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A message from Cornell’s head football coach

Dear Big Red Football Alums, Parents and CFA Members,We’re into the final week of Spring Practice and I can see progress being made. We are installing a new offense, a blend of concepts in both the passing game and run game, and it shows. There are first time mistakes, a learning curve, and operation issues that need practice – but I can see it coming together and getting better each practice. Our defense is in the second year of its building. With a year of the building blocks laid down we have now progressed to more pressure and creative blitz packages. That too is making strides. It is important that the offensive and defensive systems that we use are ones that have the ability to be multiple and feature different players each year, as each year the team is different, and at the same time will allow us to recruit and develop to that system. I am happy with what we are doing – but there is a lot of work to be done. On special teams we have focused on the individual and specific techniques of the units that are needed for success. Destroying blocks, especially in the open field on kickoff return has been a point of emphasis. The spring practice period is a great time to work on these areas. Spring is also a great time to evaluate the personnel in the program. The winter workouts give each player, particularly freshmen who spent their first semester on the scout team, a chance to make a statement. It is also a chance for upperclassmen to emerge as a leader, and also develop their bodies in a significant way that will drastically affect their performance on the field. The 10 practices so far have given the staff a chance to get each of our players on film and evaluate them. What they do well, what they need to work on, and where they can help the team best. With 28 new freshmen coming in the fall this is a great chance for the upperclassmen to establish themselves with the coaches and their teammates. We are excited for our spring game (it will look much like last year’s about 50-60 live plays with the ball starting at different points on the field) this Saturday at 4 PM. Spring football always presents a challenge to balance the amount of live football work to make the team better, but also being smart and try to limit injuries as best we can. As it has been in the past, in conjunction with the spring game is our Big Red Career Weekend. This event is a staple of our program, allowing many of our alumni from all walks of life to talk to the kids about the paths and pitfalls of getting ready for a career after football. It’s so invaluable for our student-athletes and I’m very thankful so many have given back to the program that has given so much to them. Pete DeStefano has done an outstanding job making this a key date on our calendar and one that our kids are excited about. If you are interested in speaking next year please contact Pete!This past Saturday we hosted more than 140 prospects for Junior Day. Many had attended similar days at other Ivy League schools and they noted that our practice was high energy, high impact and highly organized. They were impressed by how much fun our student-athletes have together and the type of family atmosphere that permeates everything we do. I think that’s right on, and it’s the culture we want to continue fostering. During the practice I was mic’ed up. Our sports information team put together a video of it. I know so many of you wish you could be here for practice – I figured this would be a great way to let you in on the inside, right on Schoellkopf Field with me for spring ball! Enjoy it! Thanks for all your support! GO BIG RED!David J. Archer ’05The Roger J. Weiss ’61 Head Coach of Football

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