Category Archives: Football

Football Holds Annual Blue And White Spring Game

Pete Rossomando is confident his team will improve from a disappointing 2016 season.

by Dillon Meehan

After spending the past month and a half waking up early and preparing for the upcoming fall season, Central Connecticut’s football team held it’s annual Blue and White spring scrimmage, with the White team edging past the Blue team 10-0.

The White team, led by backup quarterback Tanner Kingsley and backup running back Drew Jean-Guillaume jumped out to an early 7-0 lead on their first drive of the game. Kinglsey scored  on a 25-yard run after keeping the ball on a read-option play.

On the next drive, another long run by Kinglsey set up a 25-yard field goal by Frankie Palmer, making it 10-0. That would be the final time either team had a chance to score.

The game excessively featured the current Blue Devils roster with first, second and third stringers drafted to each team.

While the game is mostly put on for students and fans to catch a glimpse of the team before the fall, it’s difficult to perform well when backups and starters are randomly mixed together.

“The hard part is you break up the offense, when you do that you have 11 guys that have been playing together for the whole spring, and when you break them up they just aren’t used to playing together,” said Blue Devils head coach Pete Rossomando.

After the initial first drives, the majority of starters were pulled in order to give backups reps and to protect themselves from being injured.

“We didn’t play Drew, Cam or KJ that much simply because we’re just trying to keep them healthy. We saw enough out of those guys all spring that we just needed to take them out,” said Rossomando on putting his team’s heath first. “We’ve got two guys out because of surgery and overall we’re just thin in numbers, so we’re just trying to keep everyone healthy.”

After a difficult 2-9 season, including going 1-5 in conference, the Blue Devils are looking to bounce back in 2017.

“We’ve looked good. I think we’ve done a nice job. Spring was really positive offensively with Jake and the other veteran group, our offensive line is coming together,” said Rossomando on his outlook for the team. “You couldn’t tell from today because we split them up, the communication just isn’t the same.”

Now heading into his second season as the full time starting quarterback, Jacob Dolegala is looking to add on to his record breaking 2016 season. The junior set the school record for most passing yards in school history with 2,934 yards, which was also good for second bets ever in the history of the NEC. On top of that, Dolegala completed 60 percent of his passes and threw 15 touchdowns to nine interceptions.

“He’s had a great spring, it’s just different when you have a guy back there that knows what he is doing. We’ve talked about synergy in the past and there is just so much synergy with him out there. He’s not just worried about what he’s doing, he’s lining every else up too,” said Rossomando on his starting quarterback.

The Blue Devils start their season on September 1. against Syracuse, with their first home game coming on September 9, against Fordham.

Hernandez To Seek Appeal

by Brennah Dallaire

Former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez, was acquitted of first degree murder charges on Friday, in the killings of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado. While Hernandez’ attorneys work on a case for appeal of his 2015 conviction, speculation about his future circulate.

Abreu, 29, and Furtado, 28, were gunned down outside of the Boston nightclub, Cure. The shooting was in response to a supposed altercation inside the nightclub after Abreu bumped into Hernandez on the dance floor, spilling his drink.

The prosecutor’s explained that Hernandez and friend Alexander Bradley left the club, followed the victims by car, pulled up next to them at a stop light and opened fire on Abreu, Furtado and three other men. One other man in the vehicle sustained an injury but survived.

After making an immunity deal with the Suffolk District Attorneys Office, Bradley went on to testify that Hernandez had in fact shot and killed the victims. Bradley is serving time in prison in Connecticut for involvement in a Hartford nightclub shooting. Bradley believes Hernandez is involved in a shooting in Miami in 2013, that left Bradley blind in one eye.

However, jurors found that the burden of proof was not met. Hernandez was found not guilty on the first degree murder charge, but was convicted of unlawful possession of a firearm.

Judge Jeffrey Locke sentenced him to four to five years in prison on top of his life sentence without parole, at the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center for the murder of Odin Lloyd in 2013.

Surveillance video and texts messaged show Hernandez and two friends pick Lloyd up from his home the night of his murder. Texts messages between Lloyd and his sister showed Lloyd wanted her to know who he was with referring to Hernandez as “nfl.” Other surveillance footage from that night show Hernandez with a gun at his North Attleboro, Massachusetts home. Lloyd was shot and killed in an industrial park a half mile away from Hernandez’ home.

Hernandez’s attorneys felt that they have a strong case for appeal. Hernandez’s defense attorney, Jose Baez told ESPN “I wish he’d called me [for the first trial].”

“I think there are plenty of flaws in that (Lloyd) conviction. If they are exposed properly, he certainly can and should get a new trial,” Baez said.

Not all parties are happy to hear that Hernandez may have a shot at getting out of prison. Although he was found not guilty on the most recent murder charges, the families of the victims found comfort in the verdict knowing that Hernandez would stay in prison.

