Tuesday, August 31, 2010

TraMAINE Wilson getting high marks for Danes

ALBANY - I'll admit that was a pretty bad use of the first opponents name in the headline.

The University at Albany football team is getting ready to kick off the 2010 season against Maine on Thursday evening.

I caught the tail end of practice on Tuesday and heard a couple of rave reviews about redshirt freshman running back Tramaine Wilson.

Wilson supposedly has had a great preseason camp and will help carry the load at the running back position.

UAlbany coach Bob Ford said that he thinks Wilson will play quite a bit.

The Great Danes lost a lot of players from last season, but Ford thinks they can plug the gaps.

“What you hope is that you replace him, or those specific kids, with an adequate replacement and then some of the other positions step it up a little more,” he said.

Ford was asked who he thought had most some big steps during the preseason camp, leading up to the season and he added in no particular order.

Junior safety Jake Ciccarello
Senior captain offensive lineman Andy Sparano
Sophomore wide receiver Nick Hutcherson
Sophomore linebacker Jon Morgan
Redshirt freshman punter Paul Layton

Ford also said they are getting good play from senior defensive linemen Trevor Anderson and Eddie Delaney and they expect that from those two.

"We have the talent," Ford said. "I think the major question is how are we going to gel."

Another note from UAlbany camp. Former player Chris Simpson, who played last season at linebacker, is going after a Rhodes scholarship.

Simpson has one year left at RPI, after setting out for a 3 & 2 program with UAlbany and RPI, to get his undergraduate degree and his master's.

The team leaves for Maine at 10 a.m. on Wednesday.

Look for our preview pages in The Record and a feature on the versatile Andrew Smith on Thursday.

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Monday, August 30, 2010

Di Lella at QB; Smith at TB, other Danes notes

University at Albany media guru Brian DePasquale has sent out the Great Danes first game notes for the season.

If you're wondering, the biggest question coming into the year was replacing the quarterback, and UAlbany has junior Dan Di Lella listed as the No. 1 QB.

Red-shirt sophomore Andrew Smith is listed as the No. 1 tailback.

Some interesting notes:
  • Di Lella's most yards passing in a game was 7 last season against Duquesne. UAlbany fans are hoping he breaks that on his first pass in 2010.
  • The Great Danes are 6-15 in night games since joining the FCS level. They open the season with two night games (Maine, Stephen F. Austin) and play Central Connecticut later in the year.
  • UAlbany has four starters returning on the offensive line.
  • Kicker Herb Glass needs just five field goals to move into second on the program's all-time list. Glass has 18 career field goals. Jason Fralicker (2006-07) has 28.
  • Ford has 241 victories (most among active FCS coaches) and is just nine wins - quite possible in 2010 - from 250 for his career.
  • The Great Danes open the season on the road for the 10th time in the last 12 seasons.
  • UAlbany actually leads the all-time series with Maine, 2-1. The Black Bears have made five NCAA FCS postseason appearances and are just outside the Top 25 at the beginning of the 2010 season.

We'll have our preview for the team in Thursday's edition of The Record. The team opens that night against Maine.

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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Dutchmen confident about 2010

SCHENECTADY - Union had their football media day today.

While it did rain a little, that only made it feel more like fall.

The Dutchmen open up the season Sept. 11 at Ithaca, a game that will be one of the biggest matchups in the country I'd assume, without looking at the schedule.

"We've found that the better schedule we play, the better we perform," head coach John Audino said.

The Dutchmen were 8-3 last season and expect to contend for the Liberty League crown, which they shared with Susquehanna in 2009.

"The expectations are high, just like any year," said junior quarterback Drew Connolly.

Union is going for their 30th consecutive non-losing season of football. Their last losing season was 1980, when they finished 2-6.

Audino has never had a losing season in his 18 years in Schenectady.

"This is one of the top opportunities in the country, in terms of a job in Division III," Audino said. "We have a great school, great academics, great kids, great coaches. We're a family and we try to treat each other that way. I'm just glad to be back with the guys."

