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Saturday, October 13, 2007

MU football - The longest day at Kessler Field

Our story for Sunday - longer than the Press story...

By TONY GRAHAM
STAFF WRITER


WEST LONG BRANCH - The weekly progress that Monmouth University football coach Kevin Callahan believed his team has been making came to a screeching halt Saturday.

""I felt, in fact, in a lot of areas we may have taken a step backwards today,'' said Callahan.
Wagner (5-1, 3-0) scored the most points by an opponent in the 15-year history of Kessler Field in a 45-16 victory over the Hawks (1-5, 1-2) in a Northeast Conference game.

""It's distressing,'' said Callahan. ""I guess I'm the one that's responsible for that.

""If I had misjudged the progress we were making up until this point that's just bad awareness on my part.

""I certainly didn't have the team ready to play today and that obviously showed by our performance on the field. And that's my responsibility.''

Callahan conceded that progress may not always be steady and that setbacks occur. ""But it seemed we had a set back in a lot of areas today,'' he said.

Running behind an offensive line that included 6-5, 308 pound freshman guard Joe Feriozzi and junior tackle Matthew Martin, 6-4, 310 pounds, Wagner senior tailback Jason Butler ran for a career high 201 yards and scored four touchdowns.

When the Monmouth defensive front wasn't being tied up in the trenches Butler and junior Rodney Davis (117 yards, one TD) seemed to run free past Monmouth's linebackers and an injury-riddled secondary.

""Our O'line spent a lot of time working in the off season,'' said Butler. ""They wanted to run the ball so we did what they wanted to do.

""It was the O'line that got bigger and stronger that really helped me do what we did today.''

Butler said Monmouth always has some sizeable personnel in the trenches. "'We decided to beat them with speed,'' said Butler. ""We had a little strength, too, so we beat them with power and speed. We played a good game.''

Before many in the Homecoming crowd of 3,954 had wended their way from their tents and tailgates to their seats, Monmouth already trailed 24-0 in the second quarter.

And whenever it seemed Monmouth made a bid to climb back into the game Wagner snuffed its hopes.

Trailing 24-7 Monmouth freshman linebacker Pierre LaFontant recovered a fumble at midfield with with 26 seconds left in the first half.

But three plays later junior quarterback Brett Burke, who set career marks going 31-for-49 for 289 yards, suffered his second interception of the half by Al Phillips. The senior tepped stepped in front of Monmouth freshman wide out Troy Yudin on the goal line.

"'If we cut it to a two score game then it may have significantly changed things,'' said Callahan.

Monmouth got within 24-10 on the opening possession of the third quarter when Fred Weingart hit a 42-yard field goal.

But on Wagner's first play after the kickoff quarterback Matt Abbey connected with Davis who left Monmouth defenders in his wake completing a 55-yard scoring play.

""To their credit they answer right back with a score,'' said Callahan. ""It basically negated that first drive we had.''

The avalanche grew worse in the third quarter when Davis, apparently stopped at the line of scrimmage, broke free and raced 75 yards for Wagner's final touchdown.

""I didn't feel we tackled very well all day,'' said Callahan. ""The way we play some of the wide runs, we struggled in that area.

""My take was that our kids up front weren't doing too bad of a job, the ball was getting directed where we thought it should go,''said Callahan.

""Then we weren't able to make the tackles when it got to that place.''

Monmouth's lone bright spot were David Sinisi's two touchdowns enabling him to extend the nation's longest touchdown scoring streak to 18 games.

Monmouth has its second bye of the season Saturday. It returns to action 11 a.m. Oct. 27 at Central Connecticut State. The game will be televised on FoxSports New York.

26 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been going to MU football since its inception, and maybe, disregarding our 1st season, this was the most embarassing loss I've ever seen at home. At no time during the game did the team even appear to be able to stop Wagner!
Had some hope after last week, but it's long gone now.
Would say 'bring on hoops', but that may be even worse this year!

Bring on the MAC fast...if you build it they (better recruits) will come.

6:18 PM, October 13, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The defense was down right terrible today.

6:39 PM, October 13, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tony,

To anyone watching the game today has to say this program is not headed in the right direction. Jason Butler is a senior and has never run like that against MU before. Last year Butler ran for all of 77 yards against MU. “I didn't feel we tackled very well all day” is the biggest understatement I’ve ever read after seeing the game today.

Offensively, MU had many miscues, both penalties and otherwise. The offensive play calling has to come into question. When are the coaches going to finally put away that horrible shovel pass option? And Tony, to anyone watching the game, that was the most misleading of 31-for-49 for 289 yards statistics I’ve ever seen.

