2008 Brown Football Preview
July 9, 2008
Providence, RI - Throughout coach Phil Estes' 10-year tenure as head coach of the Bears his teams have been ranked in the top five nationally in passing, and at other times ranked in the top five in rushing. Last year's Brown team returned to its passing roots and featured the nation's fourth leading passing offense (310 yards per game), and the Ivy League's top passing offense, total offense (424.2 yards per game) and scoring offense (31.2 points per game).
With most of the key components returning to the offensive side of the ball, and a veteran defense, the 2008 Brown football team will look to make a legitimate run at the Ivy League title with the return of 19 starters (10 offense, 9 defense), including nine All-Ivy players, after finishing third in the Ivy standings with a 4-3 league record a year ago.
Directing Brown's high-powered offense is second team All-Ivy senior quarterback Michael Dougherty, the Ivy League's top passer and the nation's third leading passer a year ago. Dougherty, a co-captain of this year's team, became the fourth quarterback in Ivy League football history to pass for 3,000 or more yards in a season, finishing the season with 3,039 passing yards, while his 264 completions were fifth in the Ivy League record book.
Dougherty ranked 3rd nationally in pass completions (26.4 per game), third nationally in passing yards (303.3 yards per game), and 6th in the nation in total offense (310.4 yards per game), He tied an Ivy League record by passing for 400 or more yards three times in 2007, against URI, Holy Cross and Dartmouth. Dougherty also set a Brown record by completing 82 percent of his passes against Dartmouth, connecting on 41 of 50 passes against the Big Green.
A first team All-Ivy and All-New England selection, the sure-handed Farnham set an Ivy League sophomore record, and led the Ivy League in receptions with 78, sixth best in the nation, and sixth best in the Brown record book. Farnham, whose father, Mark, was a first team All-Ivy wide receiver at Brown in 1979, made a season high 12 receptions for 159 yards in Brown's win over Dartmouth, and made 11 catches against both Cornell and Princeton. His 885 receiving yards ranked third in the Ivy League, 11th best in Brown football history. Buddy also returned kickoffs and punts for the Bears, finishing third in the Ivy League in punt returns, and seventh in the league in kickoff returns.
A triple receiving, passing and running threat, Sewall was the Ivy League's second leading wide receiver with 7.56 receptions per game, which ranked seventh best in the nation. He was named the National Player of the Week, the Ivy Player of the Week and won the New England Gold Helmet Award for his virtuoso performance against Dartmouth where he ran for four touchdowns and passed for another, rushed for 144 yards on 15 carries, and caught 18 passes for 141 yards. Sewall's18 receptions are fourth best in the Brown record book and a national FCS season high in 2007. He is the only Division I player to rush and catch for 140 yards in the same game in 2007. In nine games played in 2007, Sewall made 68 catches for 553 yards, rushed for a team-leading 304 yards on 55 carries, and scored a team high 12 touchdowns.
Another weapon in Brown's passing arsenal is senior tight end Colin Cloherty, a second team All-Ivy selection, who led all Ivy League tight ends with 41 receptions for 549 yards. He opened the season against Duquesne by making eight pass receptions to go along with his 171 yards. Cloherty also had big games against URI with seven catches for 93 yards, and caught six passes against Dartmouth.
While Brown's passing game ran on all cylinders, the Bears were never able to mount a rushing attack after the injury to senior Dereck Knight, who rushed for 208 yards in Brown opening game vs. Duquesne, but suffered a season- ending injury on the first possession of Brown's second game vs. Harvard. The good news is that Knight is returning to the lineup and is in good health. Senior Jon Edwards rushed for 293 yards and five touchdowns in a starting role last season. Also expecting to vie for playing time are Zachary Tronti, Justin Kurkiewicz and Dan Ball.
Seven offensive linemen started at least one game last year, and headlining the offensive line is second team All-Ivy junior tackle Paul Jasinowski, a mainstay of the Brown offensive line that led the Ivy League in total offense with 424.2 yards per game, and passing offense with 310.0 yards per game, 4th best in the nation. Anchoring the line with Jasinowski are senior guard Matt Adkins, senior tackle Shane Kelly, and junior center Mark Callahan. Also gaining valuable experience are junior guard Tim Danser (2 starts) and junior Alex Shields (1 start).
For the Bears to launch a run at the Ivy title, their defense must show improvement after allowing 454 yards per game a year ago.
Two All-Ivy linebackers return to the lineup, including senior outside linebacker Jon May, and senior inside linebacker Frank Nuzzo, both honorable mention All-Ivy selections. Add senior inside linebacker Steve Ziogas to the mix and the Bears have a formidable linebacker corps.
May led Brown, ranked second in the Ivy League, and ranked sixth in the nation with 6.1 solo tackles peer game. His 89 total tackles led the Bears and ranked fourth in the Ivy League. May, who recorded a season high 14 tackles against Columbia, made 6.5 tackles for a loss of 28 yards, and registered an interception that he returned 51 yards.
Nuzzo ranked fourth on last year's team with 60 total tackles, eighth best in the Ivy League, despite missing two games due to injury. He had three double-digit tackle games, making a season high 14 tackles against Dartmouth, 13 tackles against Harvard and 10 total hits against Rhode Island.
Ziogas stepped up by making 62 tackles a year ago, including 12 against Cornell and 10 against Princeton. Senior Miles Craigwell registered 63 tackles as a starter at outside linebacker in his first season on the defensive side of the ball, and made 13 tackles, including nine solo hits, against Rhode Island. Senior linebacker Jesse Spartichino (14 tackles) should also see action on the outside, along with sophomore Robert Gillett (4 tackles), who had a great spring, including an interception for a touchdown in the Spring Game, and sophomore Chimso Okoji.
Brown's defensive secondary is buoyed by the return of honorable mention All-Ivy selection Darrell Harrison, a senior co-captain, who was among the national leaders in interceptions and passes defended a year ago. His four interceptions included a 65-yard return for a touchdown against Penn. He also ranked 10th nationally in passes defended with 15. Harrison's 60 tackles ranked fourth on the Brown team, and he also recovered a fumble for the Bears with an 11-yard return.
Junior Chris Perkins (14 tackles) started the URI game last year and has the inside track at free safety after a strong spring. Junior David Clement (12 tackles) also enjoyed a strong spring season and is the frontrunner for the other corner position. Senior Nkosi Still, a two-year starter who did not play in 2007, is a versatile player who will see action at outside linebacker or free safety. Still made 28 tackles in 2006, and also returned kickoffs for the Bears. Also expected to vie for the safety and corner back positions are junior Eric Hunt, senior Robert Valenti and sophomore John Braun.
Three of four starters return to the Bears' front line, including junior second team All-Ivy defensive end James Develin, senior tackle Joseph McPhee and senior tackle Oludare Adedokun. Develin led the Ivy League and ranked 34th in the nation in tackles for a loss with 13.5 tackles for a loss of 51 yards. He made 50 total tackles for the Bears, registered six quarterback sacks and recovered three fumbles. McPhee registered 21 total tackles for the Bears, including four tackles for a loss and two quarterback sacks. Adedokun had 10 total hits for the season and three tackles for a loss.
Senior tackle David Howard is another impact player, who at 6-4, 260, is expected to play a major role in the middle of the Bears' front line. Howard had 12 total tackles a year ago, and his 4.5 quarterback sacks were second on the team. Estes will also welcome the return of senior tackle Jake Powers to the lineup. Powers was injured for a good part of last season, but still made 25 tackles for the Bears. Expect juniors Peter Hughes (12 tackles, 5 tackles for loss), Brian Neff (6 tackles), and Michael Lemmons, who enjoyed a tremendous spring, to also contribute on the inside. Also vying for playing time on the outside are senior Joe Yanchunis and sophomore Clayton McGrath, who were both standouts in the spring.
The Bears will be looking to replace All-American kicker and punter Steve Morgan, the Ivy League's all-time leader in field goals. Senior Robert Ranney sat out last season due to injuries, and handled the kickoff duties for the Bears in 2006, and has been the Bears' back-up punter for the last three years. Also vying for the starting job are sophomores Del Thomas and Drew Plichta.