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Marist Football Holds Annual Draft On Eve Of Spring Game
Turner Chosen With First Overall Selection.
POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. - It’s a tradition that occurs on the eve of the Marist football team’s Spring Game every year. A large number of Red Foxes, including nearly every member of the coaching staff, gather in a room to select who will don the red jerseys, and who will wear the white ones.
This year’s Spring Game will be held tonight at Tenney Stadium at Leonidoff Field at 7 p.m., with an alumni flag football game being held at the stadium from 5-6:15 p.m. Admission is free, and the concession stand will be open during the game.
Like everything associated with Head Coach Jim Parady’s program, there is structure … as well as several opportunities to enjoy some laughs.
Here’s how it works: the captains are split evenly among the two teams. At the beginning of the draft, there is a coin toss to determine the first pick. However, the team that wins the toss has the option of deferring the first pick, since the other option is picking second and third.
However, this is not a straight player-for-player draft. There’s a lot more strategy to it, because it’s a position-by-position draft. Every player is listed on a dry-erase board by position. Once the team that picks first takes a player from a particular position, the teams go back and forth until every player from that position is selected. Then, the team with the second and third picks gets to open the next two positions. Decisions have to be made quickly, since there are only 30 seconds per pick. Each pick was logged by associate head coach/defensive coordinator Scott Rumsey, seated in the front of the room with laptop.
The strategy involved is considerable. If there is a position where one particular player stands out above the rest, it is more likely to be opened first. If a position only has three players listed, two of them go to the team which opens it. Positions with more depth are more likely to be chosen later, since there is less value of having the first pick in it. Entering the draft, the running back spot was thought to be a prime example of that.
Anyway, onto the selections. Captains Nick Andre, Ray Fiumefreddo and Neil Walsh were the left side of the room, while Obozua Ehikioya and Jake Dembow were on the other side. At precisely 4 p.m. Friday, Coach Parady called the draft to order (Editor’s note: he didn’t have a gavel) by explaining the rules. When he was done, he called up a fellow New Hampshire native in Dembow to call the toss. Jake called tails (because tails never fails, right?), and won the toss. He created the first stir in the draft room by deferring the first pick, and opting to open the second and third positions.
Serving as the voice of his team, Andre decided to open up the defensive tackle spot and select Terrence Turner, who just converted to that spot from the offensive line. After Chris Peltack went to the Dembow-Ehikioya team and Andre’s squad also received Keith Mellor, Dembow opted for a fellow rising senior offensive lineman in left guard Jason Tillery. After that position as exhausted, the Dembow-Ehikioya tandem opted for last season’s Co-MAAC Defensive Rookie of the Year, Rory Foley.
While Mel Kiper, Jr. is not around to analyze the selections (after all, with 30 seconds between picks, how could he?), the Marist version of Kiper is running backs coach Don Clark, who is returning to the staff this season. Seated in the back of the classroom where the draft was held on the second floor of the McCann Center, Clark was warming up to give his analysis with one comment.
“Let me get ready for this,” Clark said. “HUH??”
A “HUH??” is a selection that draws plenty of criticism, while good picks are met with claps from the audience. On this day, there seemed to be more claps than “HUH"s.
When the last of the 73 players were selected (Editor’s note: we’ll hide the identity of Mr. Irrelevant), the teams then select their uniforms for the game. This is more important than meets the eye, because when you pick a uniform, you’re also drafting a coaching staff. Kept a secret from the players until the selection, the coaching staff splits itself up privately, and assigns colors to each staff.
There is a coin toss for this as well, and this time Andre called it. Tails never did fail on this day, since Andre called it and won. He chose white jerseys on white pants, the same combination worn by the Red Foxes in last year’s win at Iona to clinch a share of the MAAC title for the second straight year. The white-jerseyed coaching staff consists of Parady, Rumsey, defensive backs coach Larry Riley, kickers coach Tom Kelly, student assistant Nate Fields and student assistant Matt Spillane. The red-jerseyed coaching staff is comprised of defensive line coach Steve Gritti, offensive line coach Bill Roos, linebackers coach Casey Lorenz, wide receivers coach Isaac Pinckney, running backs coach/draft guru Clark, student assistant Ryan Restivo, and former quarterback Matthew Semerano, who is helping out the team this spring after completing his senior year in the fall of 2007.
Andre feels the White squad is strong in the trenches.
“We got a solid offensive line and defensive line,” Andre said before departing the draft room for practice. “That’s where it’s going to matter.
The Red team enters tonight’s game as the early favorite, at least according to its own players and coaching staff. Lorenz had this to say after the selections.
“I consider myself to be the secret weapon,” said Lorenz, who had coached the team’s running backs the last two seasons. “I can coach both sides of the ball and two special teams as well. Versatility matters … “
At this point, Lorenz’s sentence was broken off by senior manager Katie Roos, a fellow Roy C. Ketcham High School graduate in nearby Wappingers Falls, who asked him if his head was going to be able to fit through the door.
And with that, here are the rosters for this year’s Spring Game:
WHITE Ray Fiumefreddo, Neil Walsh, Nick Andre, Terrence Turner, Keith Mellor, Alan Ramirez, OG Igbinosun, Danny Angelastro, Joseph Mattera, Paul Rabito, Carlos Padilla, John Schaeffer, Chris Eanuzel, Chris Ortner, Stephen Carretta, Lamont Griffin, Kevin Ulrich, Kiely Nagle, James LaMacchia, Luke Vanderbeck, Miquel Requena, Kasey Nagle, Eric Lanthier, Brock Flynn, Jason DuBois, Kwame Domfe, Josh Peterson, Zak Viverito, Stephen Kearns, John Van Aman, Jack Lee, Benjamin Wyatt, Greg Whipple, Bob Abbatiello, Keith Kerwin, Chad Connor.
RED Obozua Ehikioya, Jake Dembow, Kees Coughlin, Chris Peltack, Jason Tillery, Frank Journick, Rory Foley, Ben Ortiz, Warren Patafio, Kwame Carlor, Patryk Krakowski, Lowell Robinson, Mike Pepe, Robert Spano, John Scanlon, Dayne LoCollo, Kurt Steubing, Everett Butler, Joseph Canevari, Will Brown, Shaun Weaver, Whitfield Morris, Steve Phaneuf, Joe Cricchio, Maximo Hernandez, Marco Veintimilla, Nic Zivic, Christian Dunnigan, Aubrey Holmes, Kevin Pauly, Patrick Sages, Daniel Faison, Derek Maldonado, Kevin Foley, Keith Mitchell, Khori Witter, Jim O’Donnell.
Marist Football Holds Annual Draft On Eve Of Spring Game
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