The Dartmouth football team finishes up its second week of Spring practices Saturday morning. The Big Green will be working on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays leading up the Spring game on Saturday, April 29th.
Dartmouth is coming off a frustrating 2016 season, beating rival New Hampshire for the first time in 40 years, but going just 1-6 in Ivy League play after winning a share of the Ivy title in 2015. The team is motivated by the memories of those struggles last fall.
"We're all disappointed, staff and players, with the outcome last year and coming back here to prove that it was an aberration," Dartmouth head coach, Buddy Tevens said. "The kids are motivated. We've got some skill and some talent. A lot of the younger players really developed in the offseason, physical strength and size, so it should be a very competitive Spring."
"There's a lot of hunger amongst all of the guys," Dartmouth quarterback Jack Hennigan said. "Everyone's excited to be out on the field and excited to become the best players on the field for the Fall starting now."
Hennigan is returning for his senior season. While the Big Green struggled to get wins in 2016, it was a pretty good year stats-wise for Hennigan. He threw for 2,725 yards, third most in program history. He also tossed 11 touchdowns and completed close to 60 percent of his passes. Hennigan will also have three strong wide receivers returning. Even though there are several other quarterbacks on the roster fighting for spots, Hennigan hasn't really set any goals for the Spring.
"I'm just looking to use Spring to improve every single day," Hennigan said. "We only get 12 practices, so we need to get better every single one. That's the common goal for everyone out here."
"Jack did a great job," Teevens said. "The numbers were real high last year. He had some success there. I think his confidence level should be high. The other guys are pushing him hard right across the board. So, we have some guys and it's good to have some competition. It makes everybody better."
Dartmouth has at least one major gap to fill next season on defense with the loss of All-American linebacker Folarin Orimilade. Orimilade was also the Ivy League Defensive Player of the year. There are a few players that coach Teevens is looking at to step up, but Orimilade's 83 tackles and nine sacks in 2016 are gong to be tough to replace.
"We'll miss him (Orimilade)," Teevens said. "His personality. His sense of humor. Obviously, his play and productivity. But, we've got other guys stepping up. We've got Jake Moen, a young guy who's coming along. Jack Traynor has been very very solid for us. Eric Meile as well. So, we'll find a replacement. It won't be him, but it will be someone like him."
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