CAASports.com plans to follow the 2007 spring action which leads up the to the inaugural CAA Football season. Various student-athletes will be contributing to the CAASports.com Football Blog throughout the spring season. Log on each Wednesday beginning March 28 to get a behind-the-scenes look at what CAA Football student-athletes are doing leading up to and during their spring practice seasons.
John Wormuth - Maine
This offseason, by far, has been the best since I have been a part of this program. Every member of this football team has been working hard during the winter months and early part of the spring to becoming better conditioned athletes. Every day we have guys doing the extra things, from watching more film to taking part in a new yoga program which has definitely helped me become more flexible. Our strength coach Leslie Look does a great job in monitoring our running and lifting sessions and staying on top of us to keep working hard. We have been running at 6 a.m., and lifting in the afternoons since the season ended and it has paid off. The team and I are all in great shape going into spring ball. Personally, I'm more excited than I have ever been going into this spring practice. I can not wait to get back on to the field, its been too long since we last suited up and played a game. Spring ball is, in my opinion, the best opportunity to get better as a team, because all you're concerned with is the team, developing chemistry, learning new wrinkles put into the playbook and fine-tuning certain aspects of your own individual game. That's good to know heading into spring ball. You don't have to worry about game plans or the schemes run by another team, just your schemes. The only bad thing about spring ball is that it last just three weeks and then you have to wait until August to play again.
Jason Hatchell - Massachusetts
To get ready for next season we have been doing a lot of running and lifting, just a lot of working out as a team. We are lifting four days a week and running three days. We get up for five a.m. runs three days a week and then lift four days a week. It’s intense training, but we still manage to squeeze in time for meetings. Everyone meets up usually for two meetings a week to go over plays and watch tape from last season to see our mistakes. We go over the little things. For us linebackers, we got a pretty experienced group coming back for next year; so, we are not worrying about the plays anymore with our group. We are concentrating more on perfecting the little things that we didn’t touch on last year or things we could have done better than last year.
It was pretty cool going back home after the season we had this year; two of our games were on ESPN2. Everyone I talked said they saw the games. A bunch of the people I talked to went to bars to see the games and cheered on UMass with thirty other people. I have family in Oklahoma and North Carolina, all over the place so it was pretty cool, but it does get a little old when it’s all people talk about and they only think of you as a football player.
Personally, I was a little upset with my success last year. I was expecting myself to perform at my best levels, my peak levels. I did make All-American in the Don Hansen poll. My goal was to win the Buck Buchanan as best defensive player in the country and be an All-American on all teams. I wanted to outplay every other linebacker in the whole nation. Those are the goals I set for myself: to be the best, keep working and keep working real hard.
As a team, we have a few holes because we lost the seniors. Last season we had a great corps of seniors. Still, we’re looking very solid; our offense is real powerful—I don’t think we lost a step there. Defensively, we have experienced guys and got some good transfers coming in. We are preparing the new guys to get them familiar with our system. We are going to have the talent on the field. As long we get back to last year’s level: developing the camaraderie we had so we just clicked no matter what we did, we are going to have a good run at it. Everyone trusted that everyone else would do their job. If all that happens, we are going to have a good season.
My brother, John, just finished his last season so it’s going to suck a little bit not playing with him. His importance is one thing I notice when watching last year’s tape. Towards the end of this past season, he switched over from nose tackle to d-end so we were playing on the same side together. He would take a lot of double times, get a grip and hold the guys so I would be free to make the play. His presence opened me up a lot. It was fun having him out there so it is going to suck, but his time is over. We have great guys stepping up to fill in for him. I really don’t feel that we are going to lose a step, except maybe in the strength area because he was the strongest player on the field.
Ricky Santos - New Hampshire
As spring practice creeps closer and closer, the Wildcats are finishing their morning workout circuit. Coach McDonnell has been getting after it in the month of March. This is the part of the off-season where Coach Mac makes evaluations on who has been working hardest in the winter months. The “matt drills” done by the Wildcats consist of several high-paced, up-tempo agility stations. Drills range from up-downs to seat rolls, to bear crawls, and even to see who is the fastest in the pro agility. This month is a great indicator of which players are mentally tough. It also shows who can strain and compete when they are physically exhausted. When positions are in question for spring ball, these drills help coach McDonnell find the type of player he wants on the field.
