ON CAMPUS A look at the area college sports scene

Sunday, April 28, 2013

New Haven's Osiecki invited to Patriots' camp

This comes from staffer Henry Chisholm

University of New Haven All-American quarterback Ryan Osiecki said he was invited to the New England Patriots rookie mini camp and will have a chance to play for a contract.
“It’s an introduction to the playbook and there are 12 hour days, a lot of on the field stuff and a lot of meeting room stuff,” Osiecki said.
The quarterback, who passed for 1,550 yards and 16 touchdowns last season, said he thinks he might be the only quarterback who was invited. He said he will find out in the coming days.
“They didn’t draft any and I checked, they didn’t sign any either,” he said. “As far as my odds go, I’m the only one going, unless they invite other quarterbacks.”
Osiecki joins defensive lineman Raheem Stanley and wide receiver Jason Thompson, who will both attend mini camps.
Stanley was invited to the Kansas City Chiefs camp and Thompson agreed to a three-year contract with the Washington Redskins, according to their agent Tom Kline.
“I’m still in shock a little bit,” Thompson said. “It’s a dream. It’s a dream come true.”
Meanwhile, Stanley said he is proud of his fellow Chargers and looking forward to mini camp.
“I can’t even put into words how proud I am,” he said. “Jason is one of the greatest players I’ve ever seen and Ryan, his arm is ridiculous. I’m happy for both of them to get a chance to live their dreams.”

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Saturday, April 27, 2013

Former Yale hockey coach Tim Taylor dies at 71

This comes from staffer Chip Malafronte

Tim Taylor, whose legendary coaching career included three decades at Yale and dedicated service to USA Hockey, died Saturday after a long battle with cancer. He was 71.
His passing comes exactly two weeks after Yale won its first national championship. He had been active at the international level through January, when he served as director of player personnel for the U.S. Junior National Team, which won gold at the World Junior Championships in Russia.
Taylor was regarded as one of the country’s finest teachers of the game, a man who coached with class and dignity.

“God bless Tim Taylor and his family,” said former U.S. Olympic goalie Jim Craig via Twitter. “He made me a better man. We will miss him.”
A star at Harvard in the early 1960s, where he later served as an assistant, Taylor was hired as Yale’s head coach in 1976. He coached 28 seasons in New Haven, winning more games (337) than any coach in the 117-year history of the program.
Taylor’s dream was to play in the Olympics. He was one of the final two U.S. players cut for the 1964 team, receiving the news the same weekend John F. Kennedy was assassinated. He tried out again unsuccessfully in 1968, which led to the start of his 43-year coaching career.
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Taylor achieved his Olympic goal as a coach. He was an assistant for Team USA in 1984 and head coach of the 1994 team that competed in Lillehammer, Norway.
“I look at the Olympic job as the pinnacle of the coaching profession,” Taylor told the Register on the day he was awarded the position by USA Hockey in 1992. “To have the honor of coaching our nation’s team is something I have great respect for.”
At Yale, he sent players to the Olympics, the NHL and coaching ranks. Current Yale coach Keith Allain played for Taylor in the late 1970s and owes his coaching career to his former mentor.
“I didn’t really know what I wanted to do, and Tim called me up and said, ‘I think you should come back and coach,’” Allain said shortly after Yale won the national title two weeks ago. “The boost of confidence that gave me, I’m thinking, ‘Geez, if Tim Taylor thinks I can coach, maybe I can coach.’”
Yale won six Ivy League titles and, in his finest season, captured the 1998 ECAC championship. Taylor’s final win at Yale was a five-overtime thriller in the ECAC playoffs at Union, at the time the longest game in men’s college hockey history.
ECAC Hockey renamed its coach of the year award for Taylor in 2007.
A longtime Guilford resident, where he lived with his wife, Diana, he remained active after Yale as a professional scout and as an administrator with USA Hockey.

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New Haven's Thompson, Stanley sign free agent deals

University of New Haven receiver Jason Thompson and defensive lineman Raheem Stanley signed an undrafted free agents with Washington and Kansas City respectively.
Thompson had 44 catches for 881 yards and 16 touchdowns.
Former UConn receiver Michael Smith posted on his Twitter account that he has signed with Houston while SNY is reporting that former Bunnell High star Mark Harrison, a receiver out of Rutgers, signed with the Chicago Bears.

