Patriot League Preview - 2011 Colgate Raiders
Under the direction of veteran Head Coach Dick Biddle, Colgate once again put together a winning overall (7-4) and Patriot League (3-2) season in 2010. Now, the Raiders will try to get back on the top of the Patriot League with 13 starters and 37 letterwinners returning from that squad.
Offense (6 starters returning/5 starters lost)
The Raiders will have the benefit of handing the ball to one of the top players in the Football Championship Subdivision, as senior running back Nate Eachus (1871 rush yards, 22 total TD in 2010) has been named Patriot League Preseason Offensive Player of the Year and a candidate for the Walter Payton Award. The backfield also features depth with Noah Jackson and Jordan McCord. Where Colgate will need to rely on a new face is at quarterback, where Greg Sullivan (1349 yards, 8 TD) has departed and Steve Rizzo, Josh Hasenberg and Gavin McCarney are competing for the job. Rizzo has the most experience after playing in 10 games with one start last season. The new signal-caller will work with a largely untested group of receivers with All-Patriot League pick Doug Rosnick (49 rec., 646 yards, 7 TD) moving on. However, Daniel Cason, Jonathan Mputu and Chris Looney all saw action last season with Cason providing the most production with 21 receptions for 185 yards. BaRack Little looks to move from backup to starter at tight end. The transition for the new faces, as well as Eachus and the very capable group of running backs, should be eased by the presence of four returning starters on the offensive line. All-Patriot League picks Vittorio Ottanelli and James Germano are back along with Ryan Risch and Kevin Morgan to give the Raiders plenty of experience on the line.
Defense (7 starters returning/4 starters lost)
Linebacker has long been a position of strength under Biddle, and that should be no different in 2011 with three starters returning. Chris DiMassa (92 TT, 9 TFL, 4. sacks, 2 INT) comes off an outstanding season and is joined by Patrick Friel (73 TT, 5 TFL) and Adam Lock (31 TT, 7.5 TFL, 2 sacks). The group also has depth which includes senior Mike Carbone. There are more questions on the defensive line, where a combined 83 tackles and 18.5 sacks are gone with Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year Zach Smith and Lamont Sonds both departed. Tyler Danielsen and Greg Kafaf both return at defensive tackle after combining for 35 tackles and 2.5 sacks last season. Four returnees and six freshmen will compete for playing time on the line as well, including senior Bryce Mongeon. The secondary has a pair of starters gone including cornerback Coree Moses, but has a pair of starters back in Kenny McKenzie and Chad Frey and more familiar faces including Vinnie Nicosia, Nat Bellamy and McCord.
Special Teams (1 Returning/1 Lost)
Evan Goldszack returns as the lone known commodity in the kicking game, as the junior punted 39 times for a 38.3 average last season. He will compete for both the kicking and punting roles with Andy Heagle and possibly others that can push for playing time.
After opening the season at home against Albany on Sept. 3, Colgate takes on a very crucial early Patriot League game at Holy Cross. The Crusaders have defeated the Raiders in each of the last two seasons. That starts a three-game road trip that also has stops at Dartmouth and Towson. The Raiders host Fordham on Oct. 1 before wrapping up the non-League slate at Monmouth and at home against Cornell the next two weeks. Colgate's final four games are in the Patriot League, with trips to Georgetown (10/22) and Lafayette (11/5) and home dates with Lehigh (10/29 on CBS Sports Network) and Bucknell (11/19).
For more on the 2011 Colgate Raiders, read the team's pages from the Patriot League Football Media Guide and watch interviews with Biddle, Eachus and DiMassa from Patriot League Media Day below.