“At least he’s not walking out the door today,” is what Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel Conley told ESPN family members of the victims said.

The appeals process can take years. Hernandez’s defense team would have to prove that Judge Susan Garsh made mistakes in the Odin Loyd case, that impacted his receipt of a fair trial.

According to Sports Illustrated, those injustices could not adequately explain to the jury the definition of extreme atrocity and cruelty in the first degree murder convictions. The jury came to the conclusion that the murder was not premeditated, but was of a cruel nature warranting first degree murder.

There is a possibility that the court will hear his appeal in the Lloyd murder case. However, Hernandez would still serve four to five years for the unlawful possession of firearms conviction; unless this charge is appealed and vacated as well.

Retired NFL Hall of Fame player Cris Carter, told TMZ Sports that he does not think Hernandez will ever play in the NFL again, even with a successful appeal.

“I doubt he would ever play again in the NFL…if he was in any other industry besides the rap industry he wouldn’t be able to get work,” said Carter.

In 2013, the Patriots released Hernandez less than two hours after his arrest. The team quickly distanced themselves from the investigation and Hernandez who had no previous behavioral or criminal issues.

A prison record doesn’t necessarily mean athletes can’t return to play in professional sports. Michael Vick served 18 months in prison after being convicted of conspiracy to operate a dog fighting ring.

Shortly after, Vick was reinstated to the NFL and began playing with the Philadelphia Eagles, then went on to play for the New York Jets and the Pittsburgh Steelers before retiring.

 

Colin Kaepernick is Not Dividing People-You Are

by Daniel Bates

As we enter into the sixth week of Colin Kaepernick’s protest against what he sees as wrongdoings against minorities in this country, we’ve heard it all: People are talking, players are talking and the media is talking.

Kaepernick decided that he could not bring himself to stand for the national anthem, due to the social injustices that African Americans and minorities face in this country-specifically, police brutality.

Recently, Fox News’ Brian Kilmeade alluded to the idea that Kaepernick’s protest could lead to “black and white division.” He argued that Kaepernick expressing his views would not only create division between black and white players, but black and white people across the country.

Suppressing opinion is what creates division amongst people, not expressing it. When people are inflexible, stubborn, and think, “This is not a problem,” that is what creates division within society.

With every distracting comment about how Kaepernick’s kneeling is disrespectful to the military, those who criticize him are unjustly projecting what the national anthem means to them and not accepting that it may mean something else to another individual.

Many people are failing to understand that it is possible to simultaneously love the country, and those brave enough to fight for it, while protesting certain aspects in which our country may come up short.

The magnificent Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had it right when he said, “Insulting Colin Kaepernick says more about our patriotism than his.”

Then adding, “One of the ironies of the way some people express their patriotism is to brag about our freedoms, especially freedom of speech, but then brand as unpatriotic those who exercise this freedom to express dissatisfaction with the government’s record in upholding the Constitution.”

Even though Kaepernick has repeatedly stated the great respect he has for our men and women fighting for our country, critics are so wrapped up in trying to suppress his opinion that they are the ones who are actually creating the division by being so rigid.

It seems that whenever a Black American tries to express that things going on aren’t right, they are met with some sort of distracting narrative or blind anger that misses the point. We do not do this to any other group of people who are trying to bring attention to their cause.

“Black Lives Matter,” is retorted by, “All Lives Matter.”

When Colin Kaepernick decided to use his platform to bring awareness to a cause he cares about, it got misconstrued as a bad quarterback trying to stay relevant, or how he is somehow disrespecting the flag and America. Even though Kaepernick eloquently spoke about why he chose to sit during the national anthem after being asked.

It’s like others want black people to peacefully protest, but “not like that.”

Former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura, who wore the uniform, stood in full support of Kaepernick, stating, “That’s why I served my country, so that you have the freedom to protest.”

I guess the real question is which video is more upsetting, seeing Colin Kaepernick take a knee during the national anthem? Or watching Terence Crutcher, Alfred Olango, Keith Lamont Scott, shot dead in the street? Which is more angering? Which is more talked about? Which was tweeted about more? The answers may be depressing.

While Colin Kaepernick may have generated anger with his protest, he also created a discussion between us. It is unwillingness to join the conversation that is creating the real division.

 

Cowboys Made the Wrong Decision Drafting Ezekiel Elliott

by Dillon Meehan

2015 was a rough year for the Dallas Cowboys. Tony Romo’s shoulder injury sidelined him for 12 games and Dallas finished with a 4-12 record. With Romo set to return with a surgically repaired shoulder, the Cowboys had the number four pick in the draft and had a chance to find the missing piece they needed to solidify their defense and take control of the NFC East. And then they blew it.

Despite having the fourth pick and having plenty of defensive talent, such as DeForest Buckner or Jalen Ramsey on the board, the Cowboys selected Ezekiel Elliott with the fourth overall pick.