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Friday, April 26, 2013

Ivy League to launch digital network

The Ivy League has partnered with NeuLion, Inc. to create the conference’s first-ever digital sports network. 
Available to subscribers in August, The Ivy League Digital Network will be accessible on multiple devices, including PCs, smartphones and tablets, allowing for an all-new nine (9)-channel network of Ivy League action anytime, anywhere. Each of the conference's eight (8) schools will have their own individual channel and the Ivy League will have its own League-wide channel featuring all available digital content across the conference.

The new network, powered by the NeuLion College Platform, will provide live and on-demand video and audio content from each school with interactive touch points that will consistently offer a personalized experience for Ivy League fans everywhere.
"It's not just about streaming video," said Chris Wagner, EVP and Co-Founder of NeuLion. "It's about the fan experience, the high quality video on any device, and the interaction with the game or match which includes stats, social media and more. The NeuLion College Platform is designed for all of that, each and every time, no matter where Ivy League fans are."

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Sunday, April 21, 2013

Southern Connecticut State football: Mallis survives the Spring Game for once

NEW HAVEN — Jack Mallis admitted he was a bit on edge heading into Southern Connecticut State’s annual spring football game.
Each of the past two seasons, Mallis, a junior running back, had limped off the field unable to finish the contest.
“I told my friends I felt a little weird about the game,” Mallis said. “My first year I played I pulled my hamstring. And last year I tore my PCL and my meniscus.”
Jack Mallis

But Mallis came out of Saturday’s contest injury free and hopes it’s an omen for a big season.
“It felt great to come out of this game healthy,” he said. “I think we’re headed in the right direction.”
Mallis and the Owls hope to improve on last season’s disappointing campaign when injuries and youth derailed the team’s season. There were games that Southern went as deep as its fourth-string quarterback to finish off contests.
The end result was a 3-8 mark in which the Owls were outscored 334-190.
“That’s not the type of team we are,” Mallis said. “It all starts in the summer. We have to use the offseason to get in the weight room, to come back stronger and then we’ll have a serious chance to contend.”
Mallis rushed for 15 yards on five carries as the defense dominated in Southern’s William “Sully” Sullivan game.
“The scrimmages are kind of interesting,” Mallis said. “You really don’t want one unit to dominate, because if they do then it might be a sign the other side isn’t that good. I think the defense played really well. Offensively we were a little undisciplined, but I think we’ll be fine.”
Mallis figures to be more involved in the offense this year. Last season he rushed for 39 yards on 11 carries with one touchdown while recovering from the major spring injury.
“I’m happy to be right in the mix,” Mallis said. “I think I can add power in the backfield and be the guy who runs between the tackles. I think I can be the short-yardage back and on the goal-line situations I’m positive I can get into the end zone.”
SCSU coach Rich Cavanaugh thinks the backfield, which also features speedsters Vaughn Magee (217 carries, 1,141 yards last season), Dequane June (66-264) and shifty John Moscatel (25-101) is one of the strengths of the team.
“We have a lot of depth there and that’s a strong point,” Cavanaugh said. “And I thought Jack Mallis looked good.”
Cavanaugh expects the defense, which ranked sixth in the conference last season, to be strong.
“It’s not worrisome (that the defense dominated at times),” Cavanaugh said. “They should be ahead of the offense now and I expect them to be pretty good. They played well. They were aggressive and they played with confidence.
“Offensively we’re still trying to find the pieces. There’s a lot of youth and inexperience on the line.”
SCSU scores the spring contest on which unit wins each play. At halftime the defense led 37-12 and the contest was over. The defense finished with five forced turnovers and 10 sacks in the game and limited starting quarterback Jacob Jablonski to 47 yards on 6-of-19 passing. Jablonski, who missed the end of the last season with an ankle injury, threw one scoring pass and was picked off three times.
But Cavanaugh isn’t worried about his veteran signal-caller.
“I thought J.J. kept his poise,” Cavanaugh said. “He was under a lot of pressure. Most of the problem was timing and he could have lost his cool, but he never did. That’s a sign of maturity. J.J. had a good spring.”
Lewis Edney led the receiving corps with five catches for 34 yards and a touchdown. Vito Fornarelli had four catches for 40 yards and caught a scoring pass from Michael Eckrote. Fornarelli and Edney will pair with Carlton Staggers and Gary Williams to help fill the void left by graduates Willie Epps and Jayson Holt.
Cavanaugh also was pleased with the performance from punter/kicker Jeff Groth, a sophomore from Shelton.
But the defense clearly stole the show.
“We were doing a lot of things out there and they looked good,” Cavanaugh said. “With Mwamba Williams and Antonio Williams we’re going to be strong.”
And Cavanaugh is eager to see how linebacker Brian Wilcox progresses. At 6 feet 5, 250 pounds, Cavanaugh feels he could have a breakout season.
“He can be the real deal,” Cavanaugh said. “He’s real big, but the way he plays you wouldn’t know it. He runs like a deer. The light bulb went on for him and he’s really ready.”
The Owls, who open the season on Sept. 7 at home against Indiana (Pa.), got interceptions from Michael Dunkley and Jordan Teague early in the contest. And they even played without one of their stars, junior lineman Carlif Taylor, who sat out the game as a precaution after undergoing knee surgery last November.
“I’ve been practicing and I’ve been playing. I just gave it a little break for the game,” Taylor said. “I’ll be ready to go. I’ve been going 110 percent since I got back.”
Taylor said chemistry is a huge key to getting the Owls back at the top of the Northeast-10 standings.
“We worked on what we needed to in the offseason, but one thing we really needed to work on was the chemistry,” Taylor said. “We came together a little closer. We’ve worked harder to reach our goal. Last year wasn’t a good feeling at all.
“Nobody likes to lose, but we’re going to take it a day at a time. We have to fix the mistakes we made last year. As a whole we’ve been improving and the communication from coach to player and from player to player has been great.”
Taylor also feels the defense is poised for a big season, but he’s not worried about the offense.
“Defensively, the younger guys are improving and the upperclassmen are ready to take that next step. Over time we’ll have success. With (Jablonski) and the running backs and the receivers, I’ve got more than 110 percent faith in those guys. We didn’t work hard for nothing and you’ll see it pay off in the upcoming season.”