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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Watervliet Hall of Fame - Class of 2010

RPI football coach Joe King will be inducted into the Watervliet Athletic Hall of Fame in October.

King coached the Cannoneers from 1973-1979 and I was able to catch up with him on the phone on Wednesday.

"Nothing but fond memories," he said.

King coached former NFL player Tim Sherwin at Watervliet. Sherwin, who played at Boston College, played big college game all over the country.

"He said it still meant more to him to play at Watervliet then in front of those bigger crowds," King said.

Looking back, it was likely King who started Watervliet off on their way to becoming a Section II football powerhouse.

"We had some great kids and we worked hard," King said. "We changed the whole atmosphere there. We made football important."

Here are the other inductees that will be enshrined Oct. 17.

Watervliet High School Athletic Hall of Fame Class of 2010
Mary Littlejohn Adams (1987) soccer, volleyball, basketball, softball
Tony Carroll (1991) football, track
Robert Christiansen (1963) soccer, track
Janice Crudo Teson (1976) basketball, softball
Lyle Darmetko (1986) football, basketball, baseball
Tony Fruscio (1989) football, basketball
Dominic Fruscio (1993) football, basketball, baseball
Donald Kelly (1975) basketball, track
Gene Madaio (1954) football, soccer, baseball
David Pitaniello (1971) football, baseball, bowling
Peter Strand (1987) football, basketball, baseball
Corey Wasula (1991) soccer, basketball, softball
Joe King (1973-79) head coach, varsity football
1991 boys basketball (28-0)
Watervliet High School Dad's Club

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UAlbany football kicks off

In case you didn't see them, here are the two stories from Wednesday's paper about the University at Albany football team.

'Captain' Sparano ready to get 2010 season started

Gaida happy to be part of Danes family

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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

News & Notes from Danes Media Day

ALBANY - "Don't let this fall apart."

Those were the words from graduating seniors David McCarty, the all-time leader in rushing yards, and Vinny Esposito, the starting quarterback, to red-shirt sophomore Andrew Smith (who will be further mentioned as Drew for various reasons, most notably there's
another Andrew Smith - a freshman from Wading River, NY - on the roster).

Smith said he was really close with both players, especially Esposito and that those guys want to see the team continue to succeed.

"I'm playing for them and for the University," Smith said.

The 2010 season UAlbany football season unofficially began on Tuesday with Media Day.

Smith said he is really ready for the season, especially since he basically has been waiting two years for Esposito to graduate so he can try to play more quarterback.

While he will compete with Dan Di Lella and Buddy Leathley, Smith will also be playing at running back (the position he will be listed at on the roster) and wide receiver.

"It's pretty much my time right now," said Smith.


Look for a story on the season being close to start and a story about transfer Said Gaida, who will play his final season at UAlbany after Hofstra eliminated their football team in Wednesday's edition of The Record.

Here is Gaida talking about what Great Danes fans can expect from him.

I talked with Andy Sparano, son of Miami Dolphins coach Tony Sparano and he gave me some great quotes for Wednesday's paper.

Sparano was named a captain of the 2010 team, along with Mike Kelly, Troy native Chris Blais and Kyle O'Keefe.

Here's one.

"This team lost a lot of very important players. You can never downplay what those guys have done here. They started a dynasty. Guys like myself and the other three captains and guys like Drew Smith, we look to build on that. We don't look to step backward, we look to go forwards."


Burnt Hills native Zach Morton received the Capital District Student Scholarship, sponsored by the New York Giants.

I had a chance to talk to Zach, who was selected an all-NYS Class A second team after his senior year with the Spartans.

The 6-foot-5 Morton, who could stand to put on some bulk (I'm sure he's working on that), said that the main reason to come to UAlbany was the tradition and sense of "Purple Family."

Morton also looked at Sacred Heart and some schools in the Ivy and Patriot Leagues.

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Monday, August 16, 2010

UAlbany Football Media Day

The Great Danes will meet the media on Tuesday.

