September 13, 2000


New coach, new offense, better results?
For Hughes, it's all about attitude

Positional Analysis

What to look for

Football schedule

Bradley stokes Chicago's Fire:
Princeton threesome enjoys success in the MLS

Sports Schedules

Sports Web Exclusives! Matt Golden's From the Cheap Seats column

New coach, new offense, better results?
For Hughes, it's all about attitude

"The loser now will be later to win, for the times they are a-changin'." These words from Bob Dylan's 1964 anthem described a social and cultural revolution. While the 2000 Princeton football team isn't undergoing quite as weighty a transformation, the Tigers face change on every front: the coach is new; the schedule is different; and, of course, many of the players have changed.

Heading into the season, the Tigers have lost 18 of their last 28 league games and can only hope Dylan is right about losers now being "later to win." The biggest question is, How much later?

New head coach Roger Hughes, who served as Dartmouth's offensive coordinator for the last eight years, can't answer that question. In fact, he is still trying to figure things out, but Hughes has no doubt about the principal prerequisite for winning - attitude. Hughes says, "No matter what our talent level was at Dartmouth, when we stepped on the field, we thought we could win the game. It could have been the Green Bay Packers on the other side, we thought we could win."

The first-time head coach believes early-season success will be critical to the Tigers' rebuilding process. "Princeton has not experienced success recently," Hughes says, "so one of our biggest challenges is to have success early, so that we expect good things to happen."

That may be a tall order. After replacing Steve Tosches, who compiled a 77-51-2 record with three Ivy titles in 13 seasons, Hughes scrambled to compile a coaching staff and salvage the remainder of the recruiting season. And though spring practice was productive for the new coach, he was hamstrung in his efforts to install new systems on both offense and defense. Several key players missed spring practice time because of injury, illness, or commitments to other sports.

Hughes favors a pro-style offense with multiple formations and motion. He wants better balance between the running and passing games, and he likes the gadget play. Hughes says, "I hope to continue our philosophy that we're not afraid to do anything anywhere on the field."

Hughes has experienced players returning on the offensive line and at quarterback and tailback. Tosches didn't use a fullback in his offensive scheme the last few years, so Hughes must figure out who can fill that role. Princeton's top two receivers graduated, and although George Citovic '01 started every game last year at tight end, it's a different position in Hughes's system; the coach needs tight ends who can catch and go in motion, not just block.

Hughes likes to audible more than Tosches did, and he favors an all-around athlete at quarterback over one with pure arm strength. He has two returning quarterbacks with experience, junior Tommy Crenshaw and senior Jon Blevins. Princeton has had seven different starting quarterbacks in the last eight years, so experience at QB is a plus. Despite missing most of the spring because of mononucleosis, Crenshaw is expected to be the starter, and Hughes hopes he can be a team leader.

"As far as raw talent, I think he's pretty talented," says Hughes, who has a history of developing great quarterbacks at Dartmouth, including Jay Fiedler, a Dartmouth graduate who is now with the Miami Dolphins. "We're asking him to do a few more things as far as reading the whole field, understanding coverage, seeing a defense, and being able to check to the right play. But I think he's emerging as a leader."

On defense, Hughes also sees the need to mix things up. While linebacker is the strength of the team, the secondary is young, and Hughes says the defensive line is "paper-thin," with no dominant players to replace All-Ivy first-teamer David Ferrara, who graduated with a school-record 28.5 sacks.

"We have one defensive philosophy -stop the run - but we're going to try to be more multiple within that philosophy so that people can't manipulate our personnel and our defensive fronts too much," says Hughes, who did not spend much time thinking about defensive strategy at Dartmouth. "We'll try to disguise our defense and hold the disguise longer in the secondary - show the zone and come up in man; show them man, then back out; show them blitz and back out; or don't show blitz and then come -we're going to try to be less predictable."

It sounds like a lot to learn, but at least the new schedule will give Princeton two games to work things out before facing a league opponent. Since 1975, the Tigers have opened with either Dartmouth or Cornell, usually putting the title out of reach for the loser. This year, however, the Ivies changed the first weekend to a non-league game, taking some pressure off the opener.

Despite all the changes at Princeton, don't expect the Tigers to improve their place in the Ivy standings. Princeton returns just three All-Ivy honorees from last year, and the preseason media poll has the Tigers pegged for sixth. Yale and Cornell are the favorites, with Penn close behind.

Brown, which shared the title with Yale last year, would also be a team to watch, but the Ivy presidents banned the Bears from championship contention this year due to recruiting violations in four sports. It is unclear whether Brown will be listed in the standings, but it does appear that games against Brown will count toward the other Ivy schools' league records.

By Phillip R. Thune '92

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Positional Analysis

Quarterback: Crenshaw (157 of 281, 1,662 yards, 7 TD, 9 int.) is Princeton's first junior to return as the starting QB since Doug Butler in 1984. Last year, he punished Columbia for more than 300 passing yards, marking the first time a Princeton quarterback had topped 300 yards since 1991. Blevins (37-61, 448, 3, 3) started the first two games last season, and he and junior Brian Danielewicz could see time if Crenshaw falters or gets injured.

Running Backs: The Tigers have speed, with sophomore rushers Cameron Atkinson and Tim Bowden comprising two legs of Princeton track's 4x100 meter relay team (WR Patrick Schottel '03 and DB Paul Simbi '03 were the other half). Atkinson (102 att., 348 yards) and senior Kyle Brandt (87, 466), the leading rusher a year ago, will be the tailbacks, with Bowden and Marty Cheatham '01 vying for the fullback slot.

Wide Receivers: Phil Wendler and Danny Brian took their 107 combined receptions with them at graduation, leaving a host of promising but untested wideouts, led by Schottel, Chisom Opara '03, and senior Tim Ligue. Cheatham is actually the leading returning receiver, with 20 catches last year.

Tight End: Citovic is the incumbent, but Hughes needs to find depth and receiving skills for this spot. Interestingly, Hughes coached first-team All-Ivy quarterbacks, running backs, and wide receivers at Dartmouth, but no all-league tight ends.

Offensive Line: The O-line is a strength for Princeton, although depth is a concern. Senior tackle Dennis Norman is the only returning first-team All-Ivy pick on the team and could become just the fourth Princetonian to earn first-team all-league honors three times. The right side is set with seniors Ross Tucker and John Raveche, but Hughes needs to replace four-year starters Hamin Abdullah and Bernie Marczyk.

Defensive Line: Ferrara is irreplaceable, but senior Nathan Podsakoff is back after a fine 1999 campaign. Starter Jason Rotman '01 is also back, but the inexperience at line is a huge question mark for Princeton.

Linebackers: Tosches's teams always had excellent linebackers, and that tradition continues into the Hughes era. Chuck Hastings graduated, but senior Mike Higgins was All-Ivy honorable mention last year and led the team with 85 tackles. He is the captain this year and heads a strong group of tacklers.

Defensive Backs: Princeton's pass defense has been woeful in recent years, and the defensive backfield is questionable again this year. The fleet Paul Simbi is the only returning starter, and Hughes will have to hope his stunts and fakes on defense help keep opposing teams in check.

Special Teams: Taylor Northrop '02 returns as both kicker and punter. He has a strong leg, but needs to work on consistency. Last year, he had a better percentage on field goals over 40 yards away than he did on extra points, which are 19 yards away. He averaged 38 yards per punt. Sophomores Andy Bryant and Atkinson will return kicks.

Freshmen: A coaching change can disrupt recruiting, but Hughes is pleased with the quality of the incoming freshman class, if not the quantity. Safety Brandon Mueller, who had an offer from Temple, could make an impact, and QB David Splitoff is a gifted athlete who may have to switch positions to see some time.

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What to look for

at Lafayette (8 offensive starters returning, 5 defensive starters returning): Like Princeton, the Leopards have a new coach and are expected to struggle. The Tigers have dominated Lafayette in recent years, so a loss in Easton would indicate Princeton has a long season ahead.

Lehigh (3 offensive, 8 defensive): The Tigers' home opener is a night game, and it won't be easy. Lehigh has won two Patriot League titles in a row, and although the Mountain Hawks graduated an excellent quarterback and tailback, their defense is powerful.

at Columbia (8 offensive, 9 defensive): The Lions feature 28 seniors, but none has experienced a winning season. Columbia should have a strong ground game, but the defense is porous.

at Colgate (3 offensive, 6 defensive): Colgate is picked to win the Patriot League this year behind TB Randall Joseph, who averaged 161 yards per game last season. The defense is tough, but other than Joseph, the offense is inexperienced.

