Albany, N.Y. - University at Albany head football coach Bob Ford announced on Tuesday, Aug. 16 at the program's annual media luncheon that Kyle O'Keefe and Eddie Delaney will serve as football captains for the 2011 season. The Great Danes begin their schedule on the road against Colgate on Saturday, Sept. 3.
O'Keefe, a 6-foot-3, 290-pound offensive guard from Wappingers Falls, N.Y., was voted captain for the second consecutive season. He will start at left guard for the third straight year. O'Keefe, who has earned three varsity letters, was a starter in eight of 11 contests as a junior as he was plagued by several injuries. He received the program's top offensive lineman award in three games. The Great Danes rushed for 200 or more yards on four occasions.
A 6-foot-6, 250-pound defensive end from Holtsville, N.Y., Delaney has twice been chosen to the All-Northeast Conference second team during his career. The senior totaled 41 tackles, including 4.5 hits for a loss, last season. He matched a career-best with nine tackles against Duquesne and had eight stops against two opponents. Delaney, who has accounted for 111 tackles as a collegian, was honored with the 2010 UAlbany Disability Resource Center Student Recognition Award. Delaney plays without a left hand and wears an insulin pump to control diabetes.
The Great Danes, who are beginning their 13th season at the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision level, elected just two captains for the first time since 1980.
Paw Prints: The Sports Network/Fathead.com Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) Top 25 Preseason Poll has been released ... UAlbany opponents Colgate, Maine, Columbia, Central Connecticut State, Robert Morris and Duquesne are receiving votes in the national poll ... the Great Danes, who were picked fourth in the Northeast Conference preseason rankings, garnered 10 points in the receiving votes category ... former UAlbany cornerback and NFL draft choice Rashad Barksdale was the second-leading tackler for the Arena Football League's Kansas City Command ... Barksdale had 81.5 tackles and averaged 16.8 yards per kick return in 12 games played.
Quotes for Football Media Luncheon
Head coach Bob Ford assesses his team overall after the first week of preseason - "I would say at this point the preseason predictions by the other coaches for us to be in four place would have some degree of accuracy to it. I think our defensive line grading wise is an A, our outside linebackers B+, starting cornerbacks B+, starting safeties A-, starting inside linebackers A-. The only concern on defense is lack of depth with our inside linebackers and then the lack experience with our outside linebackers. If you were to rank us overall based on defense, I would say we are a number 1 or 2 team.
"When the offense comes into consideration, I would grade our running backs A-, wide receivers A-, quarterbacks A-, and the offensive line I will refrain from grading until another week goes by. I think the offense is difficult to catch up to a defense and that only one kid has to play well on defense to look good, whereas eleven have to play well on offense to look good.
"We are rotating a lot of people through and I don't think we have synced up yet on offense. I like everything we have seen, I think we have a solid punter, a pretty good kicker, a couple of good snappers, and a good punt returner. We have the making of a pretty good football team
Eddie Delaney, a senior defensive end on being elected captain - "I'm very, very honored. After four years of hard work and determination, it feels great that my teammates see me as a leader. The team is looking good this preseason, I'm ready to be a leader for them."
Herb Glass, a senior on his experience at this summer's kicking camp in Wisconsin - "It was a great experience. I got to see where I stacked up against other kickers around the country. I was able to watch a lot of video which helped me work out kinks and learn technical skills. I noticed that it didn't matter where anyone was from, there were the great kickers, the good kickers, and the kickers that needed a lot of work."
Zach Gallo, a senior defensive tackle on UAlbany's defensive unit - "The biggest thing this year is the experience. We have a group of seniors that have all started, played together and have the experience to do good things. We trust each other and trust is the most important. Overall, we have a young group of guys joining us and so far have meshed well with our defensive line."
Kyle O'Keefe, a senior offensive guard on being picked for the second year in a row as captain - "I have a great group under me that look up to me as a leader. It's an honor to have a bunch of guys follow you and for me it's a big responsibility that I have to set a good example for everybody. You can't just talk the talk, but you have to walk the walk too and to be able to bring everyone together. It's hard to control all these personalities, you have all these guys that are always together but it's one thing that I need to work on."
Chaz Mitchell, a senior offensive tackle on how the offensive line has progressed - "With it being the first week of preseason there have been some growing pains between our offensive line. But I feel that once we get more reps together as a concrete group, then things will go more smoothly. You can only get better with a group if you stay together and communicate with one another."