Hofstra Looking To Rebound In 2003

The Hofstra University Pride are trying to regain their poise and pride, after a season that saw the team slip to 6-6 after being ranked in the pre-season as high as fifth in the <i>I-AA Sagarin Ratings</i>. The team finished 4-5 in the Atlantic 10, tied for sixth, and that is where they were picked in the A-10's pre-season predictions for 2003, largely on the basis of only 12 seniors on the team to go with 53 freshmen and sophomores.

Hofstra was picked 13th in I-AA by Lindy's College Footballand received votes in the recent ESPN I-AA poll. The Pride may challenge for their second A-10 crown in three years of play in the Atlantic-10 Conference, as well, having won the league in their first year of membership in 2001.

On the Offensive side of the ball, 18 lettermen and nine starters return from a young team that battled injuries and came back from a 2-6 start to finish 6-6, including beating the #19 Massachusetts Minutemen on the road in game 11. Here is a position breakdown of the Hofstra Offense:

Quarterbacks: It appears sophomore Bobby Seck will be the starter at this juncture, with an 11 attempt, eight completion and one interception effort, throwing for 118 yards and one 45-yard touchdown in the Pride's first major scrimmage on August 16. Former MU quarterback Andrew English, a junior, and red-shirt freshman transfer from Oregon State Anton Clarkson (9-6-0, 89 yards and a 23-yard touchdown, with three sacks) are still pushing Seck.
Running backs: Senior Trevor Dimmie, who owns the Hofstra career rushing record with 2,923 yards (656 in 2002) and led the Pride in rushing in 2000-01, rushed for 53 yards on six carries in the scrimmage. Red-shirt Terry Crenshaw and last year's leading rusher, Vemba Bukula (664 yards), who has flip-flopped between corner and running back, will return to the backfield to add depth behind Dimmie, as will Penn State transfer and junior Pete Gilmore.
Receivers: The Pride will stick with their four-wide formation for 2003. Eight players had receptions in the scrimmage, including sophomore Devale Ellis (4-42 in scrimmage) and 6'5" junior Marques Colston (2-68, two touchdowns). The Pride returns All A-10 receiver, senior Rick Bryant (67-793, two touchdowns in 2002), fellow senior Jamaal Perry (50-540, two touchdowns) and junior Isaac Irby (55-526, four touchdowns).
Offensive Linemen: Three starters return for Hofstra. Starting senior guard Brad Palmer (6'2", 300 pounds), a starting tackle in 2002 who will move to the other guard, Brandon Newton (6'2", 311, senior) and the starting guard in 2002 who will move to center, Patrick O'Brien (6'4", 295, junior). New at the tackles are sophomore Jed Prisby (6'5", 290) and former defensive lineman sophomore Willie Colon (6'4", 297). Four juniors and one sophomore are in the second team line.
Special Teams: Hofstra lost punter Joe Nolan (40.6 yards per punt in 2002) to surgery this summer, but junior Niall Duggan averaged 44.5 ypp on four punts in the August 16 scrimmage. Duggan kicked a 40-yard field goal as well and junior Chris Onorato (15-23 field goals and 31-32 extra-points in 2002) hit on two 45-yard field goals.

Coming Tuesday: The Defense Never Rests For Hofstra.

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