Cadets open 2010 camp with high expectations

More news about: Norwich

Norwich sophomore RB Orwin
Etkins powers
past a defender
during a
drill at the team's
training camp last year.

Norwich athletics photo

NORTHFIELD, Vt. – The Norwich University football team returns to campus this week fresh off a 2009 campaign which saw it reel off eight straight victories and capture the inaugural Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) crown. The Cadets have high expectations of defending their title this year as they return the majority of starters on both sides of the ball.

Sophomore QB Kris Sabourin enters his first camp as the starter. Sabourin began last season third on the depth chart before being forced into action when NU's top two signal callers went down with injuries in the second game. An adept ball handler and runner, Sabourin posted an 8-1 record as a starter while leading the conference's top rushing attack (294.4 yards per game). He looks to continue to improve in the passing game where he made tremendous strides towards the end of last year.

The offensive line, anchored by senior team captain Don Hanni, looks to continue its dominance this season. The veteran line looks to plow wide lanes for the NU runners and provide Sabourin with a comfortable pocket from which to operate.

The Cadets return a stable of running backs this season looking to maintain a potent ground game. Junior Andrew Fulford and sophomores Orwin Etkins and Danny Triplett will all see playing time in a running back-by-committee system. Senior RB Kyle Marzeoti, who was granted an extra year of eligibility by the NCAA for medical hardship, should also get plenty of touches.

The receiving corps, led by senior WR Emilio Martinez and sophomore WR Chris Denton, will look to help advance the development of the team's spread offense. Junior WR Adrian Dantzler figures to have an impact this season, too. Seniors Derek Hungerford and Daniel Pellegrini give the team two solid options at the tight end position.

Defense looks to fill the biggest voids in replacing graduated DB Donovan Brown and DL Reza Afsarmanesh, both of whom were first team All-ECFC defenders last year.

Junior DB Charles Stiles looks to take over leadership of the defensive backfield playing alongside whoever can command the other safety spot vacated by Brown. The cornerback competition should also be fierce as both spots need to be solidified.  Returning junior DB Jeramie Little will look to earn a starting spot at cornerback after receiving considerable playing time last year.

The defense will look to a talented and experienced front seven to take pressure off the secondary. Senior captain linebackers Rocco DiMeco and Mike Ohrenberger look to control the middle of field while fellow seniors Chris Roberto and Zach Sucharski hope to wreak havoc along the defensive line. Both units have depth and should look to get many different players into the game.

The special teams unit looks to be strong again this year with seniors P Brian Segit and K Ryan Kelly returning.  Junior P/K Long Ding, who transferred into the program, should push Kelly during camp.

The return game should feature several new faces auditioning to return punts and kicks, with Etkins the only returning player with experience fielding kickoffs.

The team arrives on Friday, Aug. 13, with freshman getting processed in the morning before the entire team reports for strength and conditioning testing in the afternoon.