ACADEMIC INTEGRATION COMPETITIVE EXCELLENCE

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Harvard Football Chosen Second in Ivy League Preseason Media Poll

The Crimson received five first-place votes (Gil Talbot).

Ivy League Football Media Day Teleconference

PRINCETON, N.J. – In a vote of Ivy League football media members, Harvard was selected to finish second in the Ancient Eight this season. The media poll was released Tuesday as part of the league's annual football media day.

Harvard received five of the 17 first-place votes and finished with 121 points, while Penn, who won last year's conference crown, earned 11 first-place votes and amassed 129 points. Brown also picked up a first-place tally and was chosen third with 88 points.

Dartmouth was fourth with 76 points, followed by Princeton (73 points), Cornell (57), Yale (46) and Columbia (22).
 
Harvard has registered at least seven wins in each of the last 12 seasons, making the Crimson the only team in the history of the Ivy League to post such a string of successful campaigns. In 2007, Harvard became the first Ivy team to put together seven straight seven-win seasons. The Crimson has also reeled off 13 straight wins at home since October 2010.
 
Entering his 20th season in Cambridge, Tim Murphy, the Thomas Stephenson Family Head Coach for Harvard Football, will look to capture another conference crown in the program's 140th season of football, despite being significantly younger at most positions than recent Harvard teams.
 
From last year's squad, Harvard graduated Colton Chapple, the Ivy League Offensive Player of the Year in 2012, as well as tight end Kyle Juszczyk, who was selected in the fourth round of the NFL Draft by the Baltimore Ravens. The Crimson, which scored an Ivy record 394 points in 2012, will need to replace a good deal of experience on offense, but Harvard does return tight end Cameron Brate, who has garnered several preseason All-America accolades this year.
 
On defense, Harvard brings back captain and linebacker Joshua Boyd, as well as standouts Nnamdi Obukwelu, Zach Hodges and Jack Dittmer on the defensive line, and defensive backs D.J. Monroe, Norman Hayes and Chris Splinter, among others. The Crimson also returns senior kicker David Mothander, who holds Harvard's career scoring lead for kickers with 197 points (21 field goals, 134 extra points). Mothander's 197 points also ranks ninth in Ivy League history.
 
The Crimson will open the season on the road at San Diego Sept. 21, before hosting Brown under the lights at Harvard Stadium on NBC Sports Sept. 28 at 7:30 p.m. EST. Harvard will play two other games on NBC Sports: vs. Penn at Harvard Stadium Nov. 16 and at Yale in the 130th playing of The Game Nov. 23.
 
Harvard finished the 2012 season with an 8-2 overall record and a 5-2 mark in Ivy League play.


Tim Murphy Quotes

Opening Statement:
It is going to be an interesting year for Harvard football. We feel like we have the potential to be another very solid football team, but we have quite a few question marks on offense. On one hand, we had one of the most explosive offenses we've had here – the highest-scoring offense in Ivy League history, but lose five unbelievable players that are practically irreplaceable.

Defensively, I think we lost some depth, but we have some quality, some leadership and some experience coming back at all three levels. We have an outstanding kicking specialist coming back in David Mothander. There are still a lot of question marks we have to answer. 

On Ivy League depth in Murphy's 20th season at Harvard:
I think a lot of guys have already touched on it, but the football is just better. There is so much more parity, so much more competition. Everyone has good facilities. Everyone has the ability to recruit within the Ivy League system. Everyone has very active and strong development offices and funds and friends of football. I think the combination of those things makes it a very strong league. There is more parity than ever. I think there has to be literally six or seven teams that can compete for the championship this year. Everyone has good quarterbacks. The combination of those things makes it a different league that is evolving in a very good way.  

On new starting quarterback:
We've been on an unbelievable run with quarterbacks, and I think we've done a pretty solid job of evaluating, recruiting and developing quarterbacks. Right back to Neil Rose, (Ryan) Fitzpatrick, Chris Pizzotti, Collier (Winters), Colton (Chapple), but Colton was a special player. He wasn't a special player in terms of mechanics, he wasn't a special player in terms of being a pro-type of athlete, but he was one of the best at putting the ball where no one could catch it but our guy. (He had) great improvisational skills. He was a tremendous leader and a tremendous decision maker. Replacing him is going to be challenging. If you look around the league, we are probably the only team that has that big of question at quarterback. Of course, he had a great supporting cast. He had a tremendous running back in Treavor Scales, the best h-back we've ever had in Kyle Juszczyk and an outstanding offensive line with senior All-Ivy guys like John Collins and Jack Holuba. Those guys have abilty. Do they have the improvisational skills? Do they have the leadership skills? Are they great decision makers? That is to be determined. We know those guys have the ability. We know that they can execute our system, but the quarterback position never really gets answered until you get in the fire. 

On quarterback depth:
I look at it as Conner Hempel as No. 1 and Mike Pruneau is very close at No. 2. I say that because Mike wasn't full-go during the spring, so he got reps, but he got second team reps and he didn't get any live reps. They are both junior eligibility. They are carbon copies of each guy. They're both 6-3, 212-pounds, good athletes, can make all the throws; but a lot of guys can say that. We have to figure out the rest of it.

On Ivy League poll:
Other than maybe the one you pick as No. 1, I think that whether you are No. 2-4, it really doesn't matter. I think the media has gotten into a groove of putting Harvard or Penn No. 1 or No. 2. I think, if I'm not mistaken, that we have been No. 1 or No. 2 at the beginning of the year for 12 straight years. That is great, we take a lot of pride in that, but I think there's more parity. I think there's more competition. I think there are more outstanding quarterbacks that can be difference makers in the league. Whether, you are two or three, four of five, I don't see a lot of difference in those teams right now.

On attitude after not winning Ivy League championship in 2012:
I've said very bluntly that it was probably the best Harvard team we've had that didn't win the Ivy League championship. It came down to the last play in one of our last couple games. We just didn't get it done. That is a credit to Princeton. We gave up 24 points in the last 12 minutes of a game that we had thoroughly dominated up to that point. It was really un-Harvard-like. I think if you coach long enough, even with great kids, it happens. You kind of scratch your head. The bottom line is that it was a great group of kids. We fell just short of our goal, but it was a great season and I'm really proud of those kids. I hope and think that it makes the kids hungrier, but we always have such great, coachable kids, I don't think we noticed anything dramatically different from any teams in the past. We've consistently had good character and highly-motivated guys. I think it is really going to have to keep building. It's what you do in the very biggest of games. What are those games? Sure, it's against traditional rivals, sure it's against teams like Penn, but these days - everyone is a good team. Everyone could be a big game. I think (Cornell) Coach (David) Archer alluded to, it is going to be like bowl games, everyone is good enough to beat you if you're not thoroughly prepared, healthy and ready to play. 

2013 Ivy League Football Preseason Media Poll
 Rank      School (First-Place Votes)                Points
1.              Penn (11)                                             129
2.              Harvard (5)                                         121
3.              Brown (1)                                            88
4.              Dartmouth                                          76
5.              Princeton                                             73
6.              Cornell                                                 57
7.              Yale                                                      46
8.              Columbia                                            22