8:28 PM, October 13, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rethink those scholorship offers quick!

8:42 PM, October 13, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I blame alot of this on the coaches. It looked like the team was not ready to play. Also the team plays with know fire. Maybe its time for some moves. If not i see this team winning 1 more game if ther lucky.

9:51 PM, October 13, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think what we're seeing is a lot of young kids w/ scholarships that "have" to play and they just don't know what they're doing yet.

11:24 PM, October 13, 2007  
Anonymous Concerned Fan said...

I agree with the last comment. Since this scholarship BS has occured, there has been a lot of frosh playing that should not be on the field. And it is not in a bad way, these kids deserve to play in the future but not as true freshman. Miles Austin was THAT good, Chris Reed deserved to play, Kevin Walsh is that good, but these frosh are only being put on the field because the coaches feel they "have to play." Coaches, stick to the way you have coached in the past and do not let this scholarship (a.k.a. promises) get in the way of winning games. In other words, get rid of this stupid shovel option, throw to veterans like San Miguel, Kiley, and Dowens more instead of "true freshman" Yudin, run the ball until you can not run anymore with your all-NEC RB Sinisi, have faith in your defense instead of changing your LBs and secondary two minutes before the game starts. I have seen this going on since the first day of camp. HAVE FAITH IN YOUR VETERANS! They are the ones that lead to you to NEC championships!

3:46 AM, October 14, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LOOKS LIKE ALOT OF THE YOUNG KIDS DONT WANT TO PLAY. MAYBE THE COACHES NEED TO DO A BETTER JOB OF BRINGING IN PLAYERS THAT WANT TO PLAY.

8:32 AM, October 14, 2007  
Blogger Tony Graham said...

To: Stick with the veterans - some of the lineup changes in the secondary may have had to do with injuries.

As for Yudin - good speed, great hands. What fault can you possibly find with him? Also, has been bothered by some nagging injuries, is not 100 per cent.

And some of these frosh are being put on the field because - that's all they've got (in some positions)!!!

I'd like to see them throw more to Nalbone..if they can.

10:06 AM, October 14, 2007  
Blogger Tony Graham said...

To - Don't want to play.

I really don't get that one. They maybe over matched....but I think they want to play...(well, I hope so anyway)

10:08 AM, October 14, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chris Reed did not start as a freshman. He was a good runnig back when he baecame a starter but it was not as a freshman

8:31 PM, October 14, 2007  
Blogger Tony Graham said...

Re: Reed. Then at some point he got hurt..sat out a season..and had a banner year as a 5th year senior.

8:50 PM, October 14, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tony,

To clarify something you responded to another poster on concerning the veterans. There’s been a lot of changes this year, some needed, some not. There are a couple of veterans from last year that had a year of eligibility left and aren’t playing even though they’re still in school, including one starting LB from last year’s squad.

Sinisi needs to be given the ball more; if he’s got enough gas to be the supplement on kickoffs, he can be given the ball more in games. More on past veterans; Miles Austin caught all of 10 passes his freshman year. Maybe it’s all got to do with Burke finding his way with the new receiver on the block. But in general, the other poster is right; San Miguel, Kiley, Dowens and Nalbone have been underused. And that poster is right about the shovel option, can it already!

7:22 PM, October 15, 2007  
Blogger Tony Graham said...

I took these stats (below) from the NEC web site on the MU receivers...

As you can see San Miguel is the No. 1 receiver.

I, too, would like to see a few more catches by Nalbone.

But as Haskins of Wagner said in today's Press, Wagner knew what they had to take away from MU...Sinisi, San Miguel, and Nalbone.

Also..Wagner was putting nine guys in the box at times to combat Sinisi.

Bottom line though is..MU lost nine seniors on defense who started the San Diego game , including a bunch of fifth year guys.


Unless Mike Castellano, and we'll say David Giles, each had another year, the secondary and linebakcer corp was going to be green as the grass in many areas..


The injuries have further aggravated the situation and Burke - I don't know if struggling is the right word - has been uncertain at times.

It's a rebuilding year. Period. It happens.

And if you're finding this hard to digest, men's hoops may not be an alka seltzer...




