May 4, 2006
Providence, Rhode Island - Head coach Phil Estes and his defending Ivy League Champion Brown Football team will culminate 12 days of spring football practice with the Annual Brown vs. White Spring Football Game on Saturday, May 6th at Brown Stadium, beginning at 1:00 p.m. The game open to the public and there's no admission charge.
Estes has built a solid foundation for the Brown football team and returns five starters on offense and six on defense. Five returning All-Ivy players will be disbursed among 16 returning players from Brown's final defensive depth chart and 13 returning players from its offensive depth chart. The Bears captured their last eight games of 2005 and were ranked 15th in the final Sports Network National I-AA poll, finished the season with a 9-1 record, 6-1 in Ivy play, winning the Ivy title outright.
Brown's defense will be built around senior All-American linebacker Zak DeOssie, a finalist for the Buck Buchanan Award as the nation's top defensive player. Playing inside linebacker with DeOssie is junior Frank Nuzzo, who made 37 total tackles, picked off a pass, forced two fumbles and had three tackles for a loss. At outside linebacker, senior David Healy started all 10 games, making 24 total tackles, including 17 solo stops. Junior Nkosi Still is a solid hitter with speed on the outside after making 28 total tackles last season. Brown should be strong at defensive end with the return of junior Patrick Fisher and senior Casey Dougan.
The Bears will take on a new look with the loss of Ivy League Player of the Year and "All-Everything" running back Nick Hartigan, and may turn towards the passing game more than in the last three years. There will be plenty of competition to fill Hartigan's shoes, led by seniors Brandon Markey and Akin Oyalowo, who have been waiting in the wings.
At quarterback, senior Joe DiGiacomo, an honorable mention All-Ivy selection, has the inside track after completing 121 of 231 passes for 1,800 yards and 16 touchdowns in 2005. His 3,314 career passing yards rank fourth in the Brown record book.
The Bears' coaching staff expects senior wide receiver Lonnie Hill to return to the dominating form of three years ago when he was a second team All-Ivy selection. Hill was an honorable mention All-Ivy choice in 2005.
Anchoring the Bears' offensive line is second team All-Ivy offensive tackle Alex Doty, junior James Tull and senior Michael DiBartolo who were all were starters on an offensive line that helped clear the way for Hartigan's nation leading 172.7 rushing yards per game.
Brown's kicking game is one of the best in the nation with the return of junior All-American Steve Morgan, a first team All-Ivy selection and ECAC All-Star.