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Date Posted: 17:54:24 07/29/04 Thu
Author: J.J.
Subject: Football preview

From: <a rel=nofollow target=_blank href="http://www.sportsnetwork.com">http://www.sportsnetwork.com</a>

Nice write up. Gives hope for the upcoming season and the future of the program.

Out With the Old: Paul Schudel (10-21 in three seasons) was fired on Nov. 21.

In With the New: Tom Masella, former defensive coordinator at UMass (2002-03), was hired on Feb. 4. A former head coach at Boston University (1996-97), where he compiled a 2-20 record, Masella also held collegiate positions with Louisiana Tech (1999-2001) Connecticut (1998), Fairfield (1995), Boston University (1990-94), the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (1985-89) and Wagner (1982-84).

What Returns: Masella inherits some talent from a 2003 team that finished 3-8 but defeated eventual Northeast Conference champ Monmouth. Quarterback Scott Dolch (1903 yards, 15 TD), running back Cory Harge (1082 yards, 8 TD), and receiver Akeen Watson (38 receptions, 4 TD) were all underclassmen last year. Masella’s toughest tasks will be replacing mid-major All-America tight end Mike Malone (37 receptions, 8 TD) and All-NEC offensive lineman Anthony Almeida. CCSU gave up 32.6 points per game last year, but the longtime defensive coordinator will have some players with which to work, including All-Conference defensive backs Donnie Rose (4 INT) and Chris Blackshear (5 INT).

Level of Expectation: CCSU’s last winning season came in 1988, and the Blue Devils’ have never won more than three Northeast Conference games in a year. Central probably won’t be anyone’s pick to win the NEC in 2004, though the fact that the team welcomes back so much from a corps that was a couple of plays away from being 6-5 last season makes them a dark horse to ascend a few rungs of the league ladder.

Prognosis for Tenure: Credit is due Schudel for improving the overall infrastructure of the football program, even if the former coach’s won-loss record didn’t reflect those strides. The Blue Devils were just about always competitive under Schudel, and the fact that many of the principles from last year’s team were freshmen and sophomores bodes well for the early portion of Masella’s tenure. The new head man has vowed to open up the offense, an adjustment from Schudel’s ball-control approach, and should also be able to shore up the technique of a defense that was inconsistent a year ago. In addition, Masella will look to excise early-season mismatches against fully-funded scholarship programs like UMass and New Hampshire, which left CCSU battered and shell-shocked prior to the important part of its schedule. Masella is an experienced and well-respected coach who has been looking for an opportunity since he had his program swept from underneath him at Boston University in 1997. This stop will be a lower-profile one for the coach, but you can expect it to be significantly more successful.

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[> Re: Football preview -- inside, 10:17:07 07/30/04 Fri

Bigger preview at CCSUBlueDevils.com

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