A. SAN MIGUEL, A. 6 28 271 9.7 2 58 45.2
YUDIN, Troy 6 20 245 12.2 0 38 40.8
SINISI, David 6 19 183 9.6 1 42 30.5
KILEY, Chris 6 19 154 8.1 0 20 25.7
DOWENS, Steve 6 15 155 10.3 0 29 25.8
NALBONE, John 6 13 151 11.6 1 32 25.2

8:36 PM, October 15, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the linebacker in question is Mike Nunziato. The sad thing is why not do as much as you could to bring back another starter. Then you would have had 2 starting outside starting linebackers back. Might have helped a young defense paly a little better.

9:41 PM, October 15, 2007  
Anonymous Concerned Fan said...

Just to clear up - Chris Reed is done after this year, because as a Defensive End, he played as a Frosh and has not sat out any year since then...

As I posted before, shovel option has got to go and I will stick by my word. Go back to the hard nose offense they had in previous to this spring. Enough of this passing and the shotgun formations. At the start of the game, on first down, run or play fake, on second down give the ball to SINISI, on third down give the ball to SINISI...Burke is a GOOD QB put under considerable amounts of weight considering they put in a new style of offense (centered around him) the year he was supposed to start after three years of backup and knowing an under center offense. And I cannot stress this enough...STICK TO YOUR VETERANS! I know I am being redundant, but these are the guys that have experience.

On offense, RUN THE BALL! If running the ball fails in the second quarter, don't get in panic mode and start doing stupid plays or running the dopey shovel option on 3rd and 8. If you want to throw, hit Kiley, Nalbone, or San Miguel on 10-12 yard plays and Dowens when in a four receiver set. (Nothing against Yudin, he will be good in the future). On Defense (Sorry Tony, but even before injuries occured) stick to your veteran linebackers (Larkin, Cella, Sterner, Burnett, and of course Cerezo), the ones have been running this defense for years, rotate your D-Line to keep fresh legs (which I feel they do well), and the secondary should be your BEST 4, and in my opinion are Stolarz, D. Bischoff, Falae, either Brian Robinson or B. Bischoff. Get pressire on the QB by doing various stunts from the linebackers or secondary, because in a 3-4, a three man rush is not enough...

All in all, I feel that the scholarships have played with coaches minds. Yeah, these kids might have done well in high school, but they have no where proven themselves in college. Back in previous years, it was rare to find a frosh that could tangle in this level of play, and the coaches knew that, but now I feel they put these kids on the field because they need to. The program was headed in the correct direction, and everyone felt it was too after scholarships came into play but I feel it has back fired. MOST of these kids deserve the money, but not all of them deserve playing time (at this time) or to get bumped up too quickly. (i.e. D'Ambrisi (over Fullam, who recently left the team), Advent (over many secondary options), Miller (over Pizzuli who recently left team).

All in all again, Coaching is the problem...PLENTY OF TALENT! and not over matched...

5:27 AM, October 16, 2007  
Blogger Tony Graham said...

To last poster.

Well thought out. I take issue with some points, agree with others.

Yes, run the ball until someone proves they can stop it. But teams are loading up in the box. And shovel the shovel pass about six freet under. And get Nalbone involved more - if possible.

I don't know that the "O" is vastly that different from even last year. Boland lined up in the shotgun, too. A lot.

Again as I have said before, I have no problem throwing the ball to Yudin...He's a plus .

Overall, many of the WR are of about equal, capabale, talent, in my opinion.

LBs...Larkin, Cella, Burnett, Cerezo, Sterner, were all listed as starters vs. Wagner..


D. Bischoff started (for Stolarz who may be done for the year..and maybe not). .Most of the rest of secondary you suggested started and or played a lot.

Then Robinson got hurt..Avent had to play..

Far as I know D'Ambrisi NOT a scholarship player..same with Fullam(the QB) ...

Re: Pizzuli..yes, they wanted to go with a scholarship player there (Miller)...

But basically.. talent (and experience) IS the problem as I see it...at least compared to last year and recent years...


Again - in my opinion . .they're not as good as they looked vs. SHU..and not nearly as bad as they looked vs. Wagner - which was really bad..

9:10 AM, October 16, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The sad thing is why not do as much as you could to bring back another starter." AKA why not give him a scholarship. Nunziato was a decent OLB for the Hawks, but was always the first one pulled out of the four. Maybe the coaching staff thought they could do just as well without having to give money to a fifth-year kid. Maybe Nunziato just didnt want to play another year.

1:32 PM, October 16, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know the family and spoke to them at saturdays game. Mike would have played his 5th year, if they had offered him some money.

5:53 PM, October 16, 2007  
Blogger Tony Graham said...

As I understand it and I am no expert here, so don't take this as gospel...