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Friday, April 19, 2013

SCSU football to hold Spring Game on Saturday

Here is Andrew Anastasio's preview of Saturday's SCSU Spring football game

NEW HAVEN — Coming off a 3-8 campaign, the Southern Connecticut State football team practiced last Wednesday in preparation for today’s spring game.
“We had a very good offseason,” head coach Rich Cavanaugh said. “Our guys have worked hard in the offseason strength and conditioning program, and I think the attitude has been good. From a spring practices perspective, the effort has been there along with the focus. We are doing the things we need to do to get better.”
JJ Jablonski is back under center for the Owls

Going into the 2013 campaign, the Owls will be without starting wide receivers Willie Epps and Jayson Holt. The team will also be without starting tight end Jerome Cunningham, who recently was selected to participate in the NFL Super Regional Combine held at Cowboys Stadium in Dallas.
Despite losing several offensive starters, Cavanaugh said he expects players like Lewis Edney, C.J. Staggers, Gary Williams, and Vito Fornarelli to make an immediate impact. Southern will play the annual William “Sully” Sullivan Spring Game today at Jess Dow Field at 10:30 a.m.
“All those guys are working very hard,” Cavanaugh said. “They have shown quite a bit of improvement and I think they all could be quality receivers. I think we have skill guys who are going to be quality players this season.”
The Owls return starting running back Vaughn Magee, who rushed for 1,141 yards and eight touchdowns in 2012. The team will also welcome back starting senior quarterback Jacob Jablonski, who in 2012 threw for 1,675 yards and 10 touchdowns before suffering a season-ending ankle injury against New Haven.
Jablonski said the teams’ focus this spring is building confidence.
“Coming into this spring, a key focus for us is to believe in ourselves and focus on what is being
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 taught,” Jablonski said. “Coach strongly emphasizes that, and I think if we can focus on that and do what we are supposed to do, it’s really going to make things happen. If we believe that, then we can do anything.”
Last season, the Owls offense ranked eighth (second-to-last) in the Northeast-10 Conference. Collectively, they averaged 318.5 yards per game. The passing game also saw an eighth place finish with 195.5 yards per game. However, they did finish sixth in rushing with 122.9 yards per game.
“As a quarterback, I don’t think a lot needs to be done,” Jablonski said. “What I do think is important is we have to focus as an offense. Coach pointed out the other day saying ‘it is different from defense where one guy can make a play and maybe the rest of the defense can make a mistake or miss an assignment.’ On offense, it is important that if one guy does their job, the other 10 guys need to do the same. If we can do that, then we will be successful.”
Jablonski said he’s going to miss Epps, who led the team in receiving in 2012 with 655 yards and four touchdowns.
“I’m going to miss throwing the ball to him,” Jablonski said. “It was fun, and having him out there was a pleasure. I am definitely going to miss him.”
For the remainder of the spring preparations, Cavanaugh said he’s looking for his team to improve in all areas of the game.
“I think we need to focus on all phases of our game,” Cavanaugh said. “I can not pin point one area that needs the most improvement. We all need to collectively continue to improve our game.”

