Spring Football Update: Penn Quakers
By Matt Leon
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Spring practice is in the books for the Penn Quakers.
Penn, coming off a 4-6 season (3-4 in the Ivy), capped its off-season workouts with the annual spring game this past weekend.
“I think overall we’re happy,” Penn head coach Al Bagnoli tells KYW Newsradio. “It was a great opportunity for our young kids to show what they had. We got through spring without any catastrophic injuries, which is always a concern for coaches. All in all, I’m pleased where the squad is. We still have a lot of work to do, but we have great promise and potential.”
Penn will have a new look under center in 2014, as a pair of fifth year senior quarterbacks, Billy Ragone and Ryan Becker, have moved on. Ragone left quite the legacy at Penn, finishing his career as the only Quaker player with more than 1,000 career rushing yards and more 2,000 career passing yards. While these are big shoes to fill, Bagnoli is encouraged about the future of the position.
“(Sophomore) Alek Torgersen right now is our #1 kid, with (senior) Patton Chillura being the #2 kid, and we have three others battling for playing time as well,” Bagnoli says. “Alek played a little bit in the Cornell game last year, acquitted himself really well (6-10, 109 yards, 2 TDs). Very, very talented kid and I think had, overall, a very good spring. Patton really understands the offense, played really well this spring so I think we’re starting to get some of the answers.”
Listen to Matt Leon’s interview with Al Bagnoli:
These quarterbacks in new roles will also have a new mentor in 2014. Longtime Penn quarterbacks coach Larry Woods decided to retire after some two decades on staff.
“Larry has been a friend of mine, it seems like forever, so I’ll personally miss him, just on an individual level,” Bagnoli says. “He’s had a really good career, he obviously has quarterback expertise, but he’s got a nice way about him. He’s very calm, he’s very consistent in his approach, I think he’s the voice of reason sometimes when things get heated. So I think I’ll miss his professionalism as well. We’re fortunate, we hired Dan Swanstrom (as quarterbacks coach), he used to be the offensive coordinator for Johns Hopkins. Dan’s young, has lots of energy, did a great job at Hopkins and we’re excited to have him. But certainly we’ll miss Larry for all the things he brought.”
Penn opens its 2014 season on Saturday, September 20th when they visit Jacksonville.
You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattleonkyw.