September 11, 2013

New Coach, High-Powered Offense Leads Oxy Football

More news about: Occidental

LOS ANGELES — Senior captain and offensive lineman Dalton Spinas knows what it's going to take for the Occidental College football team to make a jump in the SCIAC standings.

 "Last year we were really good at moving the ball, we just lacked the discipline to finish drives and get in the end zone," said Spinas.

Photos of Oxy's Intrasquad Scrimmage

The Tigers had the most prolific passing offense, but finished 2-7 and left two wins on the table at La Verne and Chapman. Oxy was inside the La Verne five-yard-line with less than 2 minutes left, but failed to convert on 4th and 1. Against Chapman, the Tigers would have had a 2-minute drill to win if their defense hadn't allowed a conversion on 3rd and 15 late in the fourth quarter.

"I think that discipline will come with the new coaching staff this year," said Spinas, who's moving from right guard to left tackle this year. "We're still going to be productive we're just going to get more points on the board."

First-year head coach Doug Semones' contagious enthusiasm is the catalyst.

"The morale of the team is higher than I've ever seen at Occidental," Spinas said. "Coach Semones is a real high-energy guy, which we haven't really had in the past. He's really a players coach so all the younger guys are buying into that."

Semones was an assistant at Yale from 2009-11 and has had successful stops as a high school head coach and assistant in the Arena Football League. He is new to the SCIAC, but he doesn't have to see much to recognize attitude and ability.

"We're practicing well, the effort is there, the guys have bought in and we have some guys that can do some things," Semones said.

All-SCIAC Senior QB Tommy Edwards His Tigers will be among the best in the SCIAC at a handful of skill positions. Oxy returns Second Team All-SCIAC quarterback Tommy Edwards, who led the SCIAC with 340.3 passing yards per game and became just the fourth SCIAC quarterback to throw for more than 2,900 yards in a season.

Edwards' primary target will be junior wide receiver Samuel Stekol, who caught 50 passes for 715 yards as Oxy's No. 2 target last season. This year, with First Team All-SCIAC wide receiver Matthew Tuckness graduated, he'll be the focal point.

In the backfield, sophomore Kwame Do and senior Austin Cheadle will split carries.

On the other side of the ball, Oxy's defensive line will be its strength. The Tigers return Second Team All-SCIAC senior defensive endMichael Gilliam and standout junior defensive tackle Dallas Gosselin.

The difficulty for the Tigers on defense will be stopping the run, a challenge senior captain and inside linebacker Matt Matulaitis says Oxy's ready for.

 "We expect to be a lot better than we were last year. Defensively our strength will be our speed," said Matulaitis, who led Oxy with 64 tackles in 2012. "We're going to stop the run. We're another year older and we're going to stay gap sound."

Oxy returns a total of 17 of 23 starters, including kicker and punter Marc Kuzbari.

Oxy opens the season at Pacific this Saturday at 7 p.m.

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2013 Schedule

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Nov. 22: All times Eastern
Final - OT
MIT 27, at Husson 20
Box Score Recap
Final
at Mount Union 63, Adrian 3
Box Score Photos
Final
at Wesley 52, Hampden-Sydney 7
Box Score Recap
Final
at John Carroll 63, Centre 28
Box Score Recap
Final
at Wabash 33, Franklin 14
Box Score Recap
Final
Christopher Newport 29, at Delaware Valley 26
Box Score Recap
Final
at Hobart 22, Ithaca 15
Box Score Recap
Final
Washington and Jefferson 41, at Wittenberg 25
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Widener 36, Muhlenberg 35
Box Score Recap
Final
at Johns Hopkins 24, Rowan 16
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Wartburg 37, St. Thomas 31
Box Score Recap
Final
at Wheaton (Ill.) 43, Benedictine 14
Box Score Recap
Final
at UW-Whitewater 55, Macalester 2
Box Score Photos
Final
at St. John's 35, St. Scholastica 7
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Linfield 55, Chapman 24
Box Score Recap Photos
Nov. 23: All times Eastern
Final
at Mary Hardin-Baylor 27, Texas Lutheran 20
Box Score Recap Recap Photos
Nov. 29: All times Eastern
12:00 PM
MIT at Wesley
Audio
12:00 PM
Johns Hopkins at Hobart
Video Audio
12:00 PM
Washington and Jefferson at Mount Union
Preview Live Stats Audio Tickets
12:00 PM
Christopher Newport at Widener
1:00 PM
Linfield at Mary Hardin-Baylor
1:00 PM
John Carroll at Wheaton (Ill.)
1:00 PM
Wabash at UW-Whitewater
1:00 PM
St. John's at Wartburg
Live Stats Video
Nov. 22: All times Eastern
Final
Salve Regina 48, at Norwich 21
Box Score
Final
at Wabash 33, Franklin 14
Box Score Recap
Final
Washington and Jefferson 41, at Wittenberg 25
Box Score Recap Photos
Final - OT
MIT 27, at Husson 20
Box Score Recap
Final
at Mount Union 63, Adrian 3
Box Score Photos
Final
at Wesley 52, Hampden-Sydney 7
Box Score Recap
Final
at John Carroll 63, Centre 28
Box Score Recap
Final
Christopher Newport 29, at Delaware Valley 26
Box Score Recap
Final
at Widener 36, Muhlenberg 35
Box Score Recap
Final
at Johns Hopkins 24, Rowan 16
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Hobart 22, Ithaca 15
Box Score Recap
Final - OT
at Framingham State 42, RPI 36
Box Score
Final
at Salisbury 48, Albright 27
Box Score Recap Recap
Final
at St. John Fisher 28, Western Connecticut 14
Box Score
Final
at Morrisville State 52, Utica 41
Box Score Recap
Final
Buffalo State 59, at Waynesburg 36
Box Score Recap
Final
at Wheaton (Ill.) 43, Benedictine 14
Box Score Recap
Final
at Wartburg 37, St. Thomas 31
Box Score Recap
Final
at St. John's 35, St. Scholastica 7
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at UW-Whitewater 55, Macalester 2
Box Score Photos
Final
at Stevenson 29, Bethany 7
Box Score Recap
Final
at Linfield 55, Chapman 24
Box Score Recap Photos
Nov. 23: All times Eastern
Final
at Mary Hardin-Baylor 27, Texas Lutheran 20
Box Score Recap Recap Photos