The University of Redlands football team enters the 2010 season with its familiar expectations of consistent hard work and a commitment to excellence while also adjusting to a revised coaching staff. Following last year's 7-2 performance that included a huge road win against Whitworth University (WA) as the only California opponent to do so, Redlands remains true to the concept that every game counts. Although none of the opponents have changed from a year ago, the fact remains that each time the team takes the field, the Bulldogs must provide their very best.
Outside of Head Coach Mike Maynard, who begins his 23rd year at the helm of the Bulldogs, only one position coach returns to the same area that he guided last season. Complete with a former NFL coach in their ranks, the Bulldog staff offers newfound enthusiasm as well as impressive expertise to the team's outlook for 2010.
In addition, the Maroon and Gray boasts the on-field personnel to achieve their annual goals that start with a winning season en route to eventually advancing to the NCAA Championships.
Headlining the team's offense, senior quarterback and captain Dan Selway (Villa Park, CA) returns for his final season as a Bulldog, following two additional seasons of eligibility due to medical hardships. This preseason all-America performer brings amazing athleticism and a vast of résumé of experience, including last year's efficiency rating of 148.77 and 2,550 yards of passing. Nonetheless, he now operates under a new offensive coaching staff, which requires his attention to small adjustments.
Providing a supporting cast for Selway, sophomore Chad Hurst (Dixon, CA), and freshmen Bobby Brown (Ladera Ranch, CA) and Will King (Scottsdale, AZ) offer the keys for development as promising new play-callers. Specifically, Hurst brings a physically gifted option at quarterback who is eagerly waiting in the wings for his opportunity.
In terms of a target for Selway, look for graduate student wide receiver Evan Reuter (Cameron Park, CA) to step in for the recently graduated Brian Putman '09, who established a school record for receptions in a season with 77.
"Reuter's best quality is his competitive ability to rise to the occasion and be at his best when his best is needed," stated Maynard. "He is an excellent [captain] and brings out the best in the team with encouragement and leadership by example."
In addition, the coaching staff holds high regard for junior Tyler Aubrey (San Diego, CA), who made an impact last season as a wide receiver and returner on special teams. With a solid understanding of coverage, he bodes the skills to develop into a go-to receiver.
Senior wide receiver Nick Brucculeri (Garden Grove, CA) also returns with substantial experience under his belt, following a junior campaign in which he racked up 180 yards on just 14 catches. His knowledge and understanding of the offensive routes leads to success for himself and those around him.
Beyond Reuter, Aubrey and Brucculeri, Redlands boasts a substantial crew of receivers who have plenty of experience to draw upon as viable options for the airborne attack. Seniors Curtis Gold (La Verne, CA), Kyle Smith (Hoquiam, WA) and Ryan Frazier (Scottsdale, AZ) bring outstanding abilities to step in when called upon. Seniors Mike Davis (Valencia, CA) and Mark Richardson II (Los Angeles, CA) look to overcome nagging injuries in order to shine in their final seasons with the Bulldogs. Juniors Kyle Romero (Santee, CA) and Taylor Chapatte (San Diego, CA), and sophomores Aaron Atkins (Fallbrook, CA) and speedy Ryan Curnel (Simi Valley, CA) make this an extremely deep and talented receiving corps. Finally, the team welcomes sophomore David Metcalf (Northridge, CA) as a former quarterback who moves into a receiver role this season. Look for him to make an impact as an athletic addition to the air attack. Freshmen Taylor Irwin (Rocklin, CA), Jeremy Hanson (Fallbrook, CA), Ashton Barbour (Carlsbad, CA), Matt Swanger (El Cajon, CA), and Derek de Vera (Hercules, CA), as well as sophomore Justin Hale (Westlake, CA) and junior transfer Andrew Romero (West Covina, CA) bring quality depth to the receivers corps as well.
With a focus on improving production in both passing and rushing, the Bulldogs look to a viable crew of ball-carriers to provide a more balanced ground assault. Senior All-SCIAC performer Daylan Swedlow (Lake Arrowhead, CA) returns for his final season as the top running back from the 2009 campaign, in which he racked up a team-leading 628 yards on 140 carries while scoring half of the Bulldogs' rushing touchdowns.
"His style is fast, quick and slashing," Maynard said. "This fits our system well."
Senior Sean Quinn (El Paso, TX) looks forward to his second season with the Bulldogs as a lean, fit and strong running back. He exudes determination as a physical and powerful runner. Expect him to build off of last year's performance, which resulted in the second-most rushing yards on the team with 276.