Any questions you have for Coach Bob Ford or any of the players, post a comment on this blog entry and I'll try to ask.

I have plenty of my own questions to ask. We will learn who the captains are and the season, which has already been going for a week, will really start heating up.

Remember the season opener (Thurs. Sept. 2 @ Maine) is just a little more than two weeks away.

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Thursday, August 12, 2010

Saints bball release non-conf sked for 2010-11

Just two days after UAlbany released their non-conference basketball schedule for the upcoming season, Siena follows suit.

It's listed below.

Obviously the games that jump out are the game against national finalist Butler (Nov. 23) and the visit from ACC foe Georgia Tech (Dec. 22) and former Siena coach Paul Hewitt.

Also, a trip to Minnesota (Nov. 15) and Princeton (Nov. 28), while the season opener will be against Vermont (Nov. 13), in downtown Albany.

The team also has the obligatory (I say sarcastically) trip to Philadelphia, when the team takes on St. Joseph's, on New Year's Eve.

Here is the entire schedule.

Nov. 13 (Sat.) VERMONT
Nov. 15 (Mon.) at Minnesota
Nov. 20 (Sat.) at Northeastern
Nov. 23 (Tue.) BUTLER
Nov. 28 (Sun.) at Princeton
Dec. 4 (Sat.) UALBANY
Dec. 22 (Wed.) GEORGIA TECH
Dec. 28 (Tue.) at St. Bonaventure
Dec. 31 (Fri.) at St. Joseph's

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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Anderson ready to succeed for Great Danes

ALBANY - University at Albany fifth-year defensive lineman Trevor Anderson knows that the accolades are coming his way and he doesn't mind.

Anderson was named preseason All-Northeast Conference last week and was a first team All-NEC selection after the 2009 season.

After working hard over the summer, the Warnersville native believes he can have his best season yet.

"I’ve taken a lot from what I’ve learned over the years and I’m ready to put it all together and see what happens,” he said Tuesday before the Great Danes' walk-thru on University Field.

While he came into preseason camp a little heavy, according to coach Bob Ford, Anderson knows that while people are expecting big things from him, he is harder on himself to be great.

“I expect that out of myself,” Anderson said. “I’m not trying to sound too cocky, but I know what I can do.”

Anderson is expected to lead a defensive unit that should be strong up front with him and Eddie Delaney.

“We’ve been a very good run stopping defense in the past and this defensive line had a lot to with that,” Delaney said. “As a d-lineman, I’m really excited to see what we’re going to do on the field this year.”

Ford said if Anderson and Delaney both play to their potential they will make things awfully tough for opponents.


One big question for the Great Danes is how to replace quarterback Vinnie Esposito.

The two options seem to be junior Dan Di Lella and ultra-athletic redshirt-sophomore Andrew Smith from Guilderland.

While Ford said the position is a work in progress, he added “We are going to line Drew Smith up in a multitude of positions, quarterback being one of them."


If you've missed any of our preseason stories here are links

8/11 - Delaney, Danes set the bar high in '10

8/10 - Blais returns to spark Danes' D

Below junior defensive lineman Eddie Delaney talks about the excitement of the start of the 2010 season and the hopes for the defensive unit.

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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

UAlbany hoops 2010-11 non-conference sked

The rug was pulled out from beneath Will Brown's legs today.

Brown had been releasing the non-conference schedule one game at a time on his twitter UAHOOPSWB, but today the University at Albany released the entire 2010-11 non-conference schedule.

The home schedule is highlighted by Cornell, the season opening game on Friday, Nov. 12. There are only four other home non-conference games.

Some of the other big games are at Xavier (Dec. 28) and of course, at Georgia Tech (Nov. 17). Obviously the game against Siena (Dec. 4) is huge for the area.

Here it is below.

Nov. 12 (Fri.) CORNELL
Nov. 15 (Mon.) AMERICAN
Nov. 17 (Wed.) at Georgia Tech
Nov. 20 (Sat.) at Fairleigh Dickinson
Nov. 23 (Tue.) IONA
Nov. 26 (Fri.) at Detroit+
Nov. 27 (Sat.) Niagara+
Nov. 28 (Sun.) Bowling Green+
Dec. 4 (Sat.) at Siena
Dec. 6 (Mon.) at Yale
Dec. 18 (Sat.) MOUNT ST. MARY'S
Dec. 22 (Wed.) at Colgate
Dec. 28 (Tue.) at Xavier
Dec. 30 (Thu.) at Wagner
+Legends Classic's Detroit subregional

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Sicko has concussion

Former La Salle football player Scott Sicko made a terrific debut with the Dallas Cowboys in the Hall of Fame game, catching five passes for 44 yards.

Now word comes
that the former University of New Hampshire star suffered a concussion during that game and now will likely miss some time.

This isn't great news for the Stillwater native, but he has impressed the Cowboys and should get back to doing so when he returns from the injury.

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VIDEO: Great Danes on the prowl in '10

My colleague Will Montgomery got over to UAlbany practice for the first day yesterday.

Here's his story.

ALBANYChris Blais didn’t play a single snap for the University at Albany football team in 2009 — he just heard that sound twice in his right hand.

Blais, a senior outside linebacker who played high school football at La Salle Institute, tore a ligament in his right hand during the 2009 preseason. He had that surgically repaired and was working to come back for the Great Danes' game against Monmouth in week eight when he broke two bones in the same hand and had to sit for the remainder of the season.

Not only was it frustrating for him to be off the football field as a player, it made life hard for the natural right-hander off the field as well.

“Everything I did, brush my teeth, make food, it was a little bit difficult to do,” Blais said after Monday's practice, the first of the season for UAlbany. “After about two or three weeks, I started to become ambidextrous. I started to use my left hand and I could throw a football with my left hand, but it was still really difficult to do everything.”

Blais didn't sit idly by during the 2009 season. He served as a sort of assistant coach to Akeem Cedeno, who was in charge of the linebackers and is currently the tight ends coach.

For that dedication to the team, UAlbany head coach Bob Ford mentioned Blais specifically as a leader to look for on this year's squad. The Great Danes are dealing with the absence of 17 seniors, many of whom Ford described as “franchise” players, including running back David McCarty, quarterback Vinny Esposito and wide receiver Tim Bush.

“The coaches say that it's never a rebuilding season, it's a reloading season,” Blais said. “We lost our whole linebacker corps, but we have guys that can step in and that are ready to go. We have guys that got some time last year and aren't afraid to get in there and know what they're doing.”

On the other side of the ball, Hoosick Falls native Jason Poore enters his senior season as the Danes' top returning wide receiver. He caught 26 passes for 243 yards and a pair of touchdowns in 2009.

“It's big. I have a big opportunity to make something happen this year,” said Poore. “With Bush leaving, we need someone to fill in all of his catches and all of the plays he made.”

Poore is one of UAlbany's few returning skill players, but he said that a solid group of 25 players were together for regular spring and summer workouts that made the first day of practice a little less nerve-wracking. Picked No. 3 in the Northeast Conference preseason coaches' poll, Poore and the Danes are also glad to have the target off their backs for once.

A season ago, the Great Danes went 7-4, finishing second in the NEC standings.

“Every year our goal is to win the conference and hopefully make the playoff game,” he said. “This year, if we win our conference, we get an automatic (NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision playoffs) bid. Now that we're No. 3, not everyone is gunning for us. Now we can go start hunting people out."

I'll be getting over to practice today to do another story on the Great Danes.

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Saturday, August 7, 2010

UAlbany's Brown tweets the schedule

In a sign of the times, University at Albany men's basketball coach Will Brown has taken to using his twitter account to reach Great Danes basketball fans.

Brown is tweeting one game of the upcoming 2010-11 season every day for his followers on twitter.

So far, this is what it looked like.

