October 20, 1999

At Oberlin, a streak of a different nature

More news about: Oberlin

By Mark Simon
D3sports.com

The Yeomen are a patient bunch.

They would have to be at Oberlin, where the football team bearing that nickname (whose dictionary definition is "diligent and dependable workers") has spent nearly the last three seasons in football purgatory.

A 26-game losing streak would make pessimists out of a lot of people, but not first-year coach Jeff Ramsey.

There are reasons for this of course, most of which pertain to Ramsey's alma mater, University of California at Davis.

"That program won 12 games in the 1960s,'' said Ramsey, who played and coached there in the early '80s under recent College Football Hall of Fame inductee Jim Sochor. "Then they won 20 consecutive (Northern California Athletic Conference) titles, an all-division record. There are always programs you can look to and say that this can be done (here). Winning that first game will be the biggest hurdle. Once that happens, the kids will believe."

Things look grim at this point, with his team 0-7 and having been outscored 241-14 in its last four lopsided defeats, but Ramsey is big on making a fresh start. After coaching as an assistant at Sonoma State, Marietta and Illinois, Ramsey left football to become a manager for a wholesale book distributor, whose offices were located near the college.

Three years later the bug was back and the opening was practically next door after then-coach Pete Peterson resigned. Ramsey took the job. At his first team meeting in the spring, only 18 players showed up. By the time the season started, he had nearly twice as many. Initially, his quarterback moved to safety and his top linebacker switched to guard so that the team could fill out its lineup.

"I knew,'' said Ramsey about how he examined the football program, "that it had nowhere to go but up.''

Some opponents may chuckle when Ramsey's team takes the field, but the coach finds some of his players accomplishments fascinating under the circumstances. One starting defensive lineman comes from England and grew up on rugby. He's still learning a new sport. Another lineman, Kwesi Skinner, is legally blind in his right eye, but still has a tremendous passion for the sport.

"He knows the risks he's taking and he wants to play,'' Ramsey said. "A guy like that, you love to have him."

We won't get into the statistics and we won't delve into the 42-6 opening day loss to a Swarthmore program that prior to that game had the longest losing streak in the nation. Ramsey admits that his team isn't any good.

But he's here to promise that things will get better. One freshman, wide receiver Cody McCoy, was all-state small-school first team in Ohio. Another, linebacker Mike McClendon was a large-school honorable mention. Ramsey promises that any player he recruits will be a starter at the high school level. The facility, with three weight rooms and an indoor track, and the solid academic reputation of the college are appealing to most that come to the campus.

"I think with any program that there is the possibility for success,'' Ramsey said. "What determines the success is how hard the coaches work. If we wait for kids to come to us, it's not going to get done. People can blame anybody but that's not going to get it done. Our kids have a tough time believing- believing that they can make plays and that they can win. They've been beat up for so long, we're just trying to take it one down and one series at a time. My job is to make them better."

