The Crimson picked up five first-place votes and recorded 121 points in the poll, while the Brown Bears took the other first-place vote and finished a distant third with 88 points. Following the Big Green (76 points) in the poll were Princeton (73), Cornell (57), Yale (46) and Columbia (22).
Dartmouth went 4-3 last year in Ivy League play with its three losses to the three teams ahead of the Green in the preseason poll. Dartmouth’s Robert L. Blackman Head Football Coach Buddy Teevens knows that his squad has its work cut out for it to move up in the standings with all three of those contests on the road this fall.
“I think the coaching, recruiting and development of players in this league is as good as anywhere in the country,” Teevens said during a conference call with the media this morning. “Obviously we all coach intelligent young men, so because of that I think we collectively as a league can do more things on both sides of the football. The physicality in the league has gotten better and better, which has been demonstrated by the number of young men that have gone on to sign as free agents and draft choices.”
The Big Green have a number of players back at the skill positions, led by senior tailback Dominick Pierre (6-0, 215), a second-team All-Ivy pick a year ago when he ran for 830 yards and nine touchdowns despite being slowed by an injury during the second half of the season. He needs just 426 yards on the ground to become the third Dartmouth player to amass 2,000 in a career.
Coach Teevens will have the luxury of two capable quarterbacks competing for the starting job in sophomore Dalyn Williams (5-11, 205) and junior Alex Park (6-1, 200). Williams is the reigning Ivy League Rookie of the Year after completing 64.0 percent of his passes for 974 yards as a freshman with seven touchdowns and nary an interception. He is a dual threat behind center as well, capable of breaking off a long run with his speed and evasive maneuvers. Park, meanwhile, started the first seven games of the 2012 campaign, completing 62.6 percent of his passes for 1,370 yards and seven touchdowns to go along with six interceptions.
“We are very pleased and fortunate to have Alex and Dalyn back,” Teevens said. “Dalyn came in and replaced Alex mid-season due to an injury, so we feel like we have two starters. Park established himself early on, but we certainly knew Dalyn was a gifted athlete. He played in every ball game, so he kind of developed as time went on and was fully prepared to take over as the starter. The competition between the two has been very healthy. They are both supportive of each other but highly competitive, and I think that has made the position much stronger and the depth much better.”
Whoever is calling the signals will have a strong corps of receivers, beginning with junior Ryan McManus (5-11, 190) who was All-Ivy honorable mention last season with 42 receptions for 664 yards and a pair of scores. Sophomore speedster Victor Williams (5-9, 160) caught 14 passes as a rookie, and juniors Bo Patterson (6-0, 190) and Kirby Schoenthaler (6-0, 195) are looking to reestablish themselves after leading the team in receiving yards and receptions, respectively, as freshmen in 2011.
The defense has perhaps the best linebacking unit in the league, anchored by seniors Michael Runger (6-2, 225) — who led the Ivy League with 98 tackles in 2012 — and Bronson Green (6-0, 215). The secondary features senior free safety Garrett Waggoner (6-2, 205), a 2012 All-Ivy first-team selection, and junior strong safety Stephen Dazzo, both of whom picked off a pair of passes last year. Despite the graduation of a couple of key linemen, Coach Teevens has plenty of experience up front thanks to his rotating system to keep players fresh throughout the game.
The season begins on Sept. 21 when the Big Green travel to Indianapolis to take on one of the Pioneer Football League favorites, Butler, at 6 p.m. Local fans will get their first look at the team in the home opener the following Saturday against Holy Cross at 7 p.m.
Five of the six home games, as well as the three Ivy road contests, will be video streamed live courtesy of Northeast Sports Network via Big Green Insider, the Dartmouth channel on the newly formed Ivy League Digital Network (the Cornell game is unavailable due to being televised nationally on NBC Sports Network). Dick Lutsk and Wayne Young ’72 will once again call all of the action for Big Green Insider and on WFRD 99Rock at 99.3 FM in Hanover.
Through Aug. 21, fans can subscribe for a Big Green Insider 12-month package at a 20 percent discount for $71.95 to get all Big Green streamed events in the 2013-14 school year, or sign up for 12 months of every Ivy League streamed event for $95.95. Visit IvyLeagueDigitalNetwork.com for more information.