Is Elliot a phenomenal player who possesses a unique skillset? Of course, but it was not the right call to make with the fourth pick. Dallas had a lot of production out of Darren McFadden and recently signed Alfred Morris this offseason. In the modern-day NFL, it is important to have a good running game, not necessarily a good running back.

Elliot was given a top-15 grade by most analysts and would likely have been available just outside the top 10. Dallas could have found a way to trade back, acquire future picks and then draft him around nine or ten and have saved cap space as well.

But they didn’t and now Jerry Jones can have his dream of having another set of triplets to haunt opposing defenses. In the 1990s it was Troy Aikman, Michael Irvin and Emmitt Smith. Now it is Tony Romo, Dez Bryant and Ezekiel Elliott. With the Cowboys having arguably the best offensive line in football, there is no doubt Elliot will have success, but the value lost just simply is not worth it.

There is this mentality in the drafting process to take the best player available; most teams follow it while some don’t. The only team that flat-out admits to drafting for need is Seattle. What makes this situation so interesting is that Dallas is not in need of a running back, nor was Elliot the best player available. It was a decision to draft a running back to add to an already stacked position.

There are holes in the secondary, among the defensive line and even in the linebacker corps, which they filled to an extent by drafting Jaylon Smith the following round, but it is unknown if he will return to previous form.

After looking so smart and drafting Zack Martin and Byron Jones with their first pick the past two years, Dallas appeared to have caved in to allow owner Jerry Jones to pick, after having to swallow his pride and watch Johnny Manziel fall to Cleveland two years ago.

While they went for defensive linemen in the third and fourth rounds, it is likely that those picks will see playing time while Randy Gregory and DeMarcus Lawrence are out, but after the first four games, they will likely be fringe players with the potential to become quality rotational players.

Blue Devils Show Progress With Annual Blue-White Game

by Dillon Meehan

With only a handful of months before Central Connecticut’s football season kicks off, the team gathered for their annual Blue-White game. The game that featured the Blue team (offense) against the White team (defense) is less for the players’ benefit than it is a chance for the fans to get excited about the upcoming season.

After spending the past month and a half practicing, the team was able to show off their progress made since last November.

“We made a lot of progress,” said Head Coach Pete Rossomando after the game.

The Blue team was able to defeat the White team 47-25 in a game that awarded each side points for unusual reasons, such as quarterback sacks or first downs.

“Overall, we’re good. Jake has had a really great camp, he has established himself as a starter and we think going forward that he is going to be a guy that is going to help us,” said Rossomando of his starting quarterback.

It has been an interesting year and a half for Jake Dolegala. An injury to fellow freshman Tavion Pauldo gave him the opportunity to split time as the starting quarterback, a position he has since solidified as his own after Pauldo left the team this spring.

“Knowing that the job is mine now, it has settled me down. Allowing me to be myself out there, and not be as nervous,” said Dolegala of winning the position as starting quarterback.

In 11 games last season, Dolegala showed improvements in nearly every game, moving from a quarterback who barely had a grasp of offense to someone who could be relied on to win games.

“It was there in the spring [last year] but a freshman quarterback is a freshman quarterback. It’s still a lot to learn. He did a great job,” said Rossomando. “He got us our first win against Bowie and played every game, valuable experience that you can’t put a price tag on. You can see it in his leadership and his comfort with the offense.”

Dolegala completed 13-20 passes for 174 yards and a touchdown. The highlight of the game was his 52-yard throw to classmate Trey Hodge on a deep post. The following play, Dolegala found sophomore Joey Fields wide open in the end zone for an 18-yard touchdown.

“When I first got out here, the game was so fast. But now playing against our defense, which is one of the best in the conference, it has really slowed down for me,” said Dolegala of his ability to read a defense.

Apart from the improvements on offense, the Blue Devils continue to improve on their stellar defense that is retuning seven players who received All-Conference honors.

“Defensively, we’re really strong right now,“ said Rossomando.

The secondary has been the strongpoint for the Blue Devils during Rossomando’s tenure, and next fall looks as though it may be the best in the conference.

Jevon Elmore, who is entering his senior year, was one of two Blue Devils named to the NEC’s first team All-Conference list. However there is another member of the Blue Devils’ secondary that is challenging for a spot as CCSU’s best defensive back.

Najae Brown, a sophomore safety, was named to the NEC second team last fall, and Rossomando believes he can become the best player in the conference.

Two years ago, Brown was named the Division II Defensive Freshman of the Year while playing for New Haven. When Rossomando left New Haven for CCSU in January 2014, Brown followed and has continued to become a standout player.

“We have a lot of experience coming back this year,” said Brown. “This should be the year where we make that big jump forward. I’m looking forward to the challenge and making that leap.”

CCSU’s season starts out Friday, September 2 when they take on Lafayette at 6:00 p.m.