By Matt Leon

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Division III Ursinus College Bears are waist-deep into preparations out in Collegeville for the upcoming season.

The Bears are coming off a frustrating 2016 season that saw them go 2-8 (2-7 in the Centennial Conference), but head coach Pete Gallagher likes what he sees here in the run-up to the 2017 season.

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“We’ve got a good camp going,” he tells KYW Newsradio.

The Bears have a young starting quarterback returning in sophomore Thomas Garlick. The Quakertown High School product threw for 1,522 yards and eight touchdowns as a freshman last year with eight interceptions.

“I think anytime you get a quarterback back in a system, we’re trying to do a lot of the same things, he had a full spring under his belt, is certainly a positive,” Gallagher says. “His reads, looking at who he should look at, not just out there slinging around, now really controlling the offense. So we’re excited about him coming back.”


Senior WR Carmen Fortino caught 71 passes last year for Ursinus. (Credit – David Morgan/Stylish Images/Ursinus Athletics)

A key weapon in the passing game for Garlick should be senior wide receiver Carmen Fortino who led the Bears last season with 71 receptions for 801 yards and five scores. Last year’s leading rusher, Stacey Gardner, also returns for the Bears. He had 459 yards and five touchdowns last season on the ground as a freshman.

Up front on the offensive line, the Bears have experience.

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“Grant Nulty, Greg Olsson and AJ Dalessandro all return as starters,” Gallagher says. “We’re moving Grant from center out to left tackle.”

Gallagher talks about some keys in the front seven on defense.

“It starts up front with our defensive line and returning Chuck Anderson,” Gallagher says. “He’s going to be a junior out of Northeast High School. He’s a very good player inside for us at tackle. Demarcus Henry out of Orlando, Florida, a senior for us, has been coming along and making some plays up front for us. At linebacker, Cody Richmond, a local kid out of Boyertown, was a defensive back a couple years ago, we moved down to linebacker last year, he’s flying around and making some plays. And another local kid out of Penn Charter, Jake McCain, has really caught our eye this preseason.”

Gallagher says they have some great competition in the defensive secondary.

“Senior Jamie Casseus at cornerback has played a bunch of football for us,” Gallagher says. “Mitch Bradford was a freshman last year, playing at corner for us and he’s back. King Nworu is back, played as a freshman, now he’s a sophomore. Freshman defensive back/safety Jack Spingler, an all conference kid, is back for us. Heath Hidlay is back for us as a senior in our secondary. They’re all getting pushed by the kids that are behind them. I think our secondary is going to be much, much improved and the strength of our defense.”

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The Bears open their 2017 season at home on September 2nd against Bethany College out of West Virginia.