/seasons/2013/contrib/20130915j02l36

New Coach, High-Powered Offense Leads Oxy Football

More news about: Occidental

LOS ANGELES — Senior captain and offensive lineman Dalton Spinas knows what it's going to take for the Occidental College football team to make a jump in the SCIAC standings.

 "Last year we were really good at moving the ball, we just lacked the discipline to finish drives and get in the end zone," said Spinas.

Photos of Oxy's Intrasquad Scrimmage

The Tigers had the most prolific passing offense, but finished 2-7 and left two wins on the table at La Verne and Chapman. Oxy was inside the La Verne five-yard-line with less than 2 minutes left, but failed to convert on 4th and 1. Against Chapman, the Tigers would have had a 2-minute drill to win if their defense hadn't allowed a conversion on 3rd and 15 late in the fourth quarter.

"I think that discipline will come with the new coaching staff this year," said Spinas, who's moving from right guard to left tackle this year. "We're still going to be productive we're just going to get more points on the board."

First-year head coach Doug Semones' contagious enthusiasm is the catalyst.

"The morale of the team is higher than I've ever seen at Occidental," Spinas said. "Coach Semones is a real high-energy guy, which we haven't really had in the past. He's really a players coach so all the younger guys are buying into that."

Semones was an assistant at Yale from 2009-11 and has had successful stops as a high school head coach and assistant in the Arena Football League. He is new to the SCIAC, but he doesn't have to see much to recognize attitude and ability.

"We're practicing well, the effort is there, the guys have bought in and we have some guys that can do some things," Semones said.

All-SCIAC Senior QB Tommy Edwards His Tigers will be among the best in the SCIAC at a handful of skill positions. Oxy returns Second Team All-SCIAC quarterback Tommy Edwards, who led the SCIAC with 340.3 passing yards per game and became just the fourth SCIAC quarterback to throw for more than 2,900 yards in a season.

Edwards' primary target will be junior wide receiver Samuel Stekol, who caught 50 passes for 715 yards as Oxy's No. 2 target last season. This year, with First Team All-SCIAC wide receiver Matthew Tuckness graduated, he'll be the focal point.

In the backfield, sophomore Kwame Do and senior Austin Cheadle will split carries.

On the other side of the ball, Oxy's defensive line will be its strength. The Tigers return Second Team All-SCIAC senior defensive endMichael Gilliam and standout junior defensive tackle Dallas Gosselin.

The difficulty for the Tigers on defense will be stopping the run, a challenge senior captain and inside linebacker Matt Matulaitis says Oxy's ready for.

 "We expect to be a lot better than we were last year. Defensively our strength will be our speed," said Matulaitis, who led Oxy with 64 tackles in 2012. "We're going to stop the run. We're another year older and we're going to stay gap sound."

Oxy returns a total of 17 of 23 starters, including kicker and punter Marc Kuzbari.

Oxy opens the season at Pacific this Saturday at 7 p.m.

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2013 Schedule

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Aug. 31: All times Eastern
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Moravian at King's
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Methodist at Campbell
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Alfred State at Coast Guard
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Allegheny at Thiel
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Stevenson at Frostburg State
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Wesley at Delaware Valley
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Mayville St. at Buena Vista
7:30 PM
Manchester at Trine
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8:00 PM
McMurry at Okla. Panhandle
8:00 PM
Millsaps at Belhaven
8:00 PM
Greenville at Millikin
Sep. 1: All times Eastern
7:00 PM
Salisbury at Albright
7:00 PM
Mount Ida at Mass-Dartmouth
7:00 PM
Fitchburg State at Curry
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Johns Hopkins at Washington and Lee
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7:00 PM
FDU-Florham at TCNJ
7:00 PM
MIT at Becker
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7:30 PM
Anna Maria at WPI
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Gettysburg at Bridgewater
Sep. 2: All times Eastern
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Kalamazoo at Oberlin
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Heidelberg at Olivet
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Worcester State at Salve Regina
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Wilkes at Muhlenberg
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Catholic at McDaniel
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Grove City at Juniata
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Birmingham-Southern at LaGrange
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Carthage at Aurora
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St. Norbert at UW-Stevens Point
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Knox at Eureka
12:00 PM
Maine Maritime at SUNY-Maritime
12:00 PM
Norwich at Morrisville State
12:00 PM
Bethany at Ursinus
12:00 PM
Brockport at Hobart
12:00 PM
Augustana at Cortland
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Bridgewater State at Buffalo State
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Carnegie Mellon at Washington U.
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12:30 PM
N.C. Wesleyan at Mount Union
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1:00 PM
Franklin and Marshall at Lebanon Valley
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Alma at St. Vincent
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Castleton at Plymouth State
1:00 PM
Lycoming at Susquehanna
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UW-Oshkosh at John Carroll
1:00 PM
Alfred at Ithaca
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Misericordia at Merchant Marine
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Albion at Wabash
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Dickinson at Randolph-Macon
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Bluffton at Wooster
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Union at Husson
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Springfield at Western New England
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Wittenberg at Westminster (Pa.)
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St. John Fisher at Washington and Jefferson
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Ferrum at Emory and Henry
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Averett at Hampden-Sydney
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Berry at Maryville (Tenn.)
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Waynesburg at Muskingum
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William Paterson at RPI
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Case Western Reserve at Chicago
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Kenyon at Sewanee
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Franklin at Thomas More
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Centre at Hanover
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Mount St. Joseph at Capital
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Baldwin Wallace at Defiance
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Earlham at Wilmington
2:00 PM
Hope at Monmouth
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Guilford at Huntingdon
2:00 PM
UW-Stout at Simpson
2:00 PM
Concordia-Moorhead at Nebraska Wesleyan
2:00 PM
Rockford at MacMurray
2:00 PM
Finlandia at Concordia (Wis.)
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St. Scholastica at St. John's
2:00 PM
Dubuque at Bethel
2:00 PM
Westminster (Mo.) at Gustavus Adolphus
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Macalester at Carleton
2:00 PM
Grinnell at St. Olaf
2:00 PM
Hamline at Crown
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UW-Whitewater at Illinois Wesleyan
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Whitworth at Central
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Coe at UW-River Falls
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Loras at Elmhurst
2:00 PM
Concordia-Chicago at Ripon
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2:00 PM
Presentation at Lawrence
2:00 PM
George Fox at UW-Platteville
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2:00 PM
Lake Forest at Beloit
2:10 PM
UW-Eau Claire at St. Thomas
3:00 PM
Austin at Bacone
4:00 PM
Puget Sound at La Verne
6:00 PM
Ohio Northern at Adrian
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7:00 PM
Christopher Newport at Southern Virginia
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7:00 PM
Brevard at Davidson
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Gallaudet at Shenandoah
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7:00 PM
Otterbein at Ohio Wesleyan
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Marietta at Geneva
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Widener at Rowan
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St. Lawrence at Utica
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Southwestern at Denison
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Martin Luther at Minnesota-Morris
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Rose-Hulman at Illinois College
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Trinity Int'l at Wisconsin Lutheran
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Sul Ross State at Texas-Permian Basin
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Luther at UW-La Crosse
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Wayland Baptist at Louisiana College
8:00 PM
Trinity (Texas) at Redlands
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Northwestern (Minn.) at Augsburg
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Iowa Wesleyan at Cornell
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Robert Morris-Chicago at North Central (Ill.)
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Wheaton (Ill.) at Benedictine
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Lyon at Hendrix
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Howard Payne at Southwestern Assemblies
10:00 PM
Rhodes at Willamette
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