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Cornell second year with Kent Austin leading the way
The Cornell football team started fall practice on Tuesday. After a 2-8 season last year, CU was picked to finish at the bottom of the IVY League in the 2011 preseason poll, but the Red are hoping for a big leap this fall.
Leading the way in Ithaca for the second year is head coach Kent Austin. His squad will return nine offensive and eight defensive starters, including the Ivy League rookie of the year Jeff Mathews under center and two All-Ivy selections on defense in corner back Rashad Campbell and defensive end Zack Imhoff. The Red say they are ready to win some games and prove their doubters wrong.
Senior tight end Ryan Houska said, “I love it, I was fired up when we were picked last because I know this team is capable of so much more and it’s going to be that much sweeter when we can prove everyone wrong.”
Austin said, “They’re not thinking as much, they’ve learned the terminology, they’ve learned the game conceptually on both sides of the ball, and there’s a lot of carryover from last year and the spring so hopefully we’re thinking less and reacting more.”
The quarterback said, “We’re more confident, we expect more out of ourselves collectively as a team so we’re excited to get in those games again and have different results.”
New in the Ivy League in 2011 is a rule limiting the number of full contact practices allowed in an effort to reduce concussions. The Red say they won’t have to alter their routine to adapt to the rule, as they already only practice full contact drills twice a week, but are proud to be part of a conference that is looking out for its student athletes.
Mathews says, “Our presidents also voted to that in a classroom if someone does have a concussion on the field that they will be able to get help in the class room and just to be a part of this movement is really cool.”
Coach Austin says, “I don’t think that the recommendations and what we’ve adopted as the new policy will affect the quality of play at all on the football field and it will also help protect our players more.
As Cornell and the Ivy League push for a safer future for their players, the Cornell Big Red have the desire to win football games right now.