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Danes dismiss CAA poll

UAlbany, which tied for 10th last season, picked to finish 11th out of 15 teams Tuesday


By Mark Singelais

ALBANY — A preseason poll is a guessing game, according to University at Albany quarterback Reese Poffenbarger.

He believes the Coastal Athletic Association head coaches are way off this year.


“I feel like they’re just bad at guessing,” Poffenbarger said.

The Great Danes were chosen 11th out of 15 teams in Tuesday’s CAA poll. William & Mary is the favorite to win the league, which recently changed its name from “Colonial” to “Coastal.”

The head coaches were nearly on target a year ago, picking UAlbany to finish 12th. The Great Danes went 3-8 overall, 2-6 in the CAA to finish in a tie for 10th. They’re 6-20 overall, 4-16 in conference over their last 26 games since getting to the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs in 2019.

But head coach Greg Gattuso, entering his 10th season, said he feels good about this group.

“I just think it’s impossible to pick whose team got better, who managed the transfer portal the best, who has the most returning players back,” Gattuso said. “Preseason things tend to go off of last year. We look forward. We always have. We’re not concerned. All-conference stuff means nothing right now. We have a group of players here that are deserving. I don’t think it’s a motivational thing but it’s certainly something that we should take it and we have something to prove, there’s no question about it. We have a good football team. I’m very confident.”

The Great Danes had no one selected to the CAA all-conference team. Three UAlbany players earned honorable mention: Poffenbarger, linebacker Dylan Kelly and defensive lineman Anton Juncaj.

Poffenbarger was very impressive as a redshirt freshman in his UAlbany debut a year ago. Joining the program after spring practice last year, the Old Dominion transfer threw for 2,999 yards, completing 61.5 percent of his passes, with 24 touchdowns and four interceptions.

“We’re very internally motivated,” Poffenbarger said. “We know we have more than enough talent. It’s really just focusing on the things we know we need to do well and do it better than we did last year and finish games.”

UAlbany must find a way to win the close games it surrendered a year ago. The Great Danes lost their first four CAA games by a combined margin of 15 points in 2022.

“For us, it’s just finish,” Poffenbarger said. “Execute in the times we need to. I feel like it’s not even a pressure thing. We’d be down and come back when the pressure was on, but we’d make little mental errors, or stupid penalties, or we wouldn’t finish a drive when we’re up 12 points against Fordham (in a 48-45 loss last season) or whoever it was.”

UAlbany opens this season Aug. 26 against Fordham, the Great Danes’ first opener at home since Gattuso’s debut Aug. 30, 2014 against Holy Cross. Then the Great Danes play Sept. 2 at Marshall and Sept. 9 at Hawaii before getting a bye week. They play their final nonleague home game Sept. 23 at Morgan State before launching into CAA play Sept. 30 against Villanova at Casey Stadium.

“Nobody sees what we go through on a daily basis, or we put in so much work, the countless hours,” safety Larry Walker Jr. said. “As long as we prove it to ourselves instead of the outside noise, we’ll be just fine.”

Lewis moves on

Former NFL running back Dion Lewis, who was added to the University at Albany football staff in March as a volunteer assistant coach, is no longer with the program, head coach Greg Gattuso said Tuesday.

Lewis, a former Albany High and Albany Academy star, was banned from Nite Moves Gentlemen’s Club in Latham after a June 11 incident.

“He was just volunteering, so he was coming when he could come and we just decided that he got what he wanted out of it and we moved on,” Gattuso said. “So he’s not going to be with the staff this year.”

Lewis was with the Great Danes as an assistant running backs coach during spring football practice.

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59 minutes ago, Clickclack said:

They are off every year except they are not. Expecting a $ienaty product and Gattuso to finally get fired. Are my years off or is this the final year of Gattuso's contract?


2 more sadly:

https://www.timesunion.com/sports/article/UAlbany-football-coach-Greg-Gattuso-gets-contract-16725680.php#:~:text=Gattuso's contract extension goes through 2024.&text=The University at Albany has,went 2-9 this season.


The University at Albany has extended football coach Greg Gattuso’s contract through the 2024 season, athletic director Mark Benson said Thursday.

Gattuso was going to enter the final year of his contract in 2022. The Great Danes went 2-9 this season.


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