Saturday, August 29, 2009

UAlbany to play Cincinnati

While I'm on vacation, the last email I thought would come across my way is that the University at Albany is playing a team from the Big East. 

That's exactly what happened when I checked my email last night to see that the Great Danes will open the 2011 season with Cincinnati

This is a terrific step for Bob Ford and the team and just shows the steps he's made with the program and recently, the tremendous success the team has had. 

This game will help with recruiting for sure and continue to get the Great Danes name recognition. 

One week until the 2009 season opener when UAlbany comes down to Georgia, where I am right now, to take on Georgia Southern

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Friday, August 21, 2009

The dirt on the Danes with Jason Poore

Note: This will be the first of a numerous part series where I get a chance to speak with a UAlbany football player about things they do on a day-to-day basis. Once the season begins, it will be more about how they are preparing for that week's opponent and what the focus is on. Usually, this feature will run earlier in the week. This will run in more of a diary fashion rather than a story.

On Friday, I had a chance to speak with Hoosick Falls native and junior wide receiver Jason Poore.

Poore caught 15 passes for 196 yards and one touchdown in 2008. At 6-foot-6, 210-pounds Poore can be a big target, especially around the end zone.

To start our conversation I asked Jason what a typical day of preseason consists of.

JP: We wake up around 7:15 (am). You get treatment if you need it and then we have a meeting around 8. We go over some plays, get taped and dressed and head out to the field around 8:50. We practice from 9-11. We head back in, shower and go eat around 11:30. We're back at 1:15 (pm) for a meeting with our positions. We tape and dress again and then practice from 3-5. At 5:30 or 6, we got and eat again and then have a team meeting at 6:30 before another meeting with our individual positions. That lasts until about 10 and then we have until 11 before we have to go to sleep.

I asked Jason what the players do in their spare time in between practices.

JP: Sometimes we'll get 45 minutes to an hour, where we'll hang out in the locker room and watch TV (Sports Center or movies on HBO said Poore, who said players will often catch up on sleep at that time).

I asked Jason how does preseason camp differ for a veteran like him compared to a freshman.

JP: The first week is more learning the plays over and over. Since I'm coming back for my fourth year, the plays are kind of the same. Now, we're in meetings where we watch film of that day's practice and are correcting mistakes so we don't make the same errors over and over.

I asked Jason how two-a-day practices compare to practice once the school year begins.

JP: It's easier because you don't have to worry about doing homework once you get done because after practice, you're always tired, but I think during the school year, it's a little easier because there's less practice and we have more free time.

I asked Jason about the upcoming season, the first game and thoughts about a three-peat.

JP: We've been thinking about this (the first game) since last year. It's a great opportunity to showcase what we have and put our name out there on a bigger scale. Everybody's thinking about taking it one game at a time and just trying to get the three-peat. That's what we're aiming for, nothing less than that.

Finally, I asked Jason what he did this summer. He worked with the grounds crew helping prepare the field for the New York Giants training camp.

JP: It was good experience. I got to learn how much work actually goes in to keeping the field ready and stuff I didn't even know that they did and how many times they have to paint the field. I was taken back by how much they actually do.

Poore said he would work from 7 a.m.-3 p.m. then go lift until 4:30 and then run on the track until 6.

(UAlbany Athletics)

Thanks to Jason for giving me a few minutes of his time and hopefully this was something worthwhile and informative.

Again, I'll be trying to catch up with a local UAlbany player each week. Next time I'll be discussing the first game of the season.

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Thursday, August 20, 2009

The few...the proud...the UAlbany All-American

Here's a link to a story on University at Albany senior running back David McCarty that ran on Thursday.

Thanks to Ed Weaver for heading over to media day as I was down in New York City.

I'm hoping to get over to Great Danes football practice tomorrow.

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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Coughlin speaks to Danes gridders

New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin spent part of Wednesday afternoon talking to the University at Albany football team.

The Giants are finishing their 2009 Training Camp at UAlbany, while the Great Danes are in the second week of workouts for their 2009 season.

Coughlin tried to impart some of his wisdom on UAlbany as they go for their third consecutive Northeast Conference crown.

Here's some of what Coughlin had to say.

"The number one thing is the mission...the mission. If every guy is on the same page, if every guy believes in what we're doing and if every guy hangs in there together and fights their way through the tough times...and you're going to have can accomplish that and be very proud of the group that you have."

I am hoping that we will have a new feature coming to the blog as the UAlbany football season begins.

Remember, the Great Danes begin the season at Georgia Southern in only 17 days.

I will be heading to Georgia in three days, but it is for purely non-work activities before the Fall season heats up.

Also, look for a feature on senior running back David McCarty in Thursday's print edition of The Record.

Continue coming to this blog for all news regarding UAlbany football and the upcoming 2009 season.

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MAAC Tournament to stay in Albany??

The Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference announced today that four bids have been submitted to host the postseason men's and women's basketball tournament in 2012-2014.

Albany, which will host the tournament in 2010 and drew a record 50,820 during last year's tournament is one potential site.

Siena College's home arena in downtown Albany also held the previous record high of 50,620.

The Arena at Harbor Yard in Bridgeport, Conn. is another. The 2006 MAAC Tournament was held in Bridgeport as it be again in 2011.

The other two spots are the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. and the MassMutal Center in Springfield, Mass.

