The group at a glance:
No./ Name/ Pos./ Ht./ Wt./ Exp./ Hometown/ High School/ Transfer School
53 Joe Sullivan
C 6-2 295 R-Sr. Greensburg, Pa. / Greensburg Central Catholic Mount Union
64 Edward Reuben II
C 6-0 311 Fr. Burlington, N.J. / Burlington Township
76 Blake Podger
C 6-2 285 Fr. Hamburg, N.Y. / Frontier
61 Zack Hartin
OG 6-2 277 R-Jr. Monroeville, Pa. / Gateway
65 Stephen Yaremo
OG 6-1 275 Fr. Lockport, N.Y. / Lockport
68 Jordan Vicheck
OG 6-3 282 Fr. McKees Rocks, Pa. / Montour
73 Tavious Bridges
OG 6-2 287 Jr. Belle Glade, Fla. / Glades Central Pikeville
75 Jaycen Watts
OG 6-5 315 R-Sr. East Aurora, N.Y. / East Aurora
78 Nick Ruberto
OG 6-3 288 R-Jr. West Seneca, N.Y. / West Seneca East
79 Dominic Hitchcock
OG 6-5 291 R-Fr. Dunkirk, N.Y. / Dunkirk
62 Alex Molik
OT 6-4 309 Fr. North Tonawanda, N.Y. / North Tonawanda
63 Dan Lictus
OT 6-3 325 R-So. Findley Lake, N.Y. / Clymer Central SUNY Cortland
67 R.J. Hughes
OT 6-5 339 R-So. Monroeville, PA / Gateway
71 Jacob Potts
OT 6-6 308 R-Sr. Townville, Pa. / Maplewood
74 Sam LaRoche
OT 6-3 278 Fr. Union City, Pa. / Seneca
77 Jack Karsten
OT 6-4 311 Fr. Emporium, Pa. / Cameron County
Players lost: Bailey Geisbrecht, Erik Jacobs, Kyle Lanich, Joe Bowen, Joe Robak,
Players returning: Joe Sullivan, Zack Hartin, Jaycen Watts, Dominic Hitchcock, Dan Lictus, R.J. Hughes, Jacob Potts
Newcomers: Edward Reuben II, Blake Podger, Stephen Yaremo, Jordan Vicheck, Tavious Bridges, Nick Ruberto, Alex Molik, Sam LaRoche, Jack Karsten
Edinboro finished the 2014 season with the lowest output on the ground in program history, averaging just 63.6 yards per game. The very same offensive line that yielded such a poor rushing attack was a part of a school-record 57 sacks allowed. Suffice it to say, it would be difficult for 2015 to be worse in this particular department for the Scots. Whether it be a lack of overall talent, size, strength, heart and attitude, scheme or any combination, the offensive line will look to wipe the board clean from a year ago after it all went wrong and simply do things differently this season.
One major blow to this unit comes in the form of rising junior Joe Bowen hanging it up after continuously battling with knee injuries. The six-foot-five-inch, 295 pound tackle from Hummelstown, Pennsylvania was a mainstay and consistent contributor in the front five for Edinboro and will be sorely missed. Outside of Bowen’s departure, Kyle Lanich is the only other significant loss on the line from his guard spot.
Finishing 12th in the PSAC in scoring offense a year ago at 21.4 points per game, Edinboro will hope to make some strides offensively with its playmakers at quarterback and wide receiver, but must depend on a better group in pass protection to do so. The Scots finished with just 700 yards rushing on 313 carries (2.2 yards per carry, 63.6 yards per game) which were all dead last in the conference a year ago. The reality is, proven veterans must perform right out of the gates, or else it will be rather difficult to keep a quarterback upright, a running game sustained, or a defensive unit on the other side for Edinboro off the field.
Browning on the offensive line play: “I just think the big thing is we’ve got to have faith in them, rep things over and over and over. You end up being good at what you do and I think we want to run the football, so we’ve got to force that issue and we’ve got to run the ball every day in practice. We’ve got to become good at it; it’s an attitude.”
Browning on goals leading up to the season opener: “I hope we can learn our base offense and base defense. I hope that we can stay healthy and fresh. I hope we can grow together as a football team, have a great feeling for one another and before we kickoff on Thursday against St. Joseph’s I’d like to think that we’re a tight group.”
Jack Corey is now a member of the football staff as of this summer, joining Edinboro to coach the offensive line and tight ends after playing on the offensive line for the Fighting Scots.The following is the official gofightingscots.com bio page on Corey according to Edinboro sports information:
Former Edinboro offensive lineman Jack Corey joined the Fighting Scots staff in July as a part-time assistant. He will work with the offensive linemen and tight ends.
“Jack has grown as a coach,” Browning commented. “He has taken a step from a player to coach and really matured. He relates with the kids really well.”
A 2013 graduate of Edinboro with a bachelor’s degree in Sports Administration, he served as a volunteer assistant coach with the Fighting Scots from August 2013 to July 2014. He was an assistant coach at Salisbury University during the 2014 season, and since January he was an assistant coach with East Coast Prep in Barrington, Ma., serving as the offensive line coach and run game coordinator.
A native of Canandaigua, NY, Corey was a member of the Erie Express semi-professional team in 2013 and ‘14. He also served an internship with the Erie Sports Commission and interned as an assistant to the Athletic Director at the Millcreek School District. He was a member of the Edinboro men’s club lacrosse team from 2011-13.
What to expect:
Experience, good or bad, is still something a football team can lean on within a position unit and even though the Scots were far from superb last season, an older and wiser group has got to be better to roll out than a quintet featuring purely freshmen and sophomores. Regarding experience, redshirt seniors Joe Sullivan and Jacob Potts have practically seen it all. Sullivan, a six-foot-two-inch, 295 pound center from Greensburg, Pennsylvania started all 11 games last year after receiving high praise at this time a year ago.
After starting 10 times in 11 appearances two seasons ago, guard Jaycen Watts only got one start in eight games a year ago. Despite a demotion, the six-foot-five-inch, 315 pound fifth year player will have a chance to compete for playing time in his final go around. Other names to watch on the line include redshirt junior guard Zach Hartin, redshirt freshman guard Dominic Hitchcock, and redshirt sophomore tackle R.J. Hughes.
Note: All quotes were obtained firsthand from the 2015 PSAC West football media day luncheon on Monday, Aug. 10.
Mike Fenner is a staff writer at The Spectator.