In addition, junior Tyson Moll (Bountiful, UT) offers excellent versatility as a viable rusher, blocker and receiver. The team also holds high expectations for sophomore Brad Crisanty (Granite Bay, CA), who brings explosive speed and overall strength. The Bulldogs welcome the contributions of freshmen David Woolbert (Irvine, CA), Tyrel Lenard (Rifle, CO), and Josh Tierney (Covina, CA) as capable and talented offensive backs.
The Bulldogs offer a host of tight ends with the skill and strength to provide the big plays when needed. Graduate student Peter Tobiason Jr. (New Canaan, CT) returns after multiple surgeries as an incredibly tenacious blocker.
"His commitment to the program is exemplary," commented Maynard.
Expect senior Corey Sanchez (Salinas, CA) to enjoy a breakout year after a productive off-season of preparation. Junior Brad Walsh (La Verne, CA) and freshman Casey Busch (Chino Hills, CA) complement him and work to make their presence known in the coming season.
Beyond the playmakers of the offense, Redlands relies on a formidable and valuable crew of contributors to hold the all-important line. Leading this position group, senior Rick Albrecht (Yorba Linda, CA) returns as a starter for the Bulldogs. Despite a nagging injury in 2009, he garnered all-conference accolades and looks to repeat that effort as a physically tough player complete with the whole package.
His younger brother, Sam Albrecht (Yorba Linda, CA), steps in for the highly-touted Travis McBride '10 following his graduation from the program as a d3football.com All-America honoree. S. Albrecht's determination and overall strength bode well for this critical spot on the field.
Beyond these familiar names, the Bulldogs anticipate great contributions from a slew options along the offensive line. Senior Matt Allen (Memphis, TN) brings a solid background of starting experiences both at the offensive guard and offensive tackle positions. The coaching staff holds high expectations for his career finale at Redlands. In addition, junior Chris Radtke (Grand Terrace, CA) enters the 2010 campaign that much bigger and stronger than last year and eagerly fights to regain his starting role. Count on sophomore Dylan Wood (Torrance, CA) to bring the skill and determination to push for playing time on the offensive line. Junior Charlie Yaeger IV (Mission Viejo, CA) returns to action after an injury-plagued season in 2009 and strives to return to his spot at left tackle. Also, expect junior Jake Schnablegger (Bellflower, CA), sophomore Redlands East Valley product Mike Garcia (Redlands, CA), and sophomore Peter Kinney (Balboa, CA) to make an impact at both guard and tackle positions. After taking a few years off from football, graduate student Ruben Lerma III (Salinas, CA) joins forces with sophomore Nick Bennett (Cave Creek, AZ) as impressive cogs of the O-line.
Redlands looks to a hefty class of newcomers in freshmen Matt Ashman (Cypress, CA), Jorge Cervantes (Indio, CA), Jordan Ruiz (Concord, CA), Murphy Ryan (Palos Verdes, CA) and Tyler Decker (Simi Valley, CA), all of whom bring impressive depth and determination to this critical area.
Defensively, Redlands looks to fill the voids left by the loss of key competitors like Josh Cunningham '10, while also adjusting to a first-year defensive coordinator. As a group, the Bulldogs ranked third in the nation for rushing defense and sacks, while landing fifth for total defense.
This year's version of the Bulldog defense boasts a talented secondary that promises to provide great leadership both on and off the field while leaving its mark whenever given the opportunity.
Senior four-time all-conference performer and team captain Mike Nicolini (Novato, CA) and junior All-SCIAC honoree Josh Herrera (Vista, CA) spear-head this group as talented safeties. Nicolini anticipates his biggest season yet, given his three years of solid experience and leadership. He provided career numbers in 2009 and led the returnees with 57 total tackles, including eight for a loss of 39 yards. Herrera provides incredible pass coverage, which resulted in a team-high five interceptions during his sophomore season. This quiet leader simply comes through for the Bulldogs, down after down.
In addition, junior Tom Mouwen (Moorpark, CA), and seniors Steve Pope-Rolewski (Tucson, AZ), Tom Martin (Vancouver, WA) and Rudy Vidales (Los Angeles, CA) bring incredible depth to the safeties. Although Mouwen and Martin return after injuries in 2009, they bring a hungry determination to leave it all out on the field. Pope-Rolewski offers important versatility for pass coverage. Vidales made himself known with a variety of contributions that ranged from the third-most tackles among returning players as well a quarterback-hurry and four pass deflections. Look for him to continue that significant role as an even more prepared player in the coming season.
Maynard added, "Aiello is a dependable and sure tackler with the speed to get there."
