July 11, 2007
Providence, RI - Coming off an Ivy championship season in 2005, the Bears learned that there isn't a great deal of difference between a successful and disappointing season - a play, a call, a bounce of the ball. Poised at .500 in the Ivy League with a 2-2 record, Brown dropped its final three league games, by a field goal to Yale, in overtime to Dartmouth, and by a point to Columbia on a last second field goal, to finish at 3-7 overall with the toughest rated schedule in the nation.
Head coach Phil Estes has refocused his team and will feature a strong experienced defense and a talented, but young offense. "We're really a team of no-name guys that work hard and play as a team," said Estes. "This year's team is a unit that will play together and surprise a lot of people."
Estes' first decision on offense is to determine the quarterback position with the graduation of two-time All-Ivy quarterback Joe DiGiacomo. Competing for the job are juniors Matt Dougherty and Matt Nuzzo, along with sophomore Phil Samenuk.
Dougherty has a strong arm and great mobility, but missed the Spring Game due to injury. He passed for 47 yards in three games a year ago. Nuzzo, the starting shortstop for Brown's Ivy Championship baseball team, also has mobility and tremendous athletic ability, passing for 68 yards and rushing for 126 yards in seven games for the Bears. Samenuk has a solid season for the Brown JV team and will challenge Dougherty and Nuzzo for playing time. Sophomore Bobby Sewall, who saw considerable playing time at wide receiver last year, was a quarterback in high school and worked at the quarterback position in the spring.
The Bears return senior tailback Dereck Knight to lead the offensive backfield. Knight is Brown's top returning rusher with 213 yards on 49 carries, including a 96-yard rushing performance against Cornell. Junior tailback Jon Edwards saw action in three games last season, rushing for 23 yards on three carries. At fullback, senior Patrick Lysaght started 10 games for the Bears and was used primarily as a blocking back.
The Bears feature a talented, fast and exciting receiving corps with the return of senior Paul Raymond, and sophomores Buddy Farnham and Sewall. Add talented 6-3 junior tight end Colin Cloherty to the mix, and Brown may decide to return to its wide-open passing offense of the late 1990's.
Raymond, a two-time Ivy League/Heptagonal indoor champion in the 60-meter dash, had a break-out year in 2006, making 45 receptions for 654 yards, both fifth in the Ivy League. He also made four touchdown receptions, including a 61-yard catch for a score against Rhode Island. Raymond ranked fifth in the Ivy League in receptions, fifth in receiving yards, and seventh in all-purpose yardage. He became Brown's go-to receiver with the biggest game of his career vs. Penn, making eight receptions for 150 yards, including a 44-yard touchdown grab. Against Holy Cross, Raymond made a career high 10 catches for 133 yards and a 22-yard touchdown reception.
Farnham was named the Ivy League Rookie of the Week after a strong performance against Rhode Island in the battle for the Governor's Cup earlier this season. Farnham made five receptions for 64 yards against the Rams, including a long reception of 21 yards. He also had a 19-yard punt return that set up Brown's third touchdown, returning the ball from the Brown 20 to its 39-yard line. Farnham, who also returns punts and kickoffs, finished with 14 receptions for 191 yards. Sewall, another speedster, grabbed 7 receptions for 55 yards, and played a key role in Brown's win over Penn.
Cloherty is a big, rugged player, who made 18 receptions for 244 yards and four touchdowns as a wide receiver a year ago. He enjoyed the best day of his collegiate career with six receptions for 94 yards against Cornell. He also made two touchdown receptions against the Big Red on receptions of 51 and 13 yards.
The Bears may have to rebuild the offensive line with the departure of three starting seniors. Senior All-Ivy guard Jimmy Tull (6-2, 270), a two-year starter, will anchor the line. In addition, senior AJ Tracey (6-2, 280), junior Matthew Adkins (6-3 260) and junior Shane Kelley (6-3, 270) all saw starting roles throughout the season. Sophomore guard Paul Jasinowski (6-5, 260) saw valuable playing time as a freshman and will vie for a starting role.
