By Matt Leon
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The Ursinus College football team out in Collegeville, Pennsylvania, looks to be right in the mix of things this season in the always tough Centennial Conference.
The Division III Bears are coming off a 6-4 season in 2012 and they were picked to finish third in the Centennial preseason poll.
Head coach Peter Gallagher is happy with what he has seen so far in camp.
“We’re competing at a lot of positions and we’re looking pretty good right now,” Gallagher tells KYW Newsradio.
Ursinus has a real special player at quarterback in senior Chris Curran. An Ocean City High School product, Curran put together an incredible 2012 campaign.
“He threw for 25 touchdowns last year and (2632) yards,” Gallagher says “22-to-1 touchdown/interception ratio in Centennial Conference (games), 25-to-4 touchdown/interception ratio (overall) on the year.”
Curran has his top two receiving options back from last season in junior Jerry Rahill out of Archbishop Wood (53 catches inlcuding seven touchdowns in 2012) and big play threat, sophomore Darius Jones. He averaged 20 yards a catch on 33 receptions last season, while finding the end zone nine times.
While the air attack should be a real strength, Gallagher says they come into the season knowing they need to compliment it.
“We need to be able to run the ball,” Gallagher says. “There’s no question about it, we need to be able to run the ball and we need to be able to stop the run game on defense. You ask anybody out there, you’ve got to be able to run it and you’ve got to be able to stop the run to be successful. Those are really the things that we’re really focusing on right now.”
Ursinus averaged just over 105 yards a game on the ground and just 3.2 a rush in 2012. Gallagher says senior Jason Golderer, junior Taylor Paul and Plymouth-Whitemarsh product, freshman Corey Kelly are all backs in the mix to help improve that running attack.
“Defensively, we have a lot of athletes in our secondary,” Gallagher says. “We graduated four-time, first-team all conference kid in Chris Rountree, all conference cornerback in Scott Gardus. However, we’ve got some good athletes and good competition all throughout all five spots of our defensive backs. Our defensive line is looking to be a big improvement from a year ago, with (sophomore) Steve Ambs and (senior) Andrew Fiorentino and (senior) John Carty anchoring in the middle. (Senior) Kevin James doing a nice job for us and we’ve got some depth there as well. Linebackers, we’ve got like a three-man, four, five-man battle going on there and looking like we’re running around, being more physical at that position as well.”
Ursinus also has a great weapon on special teams in sophomore kicker Eric Boyer, who made 10 of 12 field goals last season.
The Bears open the 2013 season on a Friday night at home, as they host The College of New Jersey on September 6th.
You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattleonkyw.