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Football season to kick off Saturday

On Saturday, the Brown football team will take the field for the first game of what promises to be an exciting season. With eight returning All-Ivy starters, the Bears are ready to reclaim the Ivy League championship that Brown last won in 2005. The team will be under the leadership of Head Coach Phil Estes, in his 11th season as Brown's head coach, and two co-captains, quarterback Michael Dougherty '09 and cornerback Darrell Harrison '09.

"Our confidence level this year is the highest of any team I've been on," Harrison said. "I was on that Ivy League championship team my freshman year, and this team has just as much, if not more, talent than that team."

The Bears' offense, which led the league with 31.2 points per game in 2007, will feature a strong passing attack in addition to a solid ground game. Dougherty will take the snaps for his second season. Last season he averaged over 300 passing yards per game in his first season as a starter, including three 400-yard performances.

He will be throwing primarily to wide receivers Buddy Farnham '10 and Bobby Sewall '10, who both earned All-Ivy honors last year. Farnham earned a spot on the All-Ivy first team, leading the Ivy League with 78 receptions and 10 touchdowns. Sewall also had a breakout season in 2007, with 68 catches for 553 yards and four touchdowns, as well as eight rushing touchdowns.

The highlight of his season came in the Bears' win over Dartmouth, when he racked up 141 receiving yards, rushed for another 144 yards, and threw a touchdown pass. After the graduation of All-Ivy receiver Paul Raymond '08, several players will rotate into the third wide receiver spot, including William Averill '10 and Chris Lamar '10.

Rounding out the receiving corps will be another returning All-Ivy selection, tight end Colin Cloherty '09, who was named to the second team after making 41 catches for 549 yards last season. With an All-Ivy quarterback throwing to three returning All-Ivy receivers, Brown promises to have a strong passing attack.

"Everyone's real positive right now," Dougherty said. "Whenever you have that kind of experience, it's pretty exciting."

After missing the last eight games of the 2007 season due to injury, running back Dereck Knight '09 will return to the field and will likely be splitting carries with Jonathan Edwards '09. Knight showed himself to be a talented open-field runner with a 208-yard performance, including a 61-yard touchdown run, in Brown's season-opening 28-17 win over Duquesne last season. In Knight's absence, Edwards displayed flashes of excellence in short yardage situations, scoring four touchdowns in his first start, against URI. The running tandem will work with an experienced offensive line, which is led by second team All-Ivy tackle Paul Jasinowski '10.

The defense will also return several key players from last year, including All-Ivy honorable mention Harrison and outside linebacker Jon May '09, as well as second team All-Ivy defensive end James Develin '10.

Develin, who led the league with six sacks and 13.5 tackles for loss in 2007, will anchor a defensive line that returns tackle David Howard '09, who was second on the team with 4.5 sacks in 2007, and tackle Joseph McPhee '09, who made two sacks last season.

May led the Bears' defense with 89 tackles last season, and will be joined at outside linebacker by Miles Craigwell '09, whose season included 63 tackles, a fumble recovery and an interception. Steve Ziogas '09 emerged as a powerful playmaker at inside linebacker last season, forcing three fumbles and intercepting two passes. Several players will compete for the other starting inside linebacker job, including Jesse Spartichino '09 and Kelley Cox '10.

After the departure of cornerback Matt Mullenax '08 and All-Ivy safety Jose Yearwood '08, Harrison will be joined in the secondary by Chris Perkins '10 at safety and David Clement '10 at cornerback.

"We lost a couple guys, but we're returning a lot of experience, and a lot of guys have been making plays in practice," Harrison said. "We're solid all around; it's just about performing to our potential. That's why I feel we're ready for an Ivy League championship this year."

A preseason poll ranked Brown third in the Ivy League, behind Yale and defending champion Harvard, who tied for first in the poll, but the Bears are relishing the opportunity to play a sleeper role.

"Last year I don't know if we knew what we were capable of ... but now we know what to expect and how to prepare for big games," Dougherty said. "We feel like we should be number one, but everyone likes the fact that we're under the radar, so we can sneak up on people."

The Bears will begin their 2008 season with a non-league game against Stony Brook (1-2) this Saturday at 12:30 p.m. at Brown Stadium. Though Stony Brook has already played three games this season, Brown does not see the lack of gameplay a disadvantage.

"We've been practicing so long, we're hungry to go out and bang up somebody else," Harrison said. "We have a level of hunger and

anticipation."


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