On the defensive side, Brown returns eight starters, including three All-Ivy players. At inside linebacker, senior Eric Brewer earned All-Ivy honors after making 82 total tackles, eighth best in the Ivy League. He also made 5.5 tackles for a loss, blocked a kick and registered a quarterback sack. The hard-hitting Brewer has been a major contributor since his sophomore season when he earned two starts and registered 24 tackles
Junior Steve Ziogas also saw some significant playing time at inside linebacker, making seven total tackles. The Bears will be buoyed by the return of junior inside linebacker Frank Nuzzo, who took a year off from school in 2006. Nuzzo made 37 total tackles in Brown's Ivy Championship season, including three tackles for a loss and an interception. Also look for junior Jesse Spartichino and senior Robert Weiss to compete for playing time.
The Bears have several questions at outside linebacker where Estes will look to replace two starters. Junior Jon May will move from corner to outside linebacker after earning a starting role at defensive back early in the season. He finished with 19 total tackles and an interception. Junior Miles Craigwell made the transition from wide receiver to the defensive side of the ball midway through the 2006 season. Junior Adam Keck and senior Anthony Martucci will also vie for playing time.
Brown's defensive secondary is headed by senior All-Ivy safety Jose Yearwood, senior corner back Matt Mullanex and junior corner back Darrell Harrison. Yearwood, one of the hardest hitters on the team, ranked third on the Brown team with 66 total hits, after making 56 total tackles two years ago. Sophomores Nick Anastasio and Chris Perkins will also compete at safety.
Mullenax, one of the top cover corners in the Ivy League, lead the Bears with three interceptions, while making 30 total tackles. Harrison earned a starting role midway through the season and finished with 56 total tackles, including 37 solo stops, and a 39-yard interception return.
Three of four starters return to the Bears' front line, headlined by senior end Patrick Fisher, senior All-Ivy tackle Kai Brown and junior tackle Joseph McPhee. The 6-6, 245 pound Fisher was slowed down by injuries last season and recorded 19 total tackles and three tackles for a loss. Kai Brown had a break-out season for the Bears with 30 total hits, seven tackles for a loss and three quarterback sacks. McPhee finished the season in a starting role with 15 tackles and two quarterback sacks.
Several more talented players return to the defensive line, including sophomore end James Develin, and junior tackle Wale Adedokun, junior end Jake Powers and junior tackle David Howard, making the Brown front line one of the most experienced and talented in the Ivy League. Powers had a strong 2006 season, making 22 total tackles, including four tackles for a loss. Develin earned a starting role late in the season and registered 12 total tackles, including a quarterback sack. Adedokun came up with 3.5 tackles for a loss and 2.5 quarterback sacks, while making nine tackles. Howard joined the Brown team midway through the season and is expected to be a physical force for the Bears.
Brown's kicking game may be the best in the nation with the return of three-time All-Ivy punter and All-New England kicker Steve Morgan, one of the top kickers in Ivy League football history. Morgan, a former Ivy League Rookie of the Year has 211 career points as a kicker, that rank third best in Ivy League football history. His 39 career field goals are also third in the Ivy League record book. A second team All-Ivy punter in 2006, Morgan ranked second in the Ivy League and 25th nationally in punting with 40.7 yards per punt.
Morgan converted made 8 of 12 field goal and 25 of 26 extra points in 2006. He was named the Ivy League's Special Teams Player of the Week after connecting on a 25-yard field goal in overtime to lift Brown to a 30-27 victory over Penn. He booted three of three field goals (36, 25, 25) on the day and punted five times for a 39.6 average against the Quakers. Morgan provided the Bears' offense against Princeton with a 45-yard field goal against the Tigers, while his 72-yard second half punt against URI was the 17th longest in Ivy League football history.