Tag: Brien Cullen

Mass. College Football: Catching Up With Chris Robertson (WPI Football)

WPI's Chris Robertson is ready for his fourth season with the Engineers to begin! (Photo Credit: Matt Noonan for NoontimeSports.com)
WPI’s Chris Robertson is ready for his fourth season with the Engineers to begin! (Photo Credit: Matt Noonan for NoontimeSports.com)

By NoontimeSports.com 

Our preseason college football coverage commenced on Monday with a trip to WPI to meet with the Engineers. We chatted with a variety of players – you’ll be seeing those video interviews soon – but also head coach Chris Robertson, who is very excited about his fourth season on the sidelines.

Below is our conversation with Robertson, who was kind enough to take a few minutes away from his team’s practice to chat about the upcoming season, his team’s tradition, as well as starting the year under “Friday Night Lights.”

Noontime Sports: This season, your team features all your recruits from seniors to freshmen. That must be exciting, right?

Robertson: “It’s kind of the start to really find out what type of a football program we’re going to be not just this year, but moving forward. We fully expect continue growth and from here on out because we have higher expectations of ourselves. Every Saturday, we’ll compete against any opponent, doesn’t matter who it is, but we don’t talk in terms of wins or losses because instead we talk about being in that moment, working hard in that moment and competing in that moment.”

NS: It certainly seems like there’s a different vibe surrounding this team because everyone is rather excited about practicing, as well as working hard off the field.

Robertson: “Well, I’m still going to push these guys to be the best football players that they can be because there’s no excuses and there’s a high level of accountability. All those things won’t change, but the thing that I have learned about young people these days is that as much as you challenge them to be great players and you hold them accountable by yelling and screaming, off the field you really have to get rid of that stuff and get the wall down. You have to come together as a family by eating and meeting together, and we’ve had different themes every night, too. We’ll sit down and we’ll read from a presentation and have some reflection on things, but at the end of the day it’s about handling adversity and pressure situations and being able to look through a window and not through a mirror. We really want to focus on that moment, but when we’re off the field we’re really focused on being a family and being a brotherhood.”

NS: I am guessing these traditions; along with your team’s senior leadership is what’s helping everyone come together, right?

Robertson: “We’ve always (relied on our traditions), but these guys are finally all mine. The seniors on down, they’re all mine. I think the leadership here with the seniors, who were here as freshmen and saw those things being put in place is great, but now their leadership reflects the things that are important to the program. Our program is a makeup not of me, but the senior leadership. These guys have a lot of those intangible qualities that make this a good environment for everyone.”

NS: Let’s quickly chat about your team’s schedule. Similar to last year, you’ll face the same non-conference foes (Curry College, Norwich University and Worcester State). Care to share why you scheduled these games again?

Robertson: “When you create a relationship with another team, usually it’s not a one year type of thing, so we’ll continue (what we did last year) and I coached against Coach (Skip) Bandini at Curry when I was at Salve Regina for four years. He’s the highest quality person I know, he’s a great man, he’s a great coach and Curry has a great program. Worcester State is Worcester State. The numbers change, the names change, but they’re tough, they’re ferocious, they battle until the end and Coach Brien Cullen is one of my best friends, he does a phenomenal job. And Norwich was a chance for us to kind of bring back an old Freedom Football Conference rivalry, so we jumped at it and we’ll be playing them for a few years and the alumni love it, so those three non-conference games are perfect and a good measurement stick for us as we get into the Liberty League.”

NS: Finally, your team starts its season under “Friday Night Lights” against Curry. That has to be an exciting feeling, even from a coach’s perspective, right?

Robertson: “This year we worked it out with Curry where we could basically get an early day of camp in and you can play Friday and then we can have a normal week to prepare for Worcester State, which is also a Friday game, too. The kids love it and it’s kind of what they love and what they’re accustom to and that whole flavor, but I am just glad that (after back-to-back Friday games), we get into a Saturday routine.”

Mass. College Football: Five Takeaways From Worcester State-WPI

The Lancers proved on Saturday that no lead is safe, especially a two touchdown deficit! (Photo Credit: Matt Noonan for NoontimeSports.com)

By Matt Noonan 

WORCESTER, MA – Saturday’s Worcester State – WPI football contests is officially in the books.

However, there were certainly a few interesting storylines that need to be highlighted from this particular match, which I have provided below.

1.) Flags were clearly an issue for both squads, as the Lancers and Engineers combined for 14 penalties for 145 yards.

Yet, one of the biggest questions, especially for WPI, was why neither team could capitalize on their opponent’s mistakes?

The Engineers were handed numerous opportunities to win this non-conference tilt, but their offense and defense struggled to capitalize their opponent’s errors.

“We had the roughing the punter penalty, which led to a very long drive for them, which you can’t have those things, it’s unacceptable. [There were also] some other critical situations where we were just doing stupid things,” explained WPI head coach Chris Robertson.

“It’s a young season, it’s a young team, we graduated 15 starters and we’re still in the growing process of this group, so we’re always going to compete, but we’ve got to be able to play up to a higher potential [going forward],” added Robertson.

