By Matt Leon
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Coming off a third Ivy League championship in four seasons, the Penn Quakers recently completed their spring workouts.
Hopes are high that Penn can repeat as champions, as they have eight All-Ivy performers returning in the fall.
Head coach Al Bagnoli breaks down what he saw this spring.
“I think we have a little bit of an incomplete picture,” Bagnoli tells KYW Newsradio. “We have a lot of upper class kids who were banged up and unable to participate for a portion of spring ball. So we were able to really utilize our younger kids, so it was a great evaluation for our current freshmen and sophomores. So I think we have a pretty good handle on them. I would like to see a few more experienced veterans play, but that wasn’t the case this year, unfortunately. So hopefully we’ll be healthy in August and ready to go.”
When you talk about strengths on this team, the conversation starts in the backfield.
“We’re very experienced in the offensive backfield,” Bagnoli says. “It’s very unusual that we’re going to have four, fifth-year kids, line up from quarterback and back. So with (quarterback) Ryan Becker coming back and (quarterback) Billy Ragone and (running back) Lyle Marsh and Brandon Colavito at tailback, we’ve got four fifth-year kids, which is unprecedented in my tenure. So we should be very good at the offensive skill positions.”
When you’ve won three Ancient 8 titles in four years, your cupboard is obviously pretty well-stocked across the board. However, Bagnoli says they do still have some questions they need answered.
“Believe it or not, our punting scenario is probably my biggest question mark,” Bagnoli says. “(Graduating senior) Scottie Lopano has been here forever, he’s a forty game starter for us. So we were really trying to work on looking at the next punter, trying to look at a couple of different kids who can potentially help us. I think that was helpful for us. Outside of that, we were trying to get some defensive line depth, we graduated (three-time, first-team All-Ivy lineman) Brandon Copeland and a couple of the seniors. So those two were the two big question marks.”
Penn opens the 2013 season on Saturday, September 21st, at home against Lafayette.
You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattleonkyw.