Alex Park ’14 to lead Big Green this fall
By Olivia Durr, The Dartmouth Staff
Published on Friday, May 25, 2012
With the graduation of the Class of 2012, the Dartmouth football team will lose many of the players that helped the team finish tied for second in the Ivy League last season. The Big Green spent spring practice working on cohesiveness, and head coach Buddy Teevens said he believes that the team has the talent in place to continue the program’s success.
“Recruiting went very well,” he said. “This is probably our best recruiting class in predicted performance level and physical capabilities. I think that’s due in large part to success in back-to-back seasons [in 2010 and 2011].”
Teevens also noted the impact of the loss of the team’s seniors, however, especially the 16 total starters on offense and defense, but said that he feels the team still has great depth across the board.
“We lost a lot of depth and experience, but the great thing is that we have guys waiting to step into those roles and fill their shoes,” offensive lineman John Scheve ’13 said.
Dominick Pierre ’14 will replace St. Louis Rams signee Nick Schwieger ’12 as the team’s top running back. Pierre spent the first two years of his Dartmouth career as Schwieger’s backup and will see an increase in workload come fall.
“Essentially, he’s been starting-caliber since his freshman year,” Teevens said. “Obviously, you don’t replace a guy like Nick, but we have a guy that’s very talented, that understands the system and the transition will be much smoother in that regard.”
Teevens is not the only one looking forward to Pierre’s potential. Defensive tackle Mick Davis ’13 noted that the team has “a lot of confidence in the work ethic and ability of Dominick Pierre.”
Another important change will come at the quarterback position, where Alex Park ’14 will take over for three-year starter Conner Kempe ’12. Park transferred from University of New Hampshire last year but saw limited action in the fall, completing six of eight passes in two appearances. Park did throw successfully in this year’s spring game, however, completing 24 of 44 passes for 296 yards and two touchdowns.
“[Park] had a little bit more experience and more awareness,” Teevens said. “He’s a very gifted athlete, he learns quickly, he has good leadership abilities in the quarterback position and his accuracy as a passer was superior.”
Scheve, who will block for Park this season, is equally impressed by his talent and said that he has the ability to make big plays.
“Working with Alex has been great,” Scheve said. “He’s been very eager to learn. He’s been working with the receivers and the line throughout the winter so that we will run as a smooth unit this fall.”
Although Park will most likely start for the Big Green this fall, he knows that there is competition behind him and that he cannot become complacent if he is going to lead the Big Green.
“I have to make sure that I continue to work hard in the weight room, the film room and on the field,” Park said. “There is a lot of competition at the quarterback position right now, and it will only increase once the freshmen arrive.”
Despite the loss of key players, the Big Green is also gaining some valuable talent in its coaching staff. Director of football operations Mike Bruno will step into a coaching role, serving as the team’s assistant secondary coach this fall.
Kyle Metzler, who last season coached tight ends and fullbacks at Yale University, will coach tight ends and offensive tackles for Dartmouth this season. Metzler’s move from the Bulldogs reunites him with an old friend, as Dartmouth offensive coordinator Keith Clark coached Metzler during his playing career at Yale. The team is hoping to use their cohesiveness to its advantage, according to Teevens.
Dartmouth’s final activity of the spring, the Green and White Game on May 5, did not allow tackling, largely to prevent injuries.
“It still fostered a high level of competition, which allowed players to get a good feel for the pace of a game,” Scheve said.
Offensive lineman Pat Lahey ’12, safety Garrett Waggoner ’13 and linebacker Bronson Green ’14 were named captains during the game, the result of a process that includes both coach and player input.
“These guys were identified by their peers as leaders,” Teevens said. “[Their selection] speaks well in terms of development of leadership within the program.”
The team hopes that the new talent, new captains and new coaches will propel the Big Green to a successful season.
“As a team, I think we have the potential to do some great things, we just need to be able to tap into it,” Scheve said. The Big Green opens the 2012 season on September 15 with a home game against Butler University.