But I believe - any and all financial aid..for whatever reason it's given.. now counts towards the 30 scholarships allwoed by the NEC - those players who were recruited as non-scholarship athletes 3-4-5 years ago included...


I don't know Mike's circumstances...

Could he have come back under the package he was recruited under? Could he have come back under any package??

Did he want more aid, etc. etc. etc.??

No one need answer this..it's Mike's business...and I'm just tossing it out there to review some various, general options that he and or others may have faced and or will face....

And, while I am not doubting you, as an anon poster, we also don't know that anything you state is fact anyway...


But obviously some fifth year seniors did return - San Miguel, Dunn, LoCastro (off the top of my head) and there will be more potential fifth year players next year, beginning with Brett Burke...

My point in publishing this at all is - MU, I believe, had xx amount of scholarship dollars to offer this year and still retain xx amount of dollars to offer in the fall when they will - I speculate here - probably reach their 30 scholarship limit.

I guess - for whatever reason - things did not work out for this year with Nunziato, though they did with some others.....

It's all between the individual and the school...

Could Nunziato have helped this year? No question. How significant ?? Good question. Difference between a winning and losing season??. My personal opinion and that's all it is, is -- no.




Bottom line - for whatever reason he's not on the field any more.

Mike was a good player, had a very nice career at MU..contributed to championship teams.

That's, at least, how I will remember him...

Let's move on...

9:30 PM, October 16, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I know the family and spoke to them at saturdays game. Mike would have played his 5th year, if they had offered him some money."

If that is true, forget him. We dont need kids who just want to play for money. It wasnt like he was Brian Boland or Matt Hill or Mike Castellano. He seemed like a solid player and if he really wanted to play, he should have done it money or no money.

11:38 AM, October 17, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You have to look at it from a money stand point if he was to come back why would he go into more debt to play football it cost about 32 to 34 thousand a year attend on a non scholly thats alot of loans and for a fifth year maybe it was too much debt for him and he realized it was better to graduate and get a job make some money. MU needed because he made linebackers better your only as strong as your weakest link and he was just ask strong and held his own with any of them.

7:19 PM, October 17, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

tony,
talking about scholarships. RB #25 has the first full scholarship at MU but hasn't played but a few moments this year. why is he sitting the bench when he is a very, very talented, eager player that has more potential and spirit than the coaching staff knows.
last year as a freshman he was at rb, did punt returns, and kick off returns. he has high school records that won't be broken. he was part of a h.s.championship team, an all conference champion player for years and an all-state all-american. what are the coaches waiting for? why are they holding him back? where are their brains? is there to much politics and favoritism going on? even the comments in the stands are asking why is he not out there playing. there were ample opportunities for #25 to get in the game but he didn't. if politics is the coaches game then this group of coaches are hurting the spirit of many players who were promised playing time and have contracted them with scholarships to give their best performances. keep politics off the field and let #25 play.

3:33 PM, October 18, 2007  
Blogger Tony Graham said...

Re: 25 Ryan Skorupka. MU does not announce it's scholarship players so I have no way of knowing that what you say is valid.

But.. be that as it may...


Bobby Giles apparantly beat Skorupka out as the No. 2 TB in the fall...

Yes, Ryan played well last season...No question.

Again.. the coaches see these guys every day in practice...

I guess in their opinion the rotation is what it is...

I have no idea what politics and favoritism you are talking about...it is my opinion that Giles is a scholarship player so that should not be an issue either way.....

Giles did have that very good game a few weeks ago vs. SHU ..otherwise, he has been fair, not great by any means, in spot duty in my view ..

I have to think if the coaches thought Skorupka should be the No. 2 back they'd play him....

Let's see what the depth chart looks like for the next game at CCSU or who plays, etc.

If you are vehement about Ryan playing than I suggest you call KC , or attend his next Callahan luncheon and make your opinion known...

I don't know what else to tell you...

6:41 PM, October 18, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"talking about scholarships. RB #25 has the first full scholarship at MU but hasn't played but a few moments this year. why is he sitting the bench when he is a very, very talented, eager player that has more potential and spirit than the coaching staff knows. "

Sounds like Mr. Skorupka found the website.

9:51 AM, October 19, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"If you are vehement about Ryan playing than I suggest you call KC , or attend his next Callahan luncheon and make your opinion known..."

What is this little league? The kid is a sophomore, he apparently had a bad spring and bad fall, which is why he lost out to Giles. I think Skorupka "#25" had a very good year last year and from what i ahve seen tries very hard on special teams.

9:53 AM, October 19, 2007  

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