By Matt Noonan
Here is the first part of our conversation with Williams College head coach Aaron Kelton on the Ephs main focus in training camp, which began on Monday, August 27, along with his outlook on the team’s defense and strongest unit.
On the team’s main focus in camp: “[Defense] is going to be our focus right out of the gate. [We’ll be replacing a] lot of three-year starters and good players, so other than Dan O’Mara, I think that in the secondary Ben Oliva at the cornerback position will be one of the guys that we’ll miss, but we’ve got some young guys who got some minutes last year, so we’re looking forward to seeing those guys step-up and play and then at linebacker, replacing a Dylan Schultz is going to be difficult for us. He [was] a tremendous player here and was our team’s leader, and so we’re going to have to replace him for sure and we’ll do it by committee if we have to, but we’re going to try and get the best play we can out of some of our guys. And then up front when you lose Colin Curzi and Dan Canina, who have been regulars on the NESCAC All-Star teams, you’ve got to replace those guys and then there were a bunch of good senior role guys that we’ve just got to replace on defense, so we’ve got our work cut out for us, but we feel like we’re pretty talented. We’ll be athletic and fast, so we’re just going to have to use the tools that we have.”
On Adam Marske’s role at quarterback: “He’ll start with the one’s in camp and there’s always competition every day in our program. We like to think we get good players and we don’t care who plays on Saturday, you’ve just got to know what you’re doing. We create that competition in practice, but Adam will certainly get the first look and then we’ll see what happens between Tom Murphy and Thomas Stephens and we’ve got a talented freshman coming in and they’re all good players, but there’s something to be said for game experience and being in the fire, so [Adam] is the air apparent right now.”
On having the defense overcome a lackluster season: “Last year was very uncommon for us defensively with the guys that we had coming back [because] we really felt that would be the focal point of our team and we just didn’t play well, so that was very disappointing. Our young guys have been extremely, extremely excited about getting the opportunity now to show what they’re made of and why they were recruited here, so they’re going to be super jacked up on defense to make plays and be one of the top defenses in this league. And that’s all that they’ve been talking during the summer and our communications is how excited they are to get a chance to shine, so that’s really great. We’re looking forward to seeing what some of these guys can do. There’s no more sitting on the bench and watching from the sidelines, it’s time to put up or shut up and they’re excited about it and they’re ready to go.”
On the team’s strongest unit this season: “With three starters back [on the offensive line] and a couple guys that got experience last year will step up in starting roles. We’ll be running the football like we do because I think that’s huge for us. We return every tailback in our program and we get Alex Scyocurka back from injury, which adds to our depth and our explosiveness on offense. We have an experience quarterback back, which is always great. At receiver we have Darren Hartwell and Greg Payton, both who got significant time [last season]. Darren’s been a league All-Star each of the last two season, and he’s going to be the most dynamic receiver in this conference and maybe in the country, so he’s explosive and has it all. He [even] helps in our return game, so we feel like we’re going to be pretty deep on offense and be able to put some points up and control the football and run the football and we’re excited about that possibility.”