Sep. 24: All times Eastern
Final
Christopher Newport 17, at TCNJ 0
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at Hobart 27, Union 23
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at Thomas More 20, Carnegie Mellon 16
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at Massachusetts Maritime 32, Worcester State 14
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at Endicott 37, Nichols 0
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MIT 30, at Maine Maritime 13
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at Buffalo State 40, Morrisville State 24
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at Salve Regina 48, Coast Guard 10
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St. Lawrence 20, at RPI 14
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at Framingham State 23, Western Connecticut 17
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at Montclair State 21, Rowan 14
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at Stevenson 54, FDU-Florham 15
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at Trinity (Conn.) 38, Bates 7
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at Western New England 59, Curry 28
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at Utica 24, Cortland 13
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Colby 9, at Williams 7
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at Middlebury 40, Bowdoin 3
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at Amherst 34, Hamilton 0
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Kean 24, at William Paterson 13
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at DePauw 66, Hiram 17
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Franklin and Marshall 45, at Juniata 22
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at Kenyon 31, Allegheny 7
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Salisbury 35, at Southern Virginia 0
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Albright 20, at Delaware Valley 17
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Lycoming 28, at Misericordia 24
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at Plymouth State 30, Mass-Dartmouth 14
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at Husson 35, Alfred State 0
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at Springfield 28, WPI 23
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at Moravian 24, Dickinson 10
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at Denison 45, Wooster 7
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at Wittenberg 24, Wabash 14
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at St. Vincent 57, Grove City 32
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at Susquehanna 55, Gettysburg 40
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at King's 21, Lebanon Valley 17
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at Alfred 20, Ithaca 6
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at Widener 25, Wilkes 23
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at McDaniel 30, Ursinus 27
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at Muskingum 28, Marietta 10
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at Minnesota-Morris 28, Iowa Wesleyan 27
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at John Carroll 42, Heidelberg 14
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Ohio Northern 16, at Otterbein 10
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Case Western Reserve 35, at Waynesburg 7
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at Franklin 44, Bluffton 38
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Rose-Hulman 23, at Defiance 15
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at Centre 49, Chicago 27
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at Mount St. Joseph 38, Manchester 19
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Hanover 49, at Anderson 25
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at Merchant Marine 55, Rochester 7
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Johns Hopkins 30, at Muhlenberg 24
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Concordia-Chicago 42, at Maranatha Baptist 10
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Washington U. 36, at Birmingham-Southern 21
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UW-Platteville 56, at Lakeland 0
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at Northwestern (Minn.) 38, Martin Luther 20
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at Eureka 28, MacMurray 13
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at Westminster (Mo.) 35, Greenville 14
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Dubuque 30, at Luther 17
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Monmouth 52, at Lake Forest 6
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St. Thomas 33, at St. John's 21
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at Augsburg 49, Carleton 17
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Bethel 44, at St. Olaf 7
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at Hamline 42, Gustavus Adolphus 40
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at UW-Whitewater 35, Morningside 21
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at Hardin-Simmons 48, Texas Lutheran 38
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at UW-River Falls 42, Southwestern 22
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Simpson 17, at Buena Vista 9
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at St. Scholastica 49, Crown 13
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Cornell 46, at Beloit 41
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at Carthage 27, Augustana 24
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Coe 48, at Nebraska Wesleyan 17
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at Wartburg 56, Finlandia 0
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at Wheaton (Ill.) 10, Elmhurst 6
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Hendrix 42, at Millsaps 14
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Illinois Wesleyan 45, at North Park 10
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at Macalester 34, Grinnell 0
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at Ripon 33, Knox 19
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Illinois College 40, at Lawrence 15
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UW-Oshkosh 77, at Morthland College (Ill.) 0
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Central 42, at Loras 34
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at Geneva 35, Thiel 27
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UW-Eau Claire 40, at Wisconsin Lutheran 14
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St. John Fisher 42, at Brockport 38
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UW-Stevens Point 44, at Adrian 19
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UW-La Crosse 41, at Carroll 7
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at Berry 41, Sewanee 3
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Westminster (Pa.) 38, at Bethany 9
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Ohio Wesleyan 29, at Oberlin 16
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at Tufts 17, Wesleyan 14
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Mount Union 49, at Baldwin Wallace 7
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at Capital 35, Wilmington 21
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at Southwestern Assemblies 23, Austin 17
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Cancelled
Langston at McMurry
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at North Central (Ill.) 42, Millikin 7
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at Chapman 19, Trinity (Texas) 17
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Sep. 29: All times Eastern
6:30 PM
Randolph-Macon at Shenandoah
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Sep. 30: All times Eastern
6:30 PM
Emory and Henry at Washington and Lee
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Sep. 24: All times Eastern
Final
at Thomas More 20, Carnegie Mellon 16
Box Score Recap
Final
at Hobart 27, Union 23
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Final
Christopher Newport 17, at TCNJ 0
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at Wittenberg 24, Wabash 14
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Final
Salisbury 35, at Southern Virginia 0
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Final
Albright 20, at Delaware Valley 17
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Final
at Utica 24, Cortland 13
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Final
at Stevenson 54, FDU-Florham 15
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Final
at Franklin 44, Bluffton 38
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Final
Johns Hopkins 30, at Muhlenberg 24
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Final
St. Thomas 33, at St. John's 21
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Final
at UW-Whitewater 35, Morningside 21
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Final
at Hardin-Simmons 48, Texas Lutheran 38
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Final
at Wheaton (Ill.) 10, Elmhurst 6
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Final
UW-Platteville 56, at Lakeland 0
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UW-Oshkosh 77, at Morthland College (Ill.) 0
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Central 42, at Loras 34
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Final
St. John Fisher 42, at Brockport 38
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Final
Mount Union 49, at Baldwin Wallace 7
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Final
at North Central (Ill.) 42, Millikin 7
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