David Ball and Corey Graham have been getting ready to test their skills at the next level. It has been a great atmosphere at UNH these last few weeks. With NFL scouts in the Field House to watch two of UNH’s all-time greats compete in their Pro Day.
Offensive Coordinator Chip Kelly left for Oregon and will definitely be missed by the Wildcat family. The Cats have found a quality replacement in offensive line Assistant Coach Sean Devine, who will move into the Coordinator’s job. Coach Devine led the offensive line a year ago and brings continuity to the team. Devine was a huge reason why the UNH offense has been in the top three nationally in scoring the last three years. Coach John Perry left Hofstra University to coach the quarterbacks. He brings great knowledge of the game and was an all-conference wide receiver for the Wildcats in his playing days.
Spring practice begins Wed., April 4th. The players are very excited to finally put the pads back on and compete against each other. The offense returns 7 starters from last year’s squad, with four of the five starters back from the offensive line. This tight-knit group worked very well last year and will only get better with experience. Chad Kackert and Chris Ward have different running styles but are both very effective. With the speed of Kackert and the power of Ward, the running Attack should give the defense problems this spring. Keith LeVan will be the go-to target. He was second on the team in receptions last season and hopes to continue that success. Mike Boyle is coming off of his most productive off-season and will be healthy for spring practice. A healthy Boyle will be trouble for opposing defenses. He has the ability to be split out wide and he is also comfortable catching passes from the slot. On the defensive side, the Cats return six starters and will be led by all-conference free safety Jeff Pammer. Pammer is the quarterback of the defense and gets everyone aligned. On the outside, junior John Clements is very athletic and is a lock-down corner. The middle of the defense should be very sound for the Cats, with the return of three starters at linebacker. Heading up the core is all-conference middle linebacker Hussain Karim, Matt Parent and Justin Wright, as they all bring experience to the position and should be very effective in stopping the run.
Derek Cox - William & Mary
My name is Derek Cox and I play football for William and Mary!! Most people around campus know me as D.C., D. Cox, or Cox. There have been times when I’ve called someone over the phone and referred to myself as Derek and they had no idea who I was. It’s quite humbling, but I understand because a lot of guys on the team receive short names or nicknames. I am currently a junior in my class and a sophomore on the field. My intention for this blog is to help you become more acquainted with me. I am going to provide some self-disclosure, which entails where I’m from, why I came to William & Mary, what I am studying, my position on the football team, and more. That is a lot of ground to cover, but don’t worry, I also understand the importance of being concise.
I’m from Greenville, North Carolina. One of the top college towns located on the east coast. East Carolina University is the best way to remember where I’m from. The beach is only an hour and a half away and colleges like N.C. State, UNC Chapel Hill, and Duke aren’t much further away. William & Mary is less than three hours away from Greenville - which is very convenient. I get jokes all the time from my teammates about there being nothing close to me but farms and cows. They think I’m just some country boy living by all the southern stereotypes. I can’t deny all of their claims because some are true. I have done my share of sweet potato picking and dirt bomb fights in tobacco fields. To borrow a phrase – “There ain’t nothing wrong with being country!”
Everybody always attributes their coming to William & Mary because of the academics. Not me, saying I came here just for academics is a little too typical and politically correct. While the academic opportunities definitely factored into my decision-making, I made my choice based on much more than professors and class work. The biggest contributor to my choice was the chemistry I had with my teammates. I visited Appalachian State University, Wofford College, Coastal Carolina, and the College. The personalities of the players at William & Mary by far exceeded other schools and grabbed my attention. I had a lot in common with my host. For one, we both had strong religious beliefs. The logic behind my decision was simple. I realized the majority of my time would be spent with my teammates, so I better pick ones I can relate to on and off the field. My experience thus far has been nothing short of exciting and thrilling. I absolutely love my teammates and cherish every moment I spend with them. We form a fraternity, a band of brothers, and experiencing the camaraderie that develops is a reward by itself.
Currently I am pursuing a bachelor’s degree in marketing. I am also considering concentrating in entrepreneurship. My ultimate goal is to become a sports agent. If that doesn’t work I still want to find a way to be involved with sports. I’ve also considered taking my concentration and using that along with construction management. Nothing’s finalized but above all I realize the sky is the limit.
On the football field I’m rocking jersey number 37. My position is referred to either as defensive back or cornerback, people use them interchangeably. I’m on defense and my job is to lock down wide receivers, don’t let them catch the ball and ultimately prevent the offense from scoring.
Winter conditioning has come to a closing and Spring Football has just begun. In the up and coming weeks I will be keeping you in touch with our progress, our new defensive coordinator (Coach Bob Shoop), pre-practice fun, post practice fun, classes, the whole nine yards.
You weren’t privy to much this week but don’t get discouraged as the best is yet to come.
I’ll catch you later,
Mark Stolte - Rhode Island
While most college students are just recovering from spring break and starting to get ready for the end of semester, Football players across the country have one thing on their mind, and that's spring football. It is that time of year again here at the
I'm sitting writing to you about three hours prior to our first spring practice on Wednesday, March 28th. All that I can say is that I am very excited to get out onto the field and see that new tricks that the coaches have under there sleeve. I have a feeling this spring will be filled with plenty on contact, seeing that our entire winter workouts emphasized getting stronger. Overall, we had a very successful off-season and a lot of the guys saw a big improvement in numbers in the weight room. Thanks goes out to Coach Liz Proctor, our strength and conditioning coach for doing a great job.
Expect to hear from me soon, as I will keep updating our progress of spring practice. We are all very excited to get back out on the field and start banging heads again. Good luck to all the teams who are starting their practices. The Rams will be coming at you sooner than you think!
Mark Stolte #57
Rob Zarrilli - Hofstra
Spring Football is here, but it still seems like last season just ended. To me, spring ball is the product of all of the hard work we accomplished during the winter. It’s also a taste of what’s to come for next season. Spring ball is all about competition. It’s where a lot of positions are won, and it is also a great opportunity to climb the depth chart for the players who have worked hard over the winter. Players also have a chance to impress the coaches with their speed and strength.
At Hofstra, we lift weights and run the entire winter leading up to Spring Football. Last week, the week before our first practice this past Monday, is our “Testing” week. Basically, it is a week where we run, lift and do agility drills to show our progress from all of the hard work over the past three months. This winter was very productive for Hofstra as we broke several individual records in lifting and in running. Kareem Huggins, our starting running back, proved to be the fastest and most explosive player on our team. His hard work was apparent, as he ran the fastest 40-yard dash and jumped the highest in the vertical jump. Shemiah LeGrande, our starting defensive tackle, and Shawn McMackin, our starting offensive guard, both proved to be the strongest with impressive numbers on the bench press, and equally impressive with squats. Overall, from a speed and strength stand point, our team made huge improvements from last year, now it is time to see if we can transfer that on to the field.
Everyone has been really anxious to get on the field and start playing football again. Even the coaches couldn’t wait for our first practice on Monday. Our first practice ran very smoothly and was one of our best first practices. We have a few new coaches on the field but the players were quickly able to build chemistry with them and trust their criticism. Several younger players had to step in potentially starting roles because of the graduation of several seniors from last year. The effort was very good considering it was still around 40 degrees in Long Island.
My practice is very different compared to the rest of the team. Obviously, a practice for a kicker is a lot different then a practice for a linebacker. All of my hard work, strength and speed comes in the off-season, so when practice comes, I try to focus on my technique and mechanics. I realize how hard the rest of the team is working during practice and I want to work just as hard to do whatever I can to get better.
We have had two practices so far, and now spring break is only a day away. We will pick up on our practice schedule after the break on April 11. Coach Cohen, our head coach, expects us to all work out and run over the break. We can’t afford to take a step backwards by not staying in shape over the next ten days. I think I can speak for the entire team when is say I want to be a better football team then we were last year. Hopefully that goal will be on all of our minds during spring break, and our dedication to achieving it will be right there beside it.