BU Football Preview 2012
The Bloomsburg University football program is one of the most consistently successful programs in the country. The Huskies have won at least 7 games in 13 consecutive seasons tying the PSAC record (IUP 1984-1996). Out of 157 Division II programs nationwide, only NW Missouri at 16 has more. With 13 starters returning (including 9 All PSAC selections) from a 9-2 team, that impressive streak should continue.
Once again the Huskies should have one of the top rushing teams in the country. Last season Bloomsburg was the nation’s only team with two 1000 yard rushers in Franklyn Quiteh and Eddie Mateo. The two juniors are gearing up for another big season along with a strong trio of fullbacks in Ryan Maggs, Matt Wenrich, and Brody Myers.. They will have a talented offensive line in front of them which includes a three year starter at center in Mount Carmel product Chris Steck, and two all PSAC picks in right guard Brian Clark and right tackle Brandon Allen. Junior Matt Feiler who started at left guard last season has moved to left tackle, and his adjustment to that position will be one of the keys to the Huskies success. The starting left guard will be either Shawn Smith or Alex Buchert, both with plenty of experience. Smith will also train at tackle. Ryan Geiger and Durrell Johnson will provide depth.
The biggest decision of the preseason was the starting quarterback spot. Redshirt Tim Kelly, a Cedar Cliff High School product, won the job. The Huskies will have two capable backups in sophomore Brady Knerr and redshirt freshman Lou Buschi. Connor Gades has moved to a wide receiver position.
Kelly will have a veteran group of receivers to throw to. Three of last season’s top receivers are back including speedsters Kyle Fisher and Ryan Dickerson, and tight end Dylan Manni, all seniors. Another senior, Matt Marchioni, saw considerable action in 2011.
The Huskies will surround their first year starting quarterback with a lot of weapons. If the newcomer can just manage the game, minimize turnovers, and hit some play action passes, this could be one of the highest scoring teams in the PSAC.
The strength of this unit should be the linebacker corps. All three starters return including two all conference selections. Leading the way is middle linebacker Jarrett Pidgeon, the team’s leading tackler last season and a first team PSAC selection. Sophomore Justin Shirk was an all PSAC pick as a redshirt freshman. Senior Sean Clift also returns as a starter and senior Ryan Feldman is a capable backup.
In the secondary, the Huskies must replace three of four starters including all conference picks Oscar Rivera and Vince Browning. The lone returning starter is senior safety Dan Haverstock. The secondary, however, is not without experience and not without talent. Senior corner Terrell Oglesby saw plenty of action last season. The other likely starting corner is sophomore D.J. Robinson who was outstanding as a kick and punt returner as a freshman. Jonathan Patrick will start at safety alongside Haverstock. Patrick was one the heroes of last season biggest win- the 55-42 win at West Chester. Donovan Morris and Gary Postell are sophomores who will see action.
What would really help the young secondary would be a big pass rush particularly from the front four. The Huskies have some defensive ends that could provide that rush. Tony David has had a good preseason at end. Matt Heilig is a 6-4 sophomore who can get after the quarterback. An intriguing newcomer is Larry Webster, a four year starter on the BU basketball team who is playing football for the first time since high school. Webster is listed at 6-7, 230 pounds and has been timed in 4.5 in the 40. Also in the mix at defensive end are David McFadden and Roy Dennis. Two veterans return at the tackle spots- 6-3, 292 pound junior Chris Kennedy and 265 pound senior Shaun Moore. Starting offensive guard Brian Clarke played quite a bit on defense in the spring, and may see some time there this fall. Several true freshmen could contribute in backup roles.
If the Huskies can get a pass rush; if Kennedy and Moore backed by that trio of outstanding linebackers can stop the run, and if the young secondary can learn the ropes early, this will be a strong unit. Those are a lot of “ifs”, but this unit has talent.
This area should be a real strength for the Huskies mostly because of junior Dan Fisher, one of the nation’s top all around kickers. He is an outstanding placekicker, and is very good at punting and kicking off as well. Ian Murray returns as a very reliable long snapper.
Sophomore D.J. Robinson was a dynamic kick and punt returner last season. Kyle Fisher leads a group of other capable kick return candidates. There is a good chance that the Huskies will win the special teams battles in most games this season.
Danny Hale begins his 20th season as the Huskies head coach. Out of 157 Division II coaches, he is 5th in career wins and 4th in winning percentage. His 2012 team has a chance to be very good. Bloomsburg will find out early just how good they are. Last season, the Huskies lost only two games- to LIU Post, in the infamous snow game and to eventual PSAC champ Kutztown. This season the Huskies face Kutztown in week three at home and LIU Post in Long Island on week four.