PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — If the third year of Ray Priore’s tenure as the head coach of the University of Pennsylvania football team is as successful as the first two, it’s going to be a really fun fall for the Quakers.
Penn has gone 14-6 with Priore in charge (7-3 overall and 6-1 in the Ivy League in both seasons), winning a share of the Ivy League title in each season
Priore likes what he has seen out of his team in preseason camp here in 2017.
“On schedule right now,” he tells KYW Newsradio. “We are progressing day by day. This is our final four days of what we would consider preseason before we get to game week. Some roles still up to be won, but the kids are in good shape.”
The Quakers do have a hole to fill at quarterback with Alek Torgersen now with the NFL’s Washington Redskins. Priore talks about the competition to take over as the Quakers’ signal-caller.
“That has progressed real nicely,” he says. “We have a senior (Will Fischer-Colbrie), a transfer sophomore (Nick Robinson from Georgia) and a freshman (Ryan Glover). All three of them have competed real hard for the job. We’re going to wait through this week before we name a starter, probably right after the weekend. But all three kids are very, very talented and have shown great promise.”
Whoever ends up at quarterback will have the benefit of throwing the football to one of the most talented receivers in college football. Senior Justin Watson was a finalist last season for the Walter Payton Award, given to the FCS Offensive Player of the Year. In ten games, he caught 89 passes for 1,115 yards and eight touchdowns. He also chipped in an additional 133 yards on the ground. This followed a sophomore season in 2015 where he caught 74 passes for 1,082 yards and nine scores.
“Justin’s a very, very talented young man,” Priore says. “Has been a great leader, elected captain this year with [senior defensive end] Louis Vecchio. He can catch anything. He can make a two-yard catch into a fifty-yard gain.”
The Quakers also return their top running back in senior Tre Solomon. He rushed for 907 yards and nine scores a season ago.
Priore has high hopes as well for the other side of the football.
“Defense has looked real good,” he says. “We’re returning a number of starters. All-Ivy returners at all three levels on our defense. [They] have really, really bought into our system. Most of these kids have been starting since their freshman year so this is year three for them and they are looking on schedule.”
Penn will open its season on Saturday September 16th at Franklin Field against Ohio Dominican.