2014 Offensive Preview
Thanks to Mark Brundage for breaking down the Dragons' situation on offense heading into the 2014 season
The coaches and team have been working hard this fall to get the 2014 version of this thing going in the right direction. This post will spend some time focusing on the offensive side of the ball and what this end might look like as this group will look to continue its high scoring ways under the direction of Coach Ford.
For the first time in 4 years this offense will not have the ultra-consistent scorer Robert Church to rely on as his 57 points have graduated. While Churchy is a huge loss, the O will also have to replace the highly productive Aaron Prosser and glue guy Andrew Vivan as Pross has also graduated and Andrew moved on from the program. Thankfully, the offense does bring back 4 of the top 5 scorers from last year and a host of others that will look to make major contributions this season.
Bringing back Ben McIntosh, Nick Trizano, Ryan Belka and Frankie Fusco is a great way to start the offensive end, and much of the fall and early spring will be spent trying to figure out what’s the best group to fit with these guys. Although McIntosh is a middie and Fusco will be a staple at attack, the versatility of Belka and Trizano will allow Coach Ford to truly pick the best group from all of the remaining attack and middies to compete in this offense.
On attack, where both Church and Vivan saw the majority of minutes, there are several young players that are trying to assert themselves. Frankie Fusco had a fantastic freshman season and he looks to have the lock down on the left side, however, some nagging injuries could limit his fall minutes which will leave some valuable time for other guys to show their stuff. Mitch DeSnoo, the big Canadian lefty has proven he could hold down the spot if needed, but he will most likely see more minutes middie. Robert Frazee is a freshman with some skill that could see some minutes with a strong camp, but with most of the freshman the option to redshirt is always there and tough not to use when you consider all of the factors involved. Redshirt freshman Cole Shafer, who hails from British Columbia, will look to be the next righty attackmen from north of the boarder to use his box skills on the Drexel turf. While not the biggest of players, the crafty righty will draw some comparisons to Church, and as of right now he has a good chance to be the first one to try and fill that role. At X, late season surprise Chris Fredericks will look to build on the solid minutes he had at the end of the season. Looking to push Fredericks, freshman Matt Senft, has turned some heads and will make the coaches decision to redshirt or not a tough one. Other guys looking to make a mark will be senior Jared Boudreau, who could also see time on man up, redshirt frosh Jeremy Omrod and true frosh Jake Gonzales, who might also see a shot at the midfield.
While the attack has some holes to fill, the midfield looks to reload. As stated above, Triz and/or Belka could see time at attack, but if those young guys can step and keep those 3 at midfield, then look out, cause that will be one of the top midfield lines in the country. Even if those guys have to play some attack, Coach Ford has a stable of horses ready to get meaningful time this season: Junior TJ Foley and sophomore Hank Brown come back as the big mids who can dodge hard and shoot on the run. Speedy sophomore Jules Raucci comes back after seeing a good amount of time last year ready to show off his ankle braking moves and now a shot on the run to boot. Canadian sophomores Jordan Cunningham and Mason Pynn (who is back after taking off last season) offer speed, toughness and both are guys who could play on the top line or team up to make a 2nd or 3rd line extremely productive. The new name to the list, and reports have come in pretty high so far on this frosh, is California native Joe Rainoldi. The big 6’-3” mid, who honed his craft at the prestigious Hill School Academy, has shown he has the size, speed and shot to look the part of a classic D1 mid. Several other freshman are working hard to make an early name from themselves, we’ll take a harder look at that class in the near future.
Overall, the potential is there for another huge season from the Dragon O, good luck to all the players as they compete with each other and make the decisions tough on this coaching staff.