Nov. 12 Cornell (Season Opener/Home Opener)
Nov. 15 American
Nov. 17 at GTech

The Great Danes will be opening the season with two home games. Then, UAlbany will travel to Atlanta to take on former Siena coach Paul Hewitt and the Yellow Jackets.

You can follow Brown at www.twitter.com/UAHOOPSWB

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Friday, August 6, 2010

Academy's Lewis on Heisman watch??

Former Albany Academy standout Dion Lewis could be in store for big things as we are less than one month from his sophomore season at the University of Pittsburgh.

Lewis was The Record's Football Offensive Player of the Year in 2006, when he helped lead the Cadets to the Carrier Dome and the Class B State Title game.

Sports Illustrated has an article on Lewis and West Vriginia's Noel Devine as two pint-sized running backs who are turning heads and could be Heisman candidates.

Here is a link to the story.

Tim Steadman/Icon SMI

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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Great Danes hoops head to Detroit

UALBANY HOOPS TO PLAY IN DETROIT: The University at Albany men’s basketball team will participate in the Detroit subregional round of the Legends Classic on Nov. 26-28.

The Great Danes will meet the host Detroit Titans, Bowling Green and Niagara in the three-day event. UAlbany will face Georgia Tech in the first round of the classic on Wednesday, Nov. 17.

UAlbany hosted a subregional round of the 2K Sports Coaches vs. Cancer Classic at SEFCU Arena last season.

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UAlbany football selected in 3rd in NEC

GREAT DANES SELECTED THIRD: The Northeast Conference preseason poll was released on Wednesday and the University at Albany has been chosen to finish third in the 2010 standings.

Central Connecticut State was selected to capture the NEC championship with four first-place votes. Robert Morris had three first-place votes and was picked second.

The Great Danes, who have won or shared four NEC championships, reached the seven-win mark for the fourth consecutive season in 2009. For the first time, the NEC winner will receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

"We graduated 17 seniors and many of the best we have had in the program," said UAlbany coach Bob Ford. "The cupboard is not bare. We have untested talent and only time will tell. The offensive and defensive lines are competent, and that's a good place to start."

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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

UAlbany women's bball completes staff

WOMEN’S HOOPS STAFF COMPLETE: University at Albany women’s basketball coach Katie Abrahamson-Henderson has completed her coaching staff for the 2010-11 season.

On Tuesday, Meredith Noonan was tabbed as the director of basketball operations, while Tahnee Balerio will serve as a graduate assistant for the program.

Noonan comes to UAlbany from Mercer, where she worked with current UAlbany assistant coach Fred Castro.

Balerio, who graduated from Missouri State in Dec. 2008, was a team captain and a two-time MVP for the Bears.

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Lannan recalled, Giansanti promoted

FORMER SAINTS EXCEL ON DIAMOND: Both of Siena College’s professional baseball alumni received recent promotions. John Lannan (‘05) was recalled by the Washington Nationals over the weekend.

Anthony Giansanti (‘10) was promoted by the Chicago Cubs organization to the Peoria Chiefs of the Midwest League on Tuesday.

In Lannan’s return, the left-hander earned a no-decision after tossing five innings in a game the Nationals lost 6-4 to Philadelphia in 11 innings.

Giansanti tore up the Arizona Rookie League, hitting .327 in 27 games with two home runs and 19 RBI.

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Monday, August 2, 2010

UAlbany hoops in Clifton Park

ALBANY - The University at Albany men's basketball coaching staff will participate in Town of Clifton Park's annual free "Shoot Out at the Common," a basketball free throw contest for children ages 6-12 on Tuesday, Aug. 3.

Coach Will Brown will be the lead instructor in a basketball skills clinic for the kids, along with assistant coaches Chad O'Donnell, Pat Filien and Jeremy Friel.

The contest will be held at the Clifton Common basketball courts.

The event is part of the town's "National Night Out" festivities, where residents of all ages can meet some of the local first responders and learn more about emergency agencies in town.

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