/notables/1999/oberlin-streak-of-different-nature

At Oberlin, a streak of a different nature

More news about: Oberlin

By Mark Simon
D3sports.com

The Yeomen are a patient bunch.

They would have to be at Oberlin, where the football team bearing that nickname (whose dictionary definition is "diligent and dependable workers") has spent nearly the last three seasons in football purgatory.

A 26-game losing streak would make pessimists out of a lot of people, but not first-year coach Jeff Ramsey.

There are reasons for this of course, most of which pertain to Ramsey's alma mater, University of California at Davis.

"That program won 12 games in the 1960s,'' said Ramsey, who played and coached there in the early '80s under recent College Football Hall of Fame inductee Jim Sochor. "Then they won 20 consecutive (Northern California Athletic Conference) titles, an all-division record. There are always programs you can look to and say that this can be done (here). Winning that first game will be the biggest hurdle. Once that happens, the kids will believe."

Things look grim at this point, with his team 0-7 and having been outscored 241-14 in its last four lopsided defeats, but Ramsey is big on making a fresh start. After coaching as an assistant at Sonoma State, Marietta and Illinois, Ramsey left football to become a manager for a wholesale book distributor, whose offices were located near the college.

Three years later the bug was back and the opening was practically next door after then-coach Pete Peterson resigned. Ramsey took the job. At his first team meeting in the spring, only 18 players showed up. By the time the season started, he had nearly twice as many. Initially, his quarterback moved to safety and his top linebacker switched to guard so that the team could fill out its lineup.

"I knew,'' said Ramsey about how he examined the football program, "that it had nowhere to go but up.''

Some opponents may chuckle when Ramsey's team takes the field, but the coach finds some of his players accomplishments fascinating under the circumstances. One starting defensive lineman comes from England and grew up on rugby. He's still learning a new sport. Another lineman, Kwesi Skinner, is legally blind in his right eye, but still has a tremendous passion for the sport.

"He knows the risks he's taking and he wants to play,'' Ramsey said. "A guy like that, you love to have him."

We won't get into the statistics and we won't delve into the 42-6 opening day loss to a Swarthmore program that prior to that game had the longest losing streak in the nation. Ramsey admits that his team isn't any good.

But he's here to promise that things will get better. One freshman, wide receiver Cody McCoy, was all-state small-school first team in Ohio. Another, linebacker Mike McClendon was a large-school honorable mention. Ramsey promises that any player he recruits will be a starter at the high school level. The facility, with three weight rooms and an indoor track, and the solid academic reputation of the college are appealing to most that come to the campus.

"I think with any program that there is the possibility for success,'' Ramsey said. "What determines the success is how hard the coaches work. If we wait for kids to come to us, it's not going to get done. People can blame anybody but that's not going to get it done. Our kids have a tough time believing- believing that they can make plays and that they can win. They've been beat up for so long, we're just trying to take it one down and one series at a time. My job is to make them better."

