By Matt Leon

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — While every other college football team in the area is getting ready for its second or third game of the 2014 season, the Penn Quakers are still in preseason mode. Ivy League teams always start their seasons later than everyone else, so Penn is still working towards a September 20th opener.

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Earlier this year, Al Bagnoli announced this would be his 23rd and final season as Penn head coach. He will retire, with defensive coordinator Ray Priore taking over at the conclusion of the 2014 campaign.

Bagnoli has been wildly successful, winning 9 Ivy league titles at Penn and compiling a .670 winning percentage. He says right now things don’t feel any different for him.

“It didn’t through August,” Bagnoli tells KYW Newsradio. “It doesn’t through September. I’m sure human nature will kick in, and as we get closer to the end of the year, I tell everybody, this will be my final everything. So this is my final preseason, this is my final trip to Dartmouth, it will be the final home game for Harvard, at Cornell, whatever the scenario is. So I think as we get closer to the end, maybe it’ll have a bigger effect, but right now it’s business as usual.”


Listen To Podcast With Coach Bagnoli:



The Quakers are coming off a 4-6 season in 2013. So far through camp, Bagnoli likes what he sees.

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“So far so good,” Bagnoli says. “I think we’re on schedule. With the start of school now being before Labor Day, it’s really extended the amount of time that we have prior to our first game. So we’ve been able to pace things out pretty well. I think we’re on schedule. We’ve had two intersquad scrimmages with officials, and I think our input has been spot-on. Our health has been pretty good and now it’s just trying to get our legs back under us and really get us to peak for the 20th.”

Penn averaged 23 points a game last year on offense and Bagnoli says they have tweaked things on that side of the ball.

“We made a little bit of a philosophical change,” Bagnoli says, “where we’re going to be a combination of spread and tempo offense along with our traditional tight ends and fullbacks and power running game.”

The Quakers also have a new starting quarterback as sophomore Alek Torgerson takes over the offense. Bagnoli says he has a lot of talent.

“Can do everything we want done,” Bagnoli says. “Both throwing and running. He has very limited game snaps, so I think it will be important to surround him with some good kids. It’ll be important, early on, to give him some confidence and some easy throws. But I think, once he gets accustomed to varsity play, he has a chance to be really a special kid.”

Torgerson announced his presence with authority in his only game action as a freshman in the 2013 season finale. Coming in late in the 2nd half against Cornell with Penn trailing 42-21, Torgerson completed 6 of 10 passes for 109 yards and two touchdowns, leading a comeback that fell just a blocked extra point short, as Penn lost, 42-41.

On defense, Bagnoli says they have a lot of veteran talent returning.

“We’re fortunate to have some kids that are experienced and have the ability to play at a high level at all three different levels,” Bagnoli says. “Up front, (junior tackle Austin) Taps is back, who’s been a really good player for us. (Junior tackle Dan) Connaughton is back, who started last year, (senior end) Feerooz Yacoobi is back, (junior end) Tyler Drake is back. So we have quite a few kids from that down group back. (Senior) Daniel Davis at inside linebacker is kind of the guy that has all-league accolades. Then we are the beneficiary of having two fifth-year kids back in the secondary with (safety) Evan Jackson and (cornerback) Daniel Wilk. And Kenny Thomas is a returning starter at corner. I think we have a lot of experience. We have depth, and I think we’re pretty versatile on the back end of things.”

Penn will open the season on September 20th, visiting Jacksonville out of the Pioneer Football League. It will be the first-ever meeting between the two programs.

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You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattleonkyw.