said they'd beat MU by 25 points.....well!!!!

Barring a late injury football team healthy and ready to go for Saturday. Kevin Callahan seems worried about Morgan State's athletic ability.

Kevin also knows anything written, even on a blog, about an opponent with a quote attributed to him, can make it to a bulletin board so he's almost never going to say anything that will rouse a sleeping pooch...or a Bear.

I think MU fans are anxious to see the how the offense looks with its receivers in their new featured roles, how the running game fares, and who among the freshmen may continue or begin to contribute.
My guess is Ryan Skorupka, frosh TB, may get some touches this week. I also feel senior TB Rob Lutz will have more carries than last week (none officially last week - so that's going out on a limb!) as well.

Watching ACCU weather out of Phila. as we speak..Saturday forecast is for sunny and a high in the mid 80's.

This is the key game now if MU is going to start 3-0. MU will beat St. Peter's the following week.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Hoops news - MU gets a player for 2007... and more football

Monmouth men's hoops has received a verbal from James Hett, a six-foot point guard from Monsignor Farrell High School in Staten Island which he led to a 21 - 5 record and a second straight League title last season as a junior. According to Hett was MVP of the championship game with 22 points and 6 assists and for the season he averaged 13.8 ppg.

I'll have more on Hett later Thursday..Right Now MU has just one point guard in the system..Mike Shipman..though Whitney Coleman played some there last year. John Bunch is said to be re-habbing Ok from surgery earlier this summer.

Watched MU fball practice for a while today...before that talked with frosh Joe Cella and Brian Callahan and coach Kevin Callahan for Thursday's story and a little with Brian Boland on Saturday's game with Morgan State.

I think it's safe to say we'll have a better idea of MU offensive capabilities after Saturday. Also, 6-5 senior wide out Shane Sharpley (ankle bruise) has been cleared to play. I think Dave Sinisi and Rob Lutz, if Callahan decides to use them in tandem, could be effective

After talking with coach Callahan about Morgan State I thought MU was playing the Chicago Bears, not the Morgan State Bears. I am he says..Morgan State has size and athletes and I know their QB puts up big numbers. But they were 2-9 last season and were beaten 30-2 by supposedly a mediocre Towson team last week. With their athletes they could pose a problem. I have to think MU wins this game though...

Steve Edleson will be hanging out with the MU fball team Saturday for "inside stuff" which should make for interesting promised..double Press coverage of the home opener in Sunday's Press.

Watched the women's hoop team shooting around in the gym..they have some promising freshmen and almost the whole team back other than Niamh Dwyer who, of course, is a significant loss. I'll try to get over next week to watch the men shoot around.

Took in MU fball practice for a while today...before that talked with frosh Joe Cella and Brian Callahan and coach Kevin Callahan for Thursday's story and a little with Brian Boland on Saturday's game with Morgan State.

I think it's safe to say we'll have a better idea of MU offensive capabilities after Saturday. Also, 6-5 senior wide out Shane Sharpley (ankle bruise) has been cleared to play. I think Dave Sinisi and Rob Lutz, if Callahan decides to use them in tandem, could be effective

After talking with coach Callahan about Morgan State I thought MU was playing the Chicago Bears, not the Morgan State Bears. I am he says..Morgan State has size and athletes and I know their QB puts up big numbers. But they were 2-9 last season and were beaten 30-2 by supposedly a mediocre Towson team last week. With their athletes they could pose a problem. I have to think MU wins this game though...

Steve Edleson will be hanging out with the MU fball team Saturday for "inside stuff" which should make for interesting promised..double Press coverage of the home opener in Sunday's Press.

Watched the women's hoop team shooting around in the gym..they have some promising freshmen and almost the whole team back other than Niamh Dwyer who, of course, is a significant loss. I'll try to get over next week to watch the men shoot around.

Monday, September 04, 2006

This week's coverage

On Wednesday I will be heading over tor MU fball practice to write a story for Thursday and also to get info for Saturday's advance on the Morgan State game. Saturday is the game, with the follow up story then to run Monday.

That's generally how the coverage schedule will be for the least that's the plan for now (always subject to change). Also..Saturday we may have a columnist at the game to provide double coverage of the home opener...

Anyone have any thoughts on who or what issues they would like to see a feature story about concerning MU football??

Monday story

As I checked the Press web site today I couldn't find the Monday story on MU fball that I wrote Sunday..maybe it's there but I can't locate it. In case it is not on line here is a copy of what appeared in Monday's Press ...


The weather was miserable. And then it really got bad. But as far as the Monmouth University football team was concerned there were no ill winds blowing at Fordham's home field in the Bronx Saturday night. Monmouth coach Kevin Callahan said the Hawks had decided before the gamethat, no matter the result of the coin flip, they would begin with the wind at their backs even if it meant opening the first and second halves on defense. Monmouth won the coin toss and, after a Matt Hill interception, unleashed a first-quarter TD barrage that quickly decided the 23-9 Monmouth victory. ""We thought the wind was that much of a factor,''said Callahan after Brian Boland's three first-quarter scoring passes started the Hawks winging while the Monmouth defense bottled up the Rams most of the night. ""There were some things we had in, in terms of the game plan,'' said Callahan. ""Any time you have weather like this people would expect you to run and keep nhe ball between the tackles and try to pound it out. "'We felt if we could open things up early when we had the wind we could take advantage of some things and get on the scoreboard knowing the weather was only going to deteriorate as the night went on.'' ""This (weather) was pretty bad,'' said Monmouth senior wide out Adam San Miguel (seven catches, 115 yards, two TD). ""I've played in high school in conditions that were just as bad or worse,''said the graduate of St. Peter's Prep. ""But this one was definitely up there with the wind and rain combination,'' he said. After taking command early Monmouth took no chances in the second half as Boland attempted just five passes, completing one. ""We were up 23-0 and that's not a time when you start getting careless with things,''said Callahan. ""We felt we could eat some clock.'' San Miguel said the victory over Fordham, a Patriot League team, was sweet. ""I think we're showing physically we can hang with any league,''said San Miguel. ""It was a great way to start off the season.'' NOTES...Callahan said senior running back Walter Carter, a team captain, has been suspended indefinitely for "a violation of team rules....'' Sophomore Dave Sinisi's 20 carries were the most since Joe Migliore ran 30 times in the 2004 season finale...Monmouth plays the first of its school record tying six home games at Kessler Field 1 p.m. Saturday vs. Morgan State of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, a 30-2 loser to Towson Saturday.....In those three years in which the Hawks have won their season opener, they have gone on to win at least their next two games. All three of the years in which Monmouth opened with a win the Hawks have posted winning seasons, including capturing a share of the Northeast Conference championship in 2003 and 2004.


Sunday, September 03, 2006

A 3-0 start for the Hawks?

The way is open now for MU to start 3-0. Hawks certainly have a decent shot at defeating Morgan State at home Saturday and should handle St. Peter's in two weeks. Then it's on to defending Patriot League champ Colgate which dropped its opener to UMass, 28-7.

This from the Fordham web site:
“When you get behind as much as we did as early as we did on a night like tonight, it’s almost impossible to get back in the game,” said Fordham head coach Tom Masella, who was making his debut on the Rams’ sideline. “But I have to give credit to my players who never gave up. They kept fighting until the end. That’s part of growing up.”

When the game started I was like.." I can't believe they're playing this game." Then when it was 20-0 I amended that to.."OK, play it"!!

Have not yet been able to get a hold of MU coach Callahan today but here are his comments on Miles Austin making the Cowboys roster from the MU web site..“First I’d like to say that we are all really excited and happy for Miles,” said Callahan. “Play in the NFL is a great opportunity for him and he has worked hard to get where he is.”“Having a player come through the program and make it to the NFL say s a great deal about how far Monmouth football has come since 1993,” said Callahan. “Miles was one of the guys who helped our program to a new level and he was a great player and a great guy to coach.”

It was a solid weekend for the NEC vs. the Patriot League headlined by Albany's 17-16 win over Lehigh..picked third in the PL .

Also, Sacred Heart took a 14-13 lead into the break against PL member Lafayette and outgained the Leopards, but dropped a 25-14 decision in Fairfield. Lafayette comes to MU in, I beleive, 2008.

Dayton of the Pioneer League, - ranked #2 in the Sports Network Preseason Mid-Major poll - needed a late touchdown to put away Robert Morris, 21-14. The Pioneer League champion will play the NEC champ in the Nov. 18 Gridiron Classic.

Off on the right foot

I would rather drive to Altoona than NYC.....always a harrowing experience to and from the Big Apple...

The game was over after the first quarter...was still hard to tell about MU..what with the awful weather..but it's a good start and MU could well be 2-0 after next week..

More later Sunday....

Saturday, September 02, 2006

A Miles stone

Well..I was wrong when I said Miles Austin would make the Dallas Cowboys practice squad. He didn't make the practice squad. HE MADE THE TEAM. Austin, MU's all-time leading receiver in numerous categories told Press staff writer Steve Edleson, that Bill Parcells told him, ""Tell the folks back home you're a Dallas Cowboy.'' Austin becomes the first football player in MU's now 14 seasons to make a 53-man NFL squad. Steve will have the complete story in Sunday's Press and I'll get some reaction from MU coach Kevin Callahan after tonight's game.

Oh yes, the game. The conditions are as ridiculous as is the fact this game at Fordham is goign to be played. Driving wind, rain. MU didn't get here til about one hour before kick off. There's about 100..maybe 150 fans here.

Another suspension

This time it's senior team captain Walter Carter, a running back, for five games for "violation of team rules' according to the MU sports info department. Senior punter Sean Dennis is serving game one of his two gamer tonight.

Friday, September 01, 2006

My prediction! and other items of interest (we hope)

I see MU going 8-3 or 7-4 this season and, as I said in Friday's Press, going down to the final weekend with a shot at the NEC title. They could lose as many as two league games and still have a chance in what should be a competitive league race. It depends on who beats who thus perhaps coming down to tie-breakers to gain the Gridiron Classic Bowl berth. There have been co-champions in the NEC the last three years (Monmouth involved in 2003 and 2004)
Biggest issues, to me, are how the wide receivers respond, and development of a respectable running game. And Brian Boland HAS to cut down on the INTs. I believe the defense will be good enough.

Secret weapons

Soph WR Ron Lauch (Wall) looked good in preseason. Lehigh transfer WR Bilal Morris has the most speed of anyone on the team. ""Small guys are the toughest to cover'' former Monmouth All-NEC def back Aaron Edwards from Jackson told me. Morris is listed at 5-6 and about two pounds. Kidding. Kidding. He's all of 150 and he is QUICK. A game-breaker type.


Brian Boland On Monmouth's being picked fourth in the NEC (by the coaches): ""I guess it's kind of like a slap in the face or whatever.'' MU was picked fifth in the NEC by Street and Smith's.
As for his take on Fordham, ""They have guys on defense that can play, are pretty talented. We're definitely looking at this game as a challenge.''

You again!!
Just because the Hawks and Rams have never played, doesn't mean that the two coaching staffs are not familiar with each other. MU head coach Kevin Callahan coached Fordham skipper Tom Masella while Masella was a student-athlete at Wagner. Masella then spent two seasons working under Callahan, while Callahan was the Seahawk Defensive Coordinator and Masella was the Secondary Coach at Wagner. And the two coached against each other the last to two years, splitting two games, while Masella was the boss at Central Conn. State.
""So there is some familiarity there,'' said Callahan. ""So how they will utilize the players they have at Fordham, how they will fit those players into their schemes is a bit of an unknown for us.
""They've seen all of our players play here at Monmouth. To me that's an advantage for them heading into Week One.''

Traveling men
On the travel team to Fordham are freshmen linebacker Joe Cella (Jackson) and frosh RB Ryan Skorupka. WR Steve Dowens (Middletown South), who I saw make a nice stretching catch r in Wednesday's practice, is also Fordham bound.
Among those not on the travel list provided me are WR Shane Sharpley (bone bruise), punter Sean Dennis (suspended for two games) and, senior RB Walter Carter. That's a bit of a surprise since Carter is the returning No. 4 rusher though, from what I witnessed, I felt Skorupka and soph Dave Sinisi were better in preseason.
Junior Pat Codd (Holmdel), looking to make his first collegiate, is "on the bus."
Frosh wide out Brian Callahan from Don Bosco isn't traveling but I believe he has a bright future.

On the MAAC : For the latest please go to the Press web Me? I have to look for a parking space in West Long Branch that won't cause an outrage.

MAAC vote delayed at least for a month

Since MU fans have been waiting over 10 years for work to get started on the proposed new Athletic Facility (the MAAC) what's another few months?

The Press reporter at the West Long Branch Zoning Board meeting last night, Carol Gorga Williams, told this morning, it put off a vote on the MAAC until at least the next meeting (Sept. 28) as questions came up from the audience (which could have been addressed in prior meetings) regarding the parking and traffic situation around the proposed new building.

In my opinion...what we have here are delaying tactics, just for the sake of delaying, by a few (if that many) local residents who would probably object to anything - even a monument to world peace - should the college propose it on campus where the MAAC is slated to go.

In the end there are - in my opinion - no legitimate reasons for anyone objecting to this facility.