Oct. 20: All times Eastern
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at Framingham State 29, Westfield State 14
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Moravian 20, at Juniata 17
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at Salve Regina 41, Endicott 14
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at Thomas More 63, St. Vincent 13
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at Union 28, Hobart 23
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at Hamilton 27, Colby 24
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at Allegheny 44, Kenyon 35
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SUNY-Maritime 21, at Mount Ida 13
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Middlebury 43, at Bates 14
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at Amherst 21, Wesleyan 17
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Husson 48, at Gallaudet 21
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Wabash 35, at Oberlin 21
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Ohio Northern 7, at Muskingum 6
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at Wesley 34, Rowan 3
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at Stevenson 26, Albright 23
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Wittenberg 52, at DePauw 6
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Plymouth State 40, at Massachusetts Maritime 14
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Wooster 58, at Hiram 25
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Washington and Lee 36, at Hampden-Sydney 6
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Bridgewater 31, at Emory and Henry 23
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Lebanon Valley 17, at Misericordia 0
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RPI 30, at Alfred 15
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Ferrum 27, at Brevard 24
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Randolph-Macon 63, at Apprentice 14
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Cortland 34, at Morrisville State 20
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Trinity (Texas) 27, at Sewanee 21
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Wartburg 41, at Luther 16
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Tufts 21, at Williams 13
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Mount Union 66, at Wilmington 7
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MIT 30, at Coast Guard 21
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Franklin 29, at Rose-Hulman 22
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John Carroll 48, at Capital 21
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at Manchester 28, Bluffton 21
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Mount St. Joseph 71, at Anderson 27
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UW-Whitewater 20, at UW-River Falls 7
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Kean 26, at TCNJ 3
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at LaGrange 59, Greensboro 10
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at Worcester State 45, Mass-Dartmouth 40
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Muhlenberg 40, at McDaniel 13
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Western New England 45, at Becker 0
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at Maryville (Tenn.) 35, Methodist 14
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Adrian 36, at Kalamazoo 22
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Denison 31, at Ohio Wesleyan 20
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Berry 37, at Millsaps 22
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Birmingham-Southern 31, at Austin 24
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at Mary Hardin-Baylor 45, Belhaven 7
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at UW-Stout 23, UW-Stevens Point 17
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Eureka 37, at MacMurray 20
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at Illinois Wesleyan 13, Carthage 10
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Nebraska Wesleyan 14, at Buena Vista 13
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Lakeland 48, at Wisconsin Lutheran 0
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at Concordia-Chicago 37, Concordia (Wis.) 17
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at St. Olaf 29, Carleton 26
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at St. John's 41, Gustavus Adolphus 17
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at Concordia-Moorhead 42, Augsburg 20
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St. Thomas 84, at Hamline 0
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Westminster (Mo.) 24, at Greenville 14
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at Loras 44, Coe 38
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Monmouth 61, at Cornell 10
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Wheaton (Ill.) 56, at North Park 0
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Northwestern (Minn.) 30, at Martin Luther 14
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Hardin-Simmons 33, at Texas Lutheran 30
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at Macalester 47, Ripon 31
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at St. Norbert 38, Lawrence 6
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St. Scholastica 49, at Crown 21
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UW-Platteville 34, at UW-Eau Claire 14
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at WPI 41, Merchant Marine 7
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at Centre 42, Rhodes 35
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Hanover 49, at Earlham 14
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at Chicago 55, Beloit 12
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UW-Oshkosh 42, at UW-La Crosse 28
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at East Texas Baptist 68, Louisiana College 35
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at Brockport 45, Hartwick 0
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Western Connecticut 27, at Bridgewater State 20
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Chapman 38, at La Verne 21
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Pacific 17, at Lewis and Clark 7
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Pacific Lutheran 27, at Willamette 14
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at Whitworth 38, Puget Sound 23
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Redlands 42, at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps 25
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at Linfield 12, George Fox 6
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Sul Ross State 52, at Howard Payne 15
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at Castleton 17, Dean 14
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N.C. Wesleyan 21, at Averett 15
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at Otterbein 37, Baldwin Wallace 29
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Case Western Reserve 45, at Geneva 7
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Carnegie Mellon 42, at Thiel 10
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at Illinois College 23, Knox 13
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at Cal Lutheran 60, Whittier 34
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Occidental at Pomona-Pitzer
Oct. 20: All times Eastern
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at Johns Hopkins 52, Gettysburg 0
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at Wesley 34, Rowan 3
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at Frostburg State 62, Montclair State 3
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Wittenberg 52, at DePauw 6
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at Springfield 68, Catholic 20
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Wartburg 41, at Luther 16
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Mount Union 66, at Wilmington 7
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at Marietta 44, Heidelberg 21
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at Washington and Jefferson 34, Westminster (Pa.) 33
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Hardin-Simmons 33, at Texas Lutheran 30
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at Mary Hardin-Baylor 45, Belhaven 7
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St. Thomas 84, at Hamline 0
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at St. John's 41, Gustavus Adolphus 17
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at Illinois Wesleyan 13, Carthage 10
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at Concordia-Moorhead 42, Augsburg 20
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Berry 37, at Millsaps 22
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UW-Platteville 34, at UW-Eau Claire 14
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UW-Oshkosh 42, at UW-La Crosse 28
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at North Central (Ill.) 54, Augustana 2
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at Brockport 45, Hartwick 0
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at Linfield 12, George Fox 6
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Case Western Reserve 45, at Geneva 7
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