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Thursday, April 18, 2013

Yale's Miller signs with Edmonton Oilers

This comes from the Edmonton Journal

Give the Edmonton Oilers credit after they kept swinging in their quest to sign a college free agent this spring.
With their fourth swing at the plate, the Oilers signed Yale captain/forward Andrew Miller to a one-year, entry-level contract on Wednesday.
The Oilers tried hard to sign Western Michigan captain/defenceman Danny DeKeyser, but he opted to stay close to home, going with the Detroit Red Wings. Right now, he’s surprisingly played an average of 17-1/2 minutes a game the last six games.
Yale's Andrew Miller hoists the NCAA championship trophy

Edmonton also went after Quinnipiac University goalie Eric Hartzell, but the Pittsburgh Penguins got him.
They were seriously in the hunt for six-foot-four Yale centre Antoine Laganiere, Miller’ teammate, who was at the Oilers prospect camp last summer, but the Anaheim Ducks grabbed him.
Miller, 24, was the most outstanding player in the NCAA’s Frozen Four tournament when Yale knocked off Quinnipiac in the final.
And he’s not five-foot-eight and 170 pounds as the crack website says. He is five-foot-10 and 180 pounds, not exactly what the Oilers are looking for — they want to get bigger at forward – but Oilers new GM Craig MacTavish also knows that playing an uptempo game with skill is important.
“He’s not big, but he’s strong on the puck and he’s got great hockey sense. He’s a real cerebral player,” said MacTavish.
Miller, who had a breakaway goal against Hartzell to make it 3-0 in the third period of the final game of the Frozen Four at the Consol Energy Center, won’t join the Oilers’ Oklahoma City Barons American Hockey League affiliate right now as they try to hold on to a playoff spot in the AHL’s Western Conference. But he’ll be at the Oilers prospect camp on July 2, then the rookie camp and the main camp in September. He has been told he’ll likely start in the AHL next fall.
But MacTavish likes what he sees from Miller, who plays centre or the wing.
“He’s got the puck the whole time. He scored an overtime goal against my alma mater (Lowell-Mass, in the NCAA semifinal), going five-hole, then in the final buried the third goal (4-0 win), going five-hole again.”
Miller, a political science major, had 41 points in 37 games for Yale this season as they won their first national title.
He played junior hockey with the Chicago Steel in the USHL with current NHLers John Moore (New York Rangers) and Jamie Oleksiak (Dallas Stars) and the sons of retired NHLers Chris (Dean) Chelios, Mike (Alex) Krushelnyski and Ulf (Philip) Samuelsson.
“One of the best playmakers I’ve seen. His vision is incredible,” said Yale coach Keith Allain, who used to be an NHL assistant coach with the Washington Capitals and goalie coach for the St. Louis Blues. He was also part of Team USA at the 2006 Winter Olympics.
“Andrew’s goal in overtime (stealing the puck, going around a defenceman and tucking it home against Lowell-Mass. in the NCAA semifinal) was probably the biggest goal in the team’s history,” said Allain.

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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Rutgers AD reviewing status of Rice after video airs

This is a report from the Associated Press about Rutgers coach Mike Rice. We got to know Rice from his days at Robert Morris

NEWARK, N.J. — The airing of a videotape of Rutgers basketball coach Mike Rice using gay slurs, shoving and grabbing his players and throwing balls at them in practice over the past three seasons has the university’s athletic director reconsidering his decision not to fire the coach.

Scarlet Knights AD Tim Pernetti was given a copy of the video in late November by a disgruntled former employee, and he suspended Rice for three games, fined him $50,000 and made him undergo anger management classes for inappropriate behavior after investigating it.
In an interview with WFAN, Pernetti said university president Robert Barchi saw the tape and concurred with his actions against Rice. ESPN aired the videotape on Tuesday and it has many on social media criticizing Rutgers, including NBA superstar LeBron James.

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