Worcester State rallied from a two touchdown deficit to beat WPI on Saturday, 28-21! (Photo Credit: Matt Noonan for NoontimeSports.com)

2.) The third quarter was clearly an offensive struggle for both teams, but mainly WPI. The Engineers didn’t convert a single first down on three attempts, and also couldn’t capitalize on two penalties by the Lancers.

Worcester State’s offense stalled in the third quarter, too, and finished that frame with 60 yards, while WPI tallied 72 yards.

“You can’t leave plays out there, especially in a tight game [because] you’ve got to convert on a lot of those things, so we’ve got work to do,” Robertson said of his team’s third quarter performance.

3.) Last week against Anna Maria, Worcester State’s defense struggled to contain their opponent’s running attack. And this week that trend continued, as the  Engineers tallied 178 yards on 39 carries.

Sophomore Zach Grasis led the Engineers with 121 yards on 26 carries and two touchdowns.

“Zach is a big strong kid and runs well. I wish he had a little more of a game-breaking ability to be able to run by people, but he’s a positive yardage kid, he lowers his shoulder when he has to, and [he] certainly helps us move the chains, continue to get drives,” said Robertson.

“We’re young at throwing the football, so you need that dependability in the run game, which he gives us,” added Robertson.

4.) Robertson noticed that similar to his team’s first contest last week against Curry College, the Engineers had a difficult time producing points in the red zone.

WPI had four chances, but only converted on two of them, while Worcester State capitalized on all three trips.

“We had a couple of times where we had the ball in the red zone and couldn’t put it in for the second time in a row,” explained Robertson. “That’s something we’re constantly working on.”

5.) After Saturday’s contest concluded, Worcester State earned its second victory of the season. However, both of their wins have been outside the New England Football Conference.

Next week, they’ll face their first conference foe, Western New England College, a squad that won the league title last year against Framingham State.

“We are [starting to get a good sense of this team] and they pulled together and it’s good,” exclaimed Worcester State head coach Brien Cullen.

“Next week is going to be probably one of our toughest games coming up against WNEC,” Worcester State senior quarterback Corey Spencer said. “It’ll be a tough game, but we’ll get back to work on Monday.”

Mass. College Football: Revisiting Worcester State’s Fourth Quarter

Worcester State’s offensive line provided the necessary protection for senior quarterback Corey Spencer on Saturday against WPI! (Photo Credit: Matt Noonan for NoontimeSports.com)

By Matt Noonan 

WORCESTER, MA – Consider Saturday’s tilt against WPI a step in the right direction for Worcester State’s football team, as the Lancers overcame a 14-0 deficit in the first quarter to defeat their crosstown rivals, 28-21.

“I’m really proud of them,” said Worcester State head coach Brien Cullen. “We had some mistakes on the special teams and then down early [by] 14, and then we came back and made a special teams play of our own and really showed a lot of character.

“We’re a young team and it would have been easy to kind of pack it in, but [I was] really proud of a quality win against a [quality team], so we’re very pleased with that.”

Cullen should definitely be proud of his unit, but he must be thankful for his offensive line, which assisted senior quarterback Corey Spencer during the team’s go-ahead touchdown drive in the fourth quarter.

“The offensive line played unbelievable today, gave me a lot of time, so it was good to get a win,” stated Lancers senior quarterback Corey Spencer.

Spencer’s linemen not only provided him with enough time in the pocket, but also the opportunity to target sophomore Casey Hippert on a critical third down, as well as the go-ahead score.

“Everyone executed, we were patient, we hit the short stuff and it was just a well executed drive,” said Spencer.

Hippert echoed his quarterback by saying,“[It was] definitely exciting [to catch the game-winner]. I dropped a few easy ones in the beginning and then made up for it in the end.

“We knew we had to go in there strong because our defense made a great stop [early in the quarter], so we rolled down there and punched it in and we counted on our defense for the rest. ”

Cullen expressed prior to the season that he was worried about his offensive line, but after a game like Saturday’s, you have to wonder if he’s feeling a tad bit more confident about that particular unit, especially going into next week’s clash against Western New England College.

Mass. College Football: Cullen, Hippert on Worcester State’s 28-21 Victory

By NoontimeSports.com 

WORCESTER, MA – The Worcester State Lancers earned their second win of the 2012 season on Saturday afternoon at Alumni Field, as they defeated crosstown rival WPI, 28-21.

After the game concluded, Noontime Sports caught up with head coach Brien Cullen and sophomore wide receiver Casey Hippert to discuss their team’s second non-conference win.

VIDEO: Inside Worcester State Training Camp

By NoontimeSports.com 

WORCESTER, MA — On Wednesday, Matt Noonan caught up with Worcester State’s head coach Brien Cullen, senior quarterback Corey Spencer and sophomore tight end Casey Hippert to discuss the upcoming season for the Lancers. All three men seemed very excited and optimistic about their upcoming season.

Last year, the Lancers finished 8-3 overall and 6-2 in the New England Football Conference’s Bogan Division. This year, despite 19 graduating losses, Cullen and his squad will attempt to end their campaign with either a conference championship or an ECAC title victory.