|2002 Season Preview||Aug. 2002|
Head coach Tom Mulholland enters his first season at the helm of the Catholic University football team with high hopes. The Cardinals, entering its 26th season at the Division III level, look to regain their stature in the ODAC after a 3-7 (1-5 ODAC) record in 2001. Five of those losses were by less than eight points. Former head coach Rob Ambrose departed the program in mid-July to take an assistant coaching position at Division I-A Connecticut.
Catholic must replace quarterback Derek McGee, a four-year starter who graduated with a bevy of CUA and ODAC passing records. McGee set a CUA single season record for pass attempts ( 370), breaking the mark of 324 set in 1985 and his 1,185 career attempts were five short of Kevin Ricca's 1,190. McGee set ODAC records for career passing attempts (925), completions (519), and passing yards (6,365) in just three seasons in the ODAC. Senior Bill Sutton is projected to be McGee's replacement and will look to step in and provide the leadership needed from the signal-caller position.
Senior James Vollono will spearhead the ground game after a breakout year in 2001. Seeing action in nine games, Vollono got his first start of the season versus Frostburg State, rumbling for 74 yards on 14 carries. The next week he exploded for a team-high 212 yards on 28 carries and two scores versus Hampden-Sydney.
Sophomore Matt Grace, appearing in seven games last season, and junior Jason Gilchrist, a converted defensive lineman, will look to fill the lead blocker spot.
Three starters return to the offensive line. Seniors Jon Tor, Gary Mann, Matt Sengsourinh return while junior Dolan Jablonski will step in at left tackle. Transfer Mike Crimmins will man the other tackle spot. Senior Jason Weber will start at tight end while sophomores Kevin McNulty and Dennis O'Hara will also see time.
The strength for the Cardinals will be their receivers all of whom return. Seniors Dan Evans and Jim Jankiewicz give Catholic a potent 1-2 punch while sophomore Nick Bublavi will see significant playing time. Evans led CUA in receptions with 45 and caught at least one pass in every game. Jankiewicz missed two games because of injury but managed 30 receptions. Seniors Tokollo Moffat, Luke Overbey, and Chris Teddy will battle for playing time.
Up front, Catholic returns two starters in seniors Pat Gallagher and 2001 All ODAC First-Team selection Scot Lutte at defensive end. Senior Tim Hartman and juniors Jeff McMahon and Dan Zane look to fill in the void in the middle. Gallagher posted 26 tackles, six for losses, and a sack. Lutte was just as steady, making 27 stops, 10 for losses, and one sack. Hartman and McMahon saw time as a reserve while Zane was in nine games, making 12 tackles, two for losses and two sacks.
Senior Ryan Welsh leads the linebacking corps, returning all three starters. Welsh was third on the team with 64 tackles. The middle linebacker also recorded a sack, was credited with three pass breakups and recovered two fumbles. Senior Jeff Tabery returns on the strong side while sophomore Bobby Stutz heads the weak side. Tabery made 57 stops and tied for the team lead with Welsh in tackles for losses with 12. Stutz was second on the squad with 65 tackles, while make six for losses and forcing a fumble. Senior Jonathan Kadi, junior John Blattner, and sophomore Dave Beety will provide excellent depth while competing for playing time.
Senior Mike Martin and sophomore Ryan Parrish head up an
untested defensive backfield. Martin, who was in all 10 games in
2001 posted 36 stops and an interception. Junior Justin Kelly,
transfer Jamil Audi, and sophomore Sean Heenan will compete for the
other starting spots.
Gone to graduation is All-ODAC punter Mike Fleet who set CUA records for career punts (206) and punting yardage (7,878). Freshman Peter Welsh will be looked upon to fill in the punter spot. Freshman Chris Waechter will handle the kicking duties.