Brown (7 offensive, 4 defensive): The high-scoring Bears graduated Ivy MVP James Perry at QB, but they have terrific wide receivers, including Stephen Campbell, the top returning wideout in Division I-AA, and a solid running back. The defense is weak overall, although two top linebackers return.

Harvard (6 offensive, 3 defensive): Graduation decimated the Crimson, taking their top rusher, receiver, passer, kicker, and tackler. But a big offensive line should clear the way for 5-foot-5 tailback Chuck Nwokocha, and give a new quarterback time to throw.

at Cornell (10 offensive, 8 defensive): In his third year as coach, Peter Manguarian, a long-time assistant to NFL coach Dan Reeves, is proving Ivy Leaguers can play a pro style. His team is one of the favorites to win the league, featuring a great passing attack and a deep, experienced defense.

Penn (5 offensive, 4 defensive): It's been five years since Princeton beat Penn, and the wait may continue this season. The Quakers will put points on the board, as all of their offensive skill players return. Five of seven All-Ivy defenders graduated, but the defense is deep.

at Yale (8 offensive, 7 defensive): Yale leads all NCAA schools with 799 wins, three ahead of Michigan (Princeton is fifth with 737 victories). Who will get to 800 first? Michigan plays two games before the Bulldogs' season opener, so it will be close. In the Ivies, Yale is the team to beat, with a defense that returns more all-league honorees than any other team.

Dartmouth (10 offensive, 3 defensive): The Tigers and Big Green will be up for this first matchup between teacher (Dartmouth coach John Lyons) and pupil (Princeton's Roger Hughes). The two were together at Dartmouth for eight years, and they will both have to come up with some new tricks. The Big Green is decent on offense, but needs to rebuild its defense.

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Football schedule

September 16 at Lafayette 1:30 p.m.

September 23 Lehigh 7:00 p.m.

September 30 at Columbia 1:30 p.m.

October 7 at Colgate 1:00 p.m.

October 14 Brown 1:00 p.m.

October 21 Harvard 1:00 p.m.

October 28 at Cornell 1:00 p.m.

November 4 Pennsylvania 1:00 p.m.

November 11 at Yale 12:30 p.m.

November 18 Dartmouth 1:00 p.m.

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Bradley stokes Chicago's Fire
Princeton threesome enjoys success in the MLS

Bob Bradley '80 and Jesse Marsch '96 hardly knew what to do when the Chicago Fire lost in Major League Soccer's 1999 playoffs. After all, the dynamic duo of coach and player had raised the championship cup each year since signing on for the MLS's inaugural season in 1996.

For Marsch, this tremendous run of success began during the spring of his senior year at Princeton. While struggling to complete his thesis, the midfielder was invited to attend tryouts for DC United, the fledgling MLS's Washington, D.C. franchise. The United had just persuaded Bradley to leave Princeton and join its staff as an assistant coach, and he wanted to bring along his star player.

The MLS was an instant success and so were the former Tigers. Bradley and Marsch helped DC take the first two league championships. Then, in 1998, Bradley agreed to join a new MLS team, the Chicago Fire, as its head coach. A trade brought Marsch to Chicago and reunited him with Bradley and another Tiger, Andrew Lewis '98, a defender who was acquired from the New York/New Jersey MetroStars in the MLS expansion draft before the 1998 season. The Fire proceeded to shock the league by winning the 1998 MLS championship in an upset victory - over DC United.

Three consecutive titles, Marsch says, didn't take away the sting of losing in 1999. "Last year's playoff loss still sticks in my mind, and I don't want to ever experience that feeling again."

If three great years have soured Marsch on losing, imagine how Bradley must feel. He has known nothing but success during his soccer career. After garnering All-Ivy honorable mention as a player at Princeton, Bradley began his coaching career with a one-year stint as the head man at Ohio University. He then joined the staff of legendary soccer coach Bruce Arena at the University of Virginia. In 1984, Bradley returned to his alma mater to become the Tigers' head coach. During his 12-year stint at Princeton, Bradley led the Tigers to three NCAA tournament berths and a Final Four appearance in 1993, for which he was named NCAA Division I Men's Coach of the Year.

