Harvard Football Chosen Second in Ivy League Preseason Media Poll
The Crimson received five first-place votes (Gil Talbot).
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.
Dartmouth was fourth with 76 points, followed by Cornell (57 points), Yale (46) and Columbia (22).
Tim Murphy Quotes
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.
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