By Matt Leon

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The Widener Pride have hit the ground running this college football season, starting 3-0 and scoring a boatload of points in the process. Widener is averaging just under 40 points per game here in the early going, and a big reason for that success is the play of junior quarterback Chris Haupt.

The Bloomsburg, Pa. native says comfort under their second-year head coach Isaac Collins, has been big here in 2011.

“We were able to get through two spring balls and two camps with this offense now, so everybody is pretty comfortable with it. So it’s just a matter of executing and knowing our assignments and knowing where we are supposed to be and when we are suppose to be there.”

You can hear Matt Leon’s interview with Chris Haupt in this CBS Philly ‘Sports Pod’ podcast…

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Haupt also says they work hard to make sure when they have the ball, that they are dictating things.

“Our biggest thing right now is tempo. Coach (Charles) Eger, our offensive coordinator, loves to be able to get on the ball and move the ball and wear the defense down. So that’s our biggest thing is just tempo. Our practices are very upbeat and we practice how we play, so definitely the tempo of the game is our biggest advantage, I’d say.”

Through the first three games, Haupt has thrown for 795 yards, while completing 59% of his passes. He has seven touchdown passes and two more scores on the ground.

But athletic success is nothing new for Haupt, although the venue is different these days. You see, before coming to Widener, Haupt played minor league baseball for three seasons in the Marlins and Blue Jays organizations.

“I’ve always loved baseball. Coming out of (Central Columbia) high school, (I) didn’t really have a whole lot of options for football. A lot of people that came to the school and talked (to me), knew that I wanted to pursue baseball. And then, when I got a call from the Marlins and they were interested, my mind was pretty much set — if I had a chance, I was going to take it.”

Haupt was drafted in the 30th round back in 2005. He spent two seasons in the Marlins system, then one with Toronto as a catcher.

“I gave it my shots. I worked my butt off as much as I could, I don’t have any regrets or anything like that. It would have been nice to be able to play for a couple more years, but once I started getting a little older and realizing that it was going to be tough to advance, I decided to give it up and go back to school before I was too old.”

He eventually ended up at Widener, and he says that baseball experience and being a little bit older (24) than the average junior, have really helped him when it comes to commanding the huddle.

“Baseball was a huge experience, especially leadership-wise. I learned a lot from the guys I played with,  those older guys – 22, 23-years old, out of college, playing professional baseball – they had a very good grasp on life, I would say, for how young they were and the position they were in. So I learned a lot from them and it’s definitely been able to help come over to football, and try to take the team and be a leader and be an example for the young guys especially.”

Haupt and the Pride visit Wilkes on Saturday afternoon

Reported by Matt Leon, KYW Newsradio 1060

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