Football Camp Report #6: The Linebackers

Michael Martin

Aug. 29, 2011

Bronx, N.Y. - Photo Gallery - Practice | Photo Gallery - The Linebackers

As the first game of the year gets closer, we wind down our position-by-position look at the 2011 Fordham University football Rams with a look at the linebackers.

The Rams return two starters from last year, Michael Martin and Nick Womack, and one from 2009, Andre Delaire, as they look to lead the Rams' most experienced defensive unit.

Even though the Fordham linebacking squad took a big hit with the graduation of Nick Magiera, Clifton Stuckey and Bryson Wilson, who combined for 158 tackles last year, the return of Martin, a junior, and Womack, a senior, along with Delaire, a redshirt senior, should make up for the loss.

Martin, who will start at one of the inside positions, was third on last year's team with 69 total tackles, 40 solo, and he intercepted a pass and broke up three others. He was ranked 19th in the Patriot League in tackles/game (6.3) and made a career-high 13 tackles, six solo, and broke up a pass in the Assumption game. Martin also recorded double figures in tackles with eleven stops, including four solo and 1.5 for loss, in the Liberty Cup win over Columbia. Over his career, Martin has amassed 113 tackles, 67 solo, including eight tackles for loss and five sacks.

Nick Womack

Womack, who is slated to start at one of the outside spots this fall, appeared in every game last year, making 24 stops, including six for loss and a team-high 3.5 sacks. He also had three pass deflections and one forced fumble. Womack closed out season with six tackles, four solo, against Colgate and he made four stops, including three solo and 2.5 for loss and 1.5 sacks, in the win over Georgetown.

Starting at the other outside linebacker potion will be Delaire, who missed all of last season with an injury suffered in the 2009 season. He saw action in the first eight games of his junior season, starting two games at outside linebacker, registering 25 total tackles, 15 solo, including three for loss and two sacks.

Slated to start alongside Martin on the inside is sophomore Jake Rodriques, who appeared in ten games as a freshman for the Rams, starting one. He recorded six total tackles, four solo, on the year, including two solo stops at Holy Cross.

Other linebackers who bring experience to the position include seniors Jock Payten and Chris Coratti, juniors Paul Barchitta and Richard Foligno and sophomores Brett Biestek and Anthony Pesanello.

Last fall, Payten, who appeared in nine games as a junior, starting one, recorded 18 total tackles, 12 solo, on the year, including five solo stops in the win over Rhode Island.

Coratti, who will look for playing time at one of the inside linebacker positions in 2011, enjoyed a solid spring campaign, making three stops in the 2011 Spring Game. He appeared in one varsity game as a sophomore and also played with the junior varsity, making three tackles, including two solo and one for loss, in a 14-14 JV tie with Princeton.

Biestek did not see varsity action as a freshman but he appeared at linebacker with the junior varsity program.

Pesanello, who moves from the defensive line to linebacker this year, also did not see varsity action as a freshman. With the junior varsity he made eight tackles on the year, including three tackles, two solo, against Nassau Community College and three more, one solo, at Army JV.

The Rams also have a talented group of newcomers at linebacker in freshmen Victor DiFusco, Austin Hancock, Peter McGuire and Nick Merino.

DiFusco, a graduate of Mahopac High School in Mahopac, New York, was named to the 2011 Empower Classic Downstate Football Team and identified as one of the Top 100 football players in New York state. He was an All-State, All-Section and All-League pick in 2010.

Hancock, a product of Peter's Township High School in McMurray, Pennsylvania, was an Elite 11 Football Almanac Athlete of the Year finalist and a three-time All-Conference and All-District pick. Named Preseason Elite 11 by the Observer-Reporter, he was also named Preseason Fab 22 by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Maguire, a graduate of Loyola Academy in Wilmette, Illinois, recorded 70 total tackles in 2010, including nine sacks.

Merino, who played high school foot ball at Etowah High School in Woodstock, Georgia, was a 2009 and 2010 All-County selection and an All-Region 5-A pick in 2010. He totaled 78 tackles playing at safety and linebacker in 2010.

- Head coach Tom Masella announced that freshman Peter Maetzold will start at quarterback for the Rams on Thursday at UConn. He will be the first true freshman to start at quarterback for the Rams since John Skelton last the seven games of 2007. Maetzold will be the first true freshman to start the first game of the year for Fordham since Dan McCain in 1982

- The Rams practiced in their new uniforms today in order to "break in" the new threads

- Masella told the players following practice that they are now physically prepared but most spend the next two days getting mentally prepared for UConn

- Eight players on the 2011 Fordham roster will be returning to their home state for the UConn game on Thursday. The eight are led by senior linebacker Andre Delaire (Bloomfield), safety Brendan Melanophy (Danbury) and tight end Nick Talbert, who will be returning home to Hartford. Other Rams who are natives of the Nutmeg State are Andrew Milmore (Fairfield), William DeLuca (Riverside), Jordan Chapman and Jake Rodriques (Southington) and Brett Biestek (Wallingford).

- The Rams also have two former Huskies on their staff, wide receivers coach and football operations director Patrick Maguire, a 2009 UConn grad, and defensive backs coach Tim Cary, who served as a graduate assistant for the Huskies from 2007-09.

- Two Rams switched numbers today with Marc DeSisto and Stephen Hodge exchanging numbers. DeSisto will now wear 85 and Hodge 43.