Bradley rejoined Arena's staff in 1996, this time as an assistant for DC United. Bradley was also selected to serve as an assistant coach for the U.S. Olympic men's soccer team that year. And after his surprising championship in 1998, Bradley was named the MLS's coach of the year.

While championships drive Marsch, it is the challenge of constantly raising his level of performance that fuels Bradley's passion for the game. Marsch says of his coach, "He is meticulous and demanding. He is never satisfied with just a win or playing well. We can always get better."

It was that desire to compete at the highest level that drew Bradley from Princeton to the MLS. He says, "I loved it at Princeton and still have many friends there, but at times the Ivy League season was frustrating because it was so short. Just when you felt that you were becoming a good team, the season was ending. Also, coaching professional players is a little more challenging. Your credibility is on the line at all times, so you'd better know what you're talking about." Bradley feels that his teams have been so successful because the players are willing to challenge one another while working together. He says, "We try to create a situation where the coaches and players feel like we are in it together. We try to build an environment on the field where you are aware of what's going on for yourself and for your teammates."

The environment that Bradley strives to create on the field also extends to the locker room. Marsch says, "He is a bit of a player's coach in that he tries to get a read on players and where they are mentally each day."

While Bradley has close relationships with most of his players, he, Marsch, and Lewis (pictured right) have a special bond. Bradley says, "I have known both of them for a long time. I know them very well and they know me very well.

I am very proud of the way that they have grown up on and off the field."

And though, according to Bradley, Marsch claims to do the best impersonation of his coach, a recent effort left the midfielder speechless. While most of the Fire stayed behind to participate in a charity event after a game in Denver, Marsch flew home to attend the wedding of a longtime friend. While the team was flying back to Chicago the next night, Marsch called one of his teammates from the wedding. Marsch was in the midst of a particularly lively rendition of the Bradley impersonation when the teammate passed the cellular telephone to the head coach. To the surprise of Marsch, Bradley interrupted, and, with his team laughing, told his pupil that the impersonation needed a lot of work. As always, Bradley continues to see room for improvement.

By M.G.

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Sports Schedules

Men's Teams

September 15 at Old Dominion
September 17 vs. William & Mary at Old Dominion
September 20 at Rider
September 23 Dartmouth
September 27 Rutgers
September 30 at Columbia
October 3 at FDU-Teaneck
October 7 Hartwick
Cross Country
September 16 Oklahoma State/LaSalle/Manhattan
September 16 FDU-Teaneck
September 30 at Iona
October 14 at Lafayette Invitational
October 14 NCAA District II Regionals at Ames, IA*
September 16--17 at James Madison Invitational
October 7--8 at Temple Invitational
Sprint Football
September 29 at Cornell
October 6 Pennsylvania
September 22--24 Princeton Invitational
October 6--8 ECAC Team Tournament
Water Polo
September 15 at UCLA
September 15 at Long Beach State
September 16 at Claremont-Mudd
September 17 at Loyola Marymount
September 17 at UC Davis
September 23 at Bucknell
September 23 vs. Johns Hopkins at Bucknell
September 23 vs. George Washington at Bucknell
September 24 vs. Navy at Bucknell
October 6 at Johns Hopkins
October 7 at Navy
October 7 vs. Bucknell at Navy
October 8 vs. George Washington at Navy


Women's Teams

Field Hockey
September 14 Drexel
September 16 at Yale
September 20 at Columbia
September 23 Dartmouth
September 29 Maryland
October 4 at Rutgers
October 7 at UNC-Chapel Hill
October 8 at Old Dominion
September 16--17 at Dartmouth Invitational
September 30--October 1 Princeton Invitational
October 6--7 at Rutgers Invitational
September 16 at Yale
September 20 at Lehigh
September 23 Dartmouth
September 26 Rutgers
September 30 at Columbia
October 3 Delaware
October 6 at Richmond
October 8 vs. American at Richmond
September 15--17 at William & Mary
September 22--24 at Cissy Leary Invitational (at Penn)
September 22--24 Princeton Invitational
October 6-8 at Brown Invitational
September 15 at Brown
September 16 at Brown
September 22 at Rutgers
September 23 at Rutgers
September 27 at St. Peter's
September 29 at Juniata
September 30 at Juniata
October 4 at Manhattan
October 6 at Harvard
October 7 at Dartmouth
*if team qualifies
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