The bids will be examined in late October and awarded in December.

This year's Citizens Bank MAAC Championships will be held March 4-8.

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Saints schedule released

While there may not be a Kansas or Pittsburgh on the schedule this season, the Siena men's basketball team should be put to the test by the likes of Temple, St. John's and Georgia Tech.

Fran McCaffery's club is coming off two consecutive trips to the NCAA Tournament and expectations couldn't be higher, especially since the school gave him a new eight-year extension back in April.

The team kicks off the season in Nashville, Tenn. against Tennessee State on Nov. 13 before opening up against Northeastern in what is rumored to be a nationally televised game on Tuesday, Nov. 17.

Two major highlights will be the trip to Atlanta to face former Siena coach Paul Hewitt and the Yellow Jackets on Dec. 2 and the annual game against crosstown rival UAlbany on Saturday, Dec. 5.

Here are the particulars.

Day Date Opponent Location Time
Fri. Nov. 13 at Tennessee State Nashville, Tenn. TBA
Sat. Nov. 21 at Temple! Philadelphia, Pa. TBA
Tue. Nov. 24 DELAWARE! HOME 7 p.m.
Fri. Nov. 27 vs. St. John’s! Philadelphia, Pa. TBA
Sat. Nov. 28 vs. Brown! Philadelphia, Pa. TBA
Wed. Dec. 2 at Georgia Tech Atlanta, Ga. TBA
Sat. Dec. 5 UALBANY+ HOME 8 p.m.
Sat. Dec. 12 at Northern Iowa Cedar Falls, Iowa 8:05 p.m.
Tue. Dec. 29 SAINT JOSEPH’S HOME 7 p.m.
Sat. Jan. 2 MOUNT ST. MARY’S HOME 8 p.m.
Fri./Sat Feb. 19/20 at ESPNU BracketBusters TBA TBA

All times are Eastern
All home games in BOLD CAPS and played at Times Union Center, Albany, N.Y.
+ Doubleheader with Siena women
! Philly Hoop Group Classic (Games in Philadelphia played at The Palestra)

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Monday, August 17, 2009

Johnson suspended two games

University at Albany men's basketball coach Will Brown announced Monday that senior guard Mike Johnson will be suspended for both team scrimmages and the first two games of the season.

The team imposed suspension comes after Johnson was cited for harassment and resisting arrest after an illegal Fourth of July fireworks show on the University's campus.

"We have high expectations for student-athletes in our program," said Brown on Monday. "I talk to my guys all the time about making smart choices and making the right decision. Unfortunately, Mike used some bad judgement and made a poor decision and was in direct violation of team policy."

Brown said that Johnson is in good standing with the University, set to graduate in the Spring and that he only received community service from the courts.

"I'm a big believer in second chances and I think Mike really has learned his lesson," Brown said. "But, I need to send a message to every kid in our program, kids that we're recruiting, that you come to the University at Albany, you're going to work hard to get a degree, become a better basketball player and do the right thing."

Brown said that he felt there needed to be punishment because of the negative light cast on the University, the team and Mike, himself.

"Again, a lot of people look at it as Fourth of July fireworks, but to me, it's bigger than that," Brown said. "It's about decision-making and Mike not doing the right thing at the right time.

Johnson will miss the opener against Syracuse (Nov. 10) and then UAlbany's home opener against Morgan State (Nov. 13).

"He's remorseful and he's looking forward to getting back with his teammates, working hard and having a good senior year," Brown added.

Brown also said that Johnson is not a shoo-in to be the starter at point guard for the Great Danes, who will have newcomers Derrek Tartt, Mike Black and Ralph Watts, who Brown said reminds him of Brian Lillis in that he can play a variety of positions.

Brown added that what was a weakness in 2008-09 at the point, he feels will be "much improved."

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Monday, August 10, 2009

Danes kick off at Syracuse

The University at Albany announced their non-conference schedule for the upcoming 2009-10 basketball season today.

It all will begin for Will Brown and his crew on Nov. 10 when the Great Danes travel to Syracuse to take on the Orange.

For a second consecutive season, UAlbany will play the defending national champions as North Carolina is on the schedule for Wednesday, Dec. 30 in Chapel Hill.

Some other highlights are the annual crosstown rivalry game against Siena (Dec. 5) and hosting the 2K Sports Classic from Nov. 20-22.

Here is the rest of the slate that includes six NCAA Tournament teams from 2008-09.

Tuesday, Nov. 10 @ Syracuse

Friday, Nov. 13 MORGAN STATE

Monday, Nov. 16 @ American

Friday, Nov. 20 2K SPORTS CLASSIC

Saturday, Nov. 21 2K SPORTS CLASSIC

Sunday, Nov. 22 2K SPORTS CLASSIC

Saturday, Nov. 28 @ Central Florida

Monday, Nov. 30 @ Florida Atlantic

Saturday, Dec. 5 @ Siena

Tuesday, Dec. 8 @ Pennsylvania

Saturday, Dec. 12 @ Central Connecticut State

Thursday, Dec. 17 @ Iona

Tuesday, Dec. 22 @ Loyola (Chicago)

Wednesday, Dec. 30 @ North Carolina

Sunday, Jan. 3 YALE

This schedule should certainly prove to be a test for a team that finished 15-16 last season and has eight new players in the mix for this year.

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