The Middlebury Campus


By Middlebury Campus

Author: Benji Thurber

Head Coach: Bob Ritter
Captain: Erik Woodring ’08
Save the Date: Oct. 27, when Middlebury hosts Trinity College
Get it Stat: 479 – Plays the offense ran last year, the lowest number in the last eight years.

Last year’s Middlebury football team compiled a 6-2 record, the team’s best mark since 2000, and finished third in the NESCAC standings behind only perennial powers Trinity and Williams. The catalyst for the team’s success was a defense that allowed seven points or less six times last season, including three shutouts.

Although several key defensive players graduated in the spring, including defensive lineman Kevin Ryan ’07, the Panthers’ single game, single season, and career sack record holder, and defensive back Scott Secor ’07, the Panthers’ career interception leader, Coach Bob Ritter believes the Panthers still have “a great core of players with experience.” That experience is most evident at linebacker, where the Panthers will bring back Woodring, Alex Buggy ’08 and Nathan Clancy ’08.

“We have the responsibility of the entire defense on our shoulders, and if things aren’t running smoothly, we are the ones to pick up the tempo and get the team ready to play,” said Woodring, an All-NESCAC First Team selection last year. “It’s also our responsibility to take the freshmen under our wings and help them learn and understand the defense.”

In addition to the three linebackers, defensive tackle and All-NESCAC Second Team pickhad Guerrero ’08 and defensive back Brian Young ’08, who led the Panthers’ in interceptions last season, will provide senior leadership at other key defensive positions.

The Panthers’ experience on defense will be crucial, as there is little of it to be found on offense. Middlebury lost leading passer Tiger Lyon ’07, leading rusher Stefan Hrdina ’07 and leading receiver Jamie Staples to graduation. Ritter acknowledges that the offense is “very young, especially at quarterback and running back,” but feels that the team has “some guys who have been waiting in the wings who will step up.”

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