2017 Williams College Football Season Outlook
WILIAMSTOWN, MA – Williams College second year head football coach Mark Raymond has been here before in re-building a football program. Raymond has proven he knows how to rebuild a football program in his tenure at St. Lawrence University. He knows there are no shortcuts and no easy fixes. A turn around and successful re-build takes time, players, and above all hard work.
Raymond and his staff welcomed their first recruiting at the end of August and his staff worked tirelessly from coast to coast all year to bring in talented football players for this fall. Having a year under his belt at Williams has allowed Raymond to introduce his system to the Williams players, see the holes that needed to be filled, and experience a season in the NESCAC.
A big positive that came out Raymond's first season was that a large number of young players got to play a lot of minutes. The flip side of that is many of those youngsters were just not ready to play all of those meaningful minutes. A year's worth of experience and another year working with Raymond and his staff learning more about the offensive and defensive schemes will also help move the Ephs forward.
"We learned that the NESCAC is a very competitive league, there are no non-conference tune-up games, and every game matters," said Raymond. "I was proud of how the kids worked hard and stuck together last fall."
One thing that will be new to Mark Raymond and his Eph team this year is the introduction of a nine-game NESCAC season. 2017 will mark the first time in NESCAC history that all NESCAC teams will face each other on the field.
Williams will play five home games in 2017 and four on the road. In previous years the Ephs would play two of the three Maine schools: Bates, Bowdoin and Colby. This September 16 Williams will host Bowdoin at 1:00 PM in their season opener on Farley-Lamb Field; play at Colby on September 23, and host Bates on October 7 after playing at Trinity on September 30.
The last time the Ephs played a 9-game season was in 1907 when they went 6-3.
The Ephs opened the 2017 preseason camp with eight returning starters from the final 2016 contest on defense, seven on offense, as well as their punter and placekicker.
With every rebuilding project in football the emphasis always starts with mastering the fundamentals. The focus this season will be on doing all of the little things right with a goal eliminating mistakes and turnovers.
The 2017 Ephs will have to show improvement in all three phases of the game: offense, defense, and special teams to get the program back in contention for a championship.
|Brendan Rosseau '19|
"We want to play a more disciplined and focused form of football and get better at all of the little things," Raymond stated.
Raymond welcomes back six of his eight top tacklers from a year ago to anchor the 2017 defense. Sophomore defensive back Ben Anthony finished second on the team in total tackles last season with 44. Anthony has a nose for the ball and reads the game well. He recorded 34 solo tackles and 10 assists as a first year starter. In addition, he led the Eph secondary in interceptions with two, notched two tackles for a loss, broke up two passes, and returned a fumble 80 yards for a touchdown.
Junior linebacker Christian Dumont performed well in 2016 in his first year playing on defense. Dumont arrived at Williams as a running back before he was converted to a linebacker. Dumont's 39 tackles was fourth best last fall. Twenty of Dumont's tackles were solos. He posted four tackles for a loss, an assisted sack, and he recovered one fumble.
Senior two-year captain Michael Berry returns at linebacker after finishing fifth on the team in total tackles in 2016 when he recorded 34 (19 solos). Berry, a three-year starter, posted three tackles for a loss and broke up one-pass a year ago.
Junior defensive end Jameson DeMarco had a breakout season in 2016 and finished sixth on the team in total tackles with 33 (18 solos). DeMarco's seven tackles for a loss tied for team high, and he also added two sacks, a pass breakup, and he recovered one fumble.
Senior defensive tackle Sam Gowen was seventh on the team in tackles in 2016 with 29. Seven of Gowen's tackles came behind the line of scrimmage with four tackles for a loss (tied for team high) and a team high of three sacks. He also broke up a pass, forced a fumble, and recovered a fumble.
Senior defensive tackle and two-year captain Chris Hattar's 28 tackles last year placed him eighth on the team. Twenty-one of Hattar's tackles were solo tackles. He also registered 3.5 tackles for a loss, two sacks, and recovered one fumble.
"The number one determination of game outcomes is turnover ratio and that is an area we stress every day in practice throughout the season," Raymond said.
This season Raymond welcomes back almost all of his top skill position players from 2016. Last year the Ephs entered the preseason thinking that junior John Gannon would be the starting quarterback, but in the first practice of the season Gannon suffered a season-ending injury setting back the Eph offense. The good news is that Gannon is fully recovered and his eventual replacement in the 2016 season, Jansen Durham, returns with a year of experience and is a sophomore.
Gannon's dedication and commitment to work his way back to health was noted by his teammates who voted him a captain for this season.
The battle between Gannon and Durham has expanded to include first year QB candidate Bobby Maimaron who hails from Duxbury, Mass. "It's been an on-going competition throughout the preseason and we'll name a starter before the Bowdoin game," added Raymond.
Durham, completed 55.6% of his passes in his debut season by connecting on 96 of 172 tosses. He threw for 917 yards and fired eight TD passes. Durham also ran 17 yards for a TD. Senior Jaelon Moaney saw some time at quarterback last season before moving to a wide out position, where he is expected to see significant time this season.
Sophomore Peter Cahill who saw most of his time last fall in red zone QB appearances has been moved to the defensive secondary.
|Connor Harris '19|
Senior Connor Harris who also letters in indoor and outdoor track & field headlines a trio of experienced returning running backs. Harris finished one yard behind junior Noah Sorrento for top rusher a year ago and brings a wealth of experience as well as quickness to the attack. On 107 carries last fall Harris picked up 384 yards (3.6 yards/carry). He also caught 13 passes for 78 yards.
Noah Sorrento's 385 yards on the ground came on 105 carries (3.7 yards/carry). Sorrento also hauled in 11 passes for an additional 95 yards.
In six games last fall sophomore Steve Bohling ran for 175 yards on 40 carries for an average of 4.4 yards.
The Ephs' leading receiver in 2016 was senior Adam Regensburg. Regensburg, who will be a four-year letterman in baseball, caught 37 passes for 319 yards and two TDs. The multi-talented Regensburg also served as the Ephs' placekicker and punter.
Regensburg connected on four of seven field goal attempts (57%) with a long of 38 yards and was successful on nine of 11 PATs. He punted 52 times for 1,879 yards and an average of 36.1 yards per punt. He accounted 12 fair catches and nine of his punts were downed inside the opponents' 20-yard line.
This year the placekicking duties will be handled by first year Min Kyu Park who is from Seoul, South Korea.
Junior Tyler Patterson played in just three of eight games last fall, but still rang up some solid numbers will return to play tight end. Patterson's 2016 season was shortened due to an injury, but even though he saw limited time he caught 13 passes for 288 yards (22.6 yards/catch) and tied for team high in TD grabs with three.
In order to give the Eph offense a chance to display its many weapons the offensive line will have to protect the quarterback and open up holes in defensive line on a consistent basis. The skill players will also have to protect the ball to enable the Eph attack to mount long and successful drives.
Senior Ellis Eaton, who will man the right guard slot, and sophomore Jeremy Subjinski (left tackle) are the most seasoned returning players up front for Raymond.
Preseason camp has gone very well," noted Raymond. "The kids came back in great shape and they are practicing hard and competing every day. We've already seen great improvement."
The 132nd year of football at Williams will begin on September 16 at 12:00 p.m. on Farley-Lamb Field when the Ephs host the Polar Bears from Bowdoin College.