Furthermore, senior Troy Clay (Spring Valley, CA) adds to the options at corner and looks forward to an injury-free season in his final year. Sophomores Vince DiPiero (San Jose, CA) and Carter Hersey (Fircrest, WA) boast excellent abilities as key role players for the Bulldogs, while freshmen Geoffrey Grant (Gig Harbor, WA), Gabe Lemus (San Diego, CA) and Brandon Morris (Mission Viejo, CA) look to provide additional depth as newcomers to the program.
With the departure of numerous outstanding contributors on the linebacker corps, the Maroon and Gray must rely on a youth movement of new talent to take over the reins. A tough and tenacious worker, sophomore team captain Jordan Garcia (Carlsbad, CA) gains the admiration of his teammates for his verbal encouragement and commitment to the Bulldogs. These attribute bode well for his success as well as that of his teammates. In addition, sophomore Justin Butler (Poway, CA), and juniors Brett Romero (Santee, CA) and Tony Santini (San Jose, CA) expect to make their move into significant playing time. In addition, Redlands looks forward to the contributions of sophomores Drew Blackwell (Redlands, CA) and Anthony Stephens (Cave Creek, AZ), and freshmen Trevor Manly (Diamond Bar, CA), Sean Woods (Victorville, CA), Johnny Bristol (Morganton, NC), Tyler Ewing (Sacramento, CA) and Peter Lyons (Salt Lake City, UT).
The defensive line requires perhaps the biggest adjustment with many new players taking over the various vacant spots. Juniors Spencer Minshew (Tustin, CA), Andrew Carreon (Covina, CA), Randall Crim (Mentone, CA) and converted offensive lineman Kevin Reyes (Trabuco Canyon, CA) strive to make an immediate impact as the go-to players. Seniors Taylor Cutler (Prunedale, CA) and Robert Eyler (San Diego, CA), and junior Jimmie Prater (Palmdale, CA) all rely on their veteran status and hard work to finally pay off as contributors for the Bulldogs. Junior Randall Lay (Lake Havasu City, AZ), sophomore Luke Copp (Elk Grove, CA), senior Alex Ouji (Chula Vista, CA), and junior Brett Hutter (Ontario, CA) strengthen this group with their talents and toughness. Finally, the D-line anticipates the future impact of newcomer standouts freshman Steven Locke (Barstow, CA), sophomore Nick Zortea (Simi Valley, CA), and freshman Daniel Kane (Covina, CA).
On special teams, Redlands expects a battle between junior Wes Norris (San Jose, CA) and newcomer junior transfer Scotty Miller (San Diego, CA), while Selway continues to provide another viable option as a punter. Norris provides consistency, with Miller and Selway bringing impressive distance. Senior veteran contributor Joe MacMillan (Pasadena, CA) anticipates his best season of his career with sophomore Connor Cook (Kamuela, HI) pushing him for field-goal and kick-off responsibilities. Freshman Kevin Grady (Seattle, WA) also provides depth to this part of the game.
In terms of a return game, the Bulldogs boast one of the best options in All-SCIAC honoree Nicolini, who ran back his first touchdown on a punt during last year's victory over La Verne and eclipsed the 100-yard mark on returns alone against Cal Lutheran University. His courage, speed and strength make him one that opponents wish to avoid.
Aubrey complements Nicolini as a kick returner with speed and vision. He went 50 yards on one play against Whitworth in last year's season opener and looks to build upon that experience in the coming year.
Finally, the Bulldogs boast sophomore Scott Payton (Sammamish, WA), sophomore Michael Polvere (Novato, CA), freshman Nick Kido (Honolulu, HI), freshman Zach Roberts (Oregon City, OR), sophomore Zach Bowers (Cave Creek, AZ), freshman Jessie Hobbs (San Diego, CA), and freshman Brett Rychel (New Braunfels, TX) to gain playing opportunities in the kicking game.
Despite the obvious changes in personnel, both on and off the field, the 2010 edition of Bulldog football promises to exude an impressive work ethic, relentless determination and the pursuit of excellence.
From Maynard's perspective, very little has changed in order for the Bulldogs to accomplish their goals.
"We try to do key things well but adjust to the talents of the players," he commented. "Our players' abilities dictate what we do so our systems are flexible to accommodate new and different players each year."
With the leadership of Selway, Reuter, Nicolini and J. Garcia guiding the players on field, the Maroon and Gray holds high expectations for success amidst the game-to-game challenges of the upcoming season. While relying on the constant foundation of "mental toughness" and "extreme desire", the Bulldog football team holds high expectations for continued success as it enters the second century of competition at the University of Redlands.