College football preview: University of Pennsylvania Quakers

Matt Leon
August 31, 2018 - 1:54 pm
Head coach Ray Priore led Penn to a 6-4 record in 2017.

Penn Athletics

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — While most local college football teams are kicking off their seasons this week, the University of Pennsylvania is still waist deep into training camp.

The Ivy League doesn't kick off its season until mid-September, so the Quakers still have plenty of preseason work ahead of them.

Penn went 6-4 last season (4-3 Ivy). The Quakers won their first two games, before losing four straight mid-season. But they finished strong, winning their final four games.

"Biggest question is, 'What is the identity of this team?,'" said Head Coach Ray Priore of the 2018 Quakers. "'Who are we moving into this season?' I think we had a great rise through the end of last year, ended on a high note, took that into spring. Kids have come  back, they're worked hard, great energy."

Things are different this year on offense for the Quakers. After four brilliant seasons at Penn, wide reciever Justin Watson is now turning heads in the NFL with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Watson had 81 of Penn's 170 receptions in 2017 (48 percent) so there is an opportunity for a lot of production for the wide recievers on this year's team

"We've had a lot of kids showing up and making their mark right now every day," Priore said. "And they did last year, (but Justin) was such a go-to guy. We're sorting working in guys getting those reps, getting those quarterback-receiver combinations."

Three different quarterbacks saw playing time in 2017 for Penn. Will Fischer-Colbrie got the most action, but he has graduated. So junior Nick Robinson and sophomore Ryan Glover are fighting for the starting job.

"We'll probably wait until game week until we name a starter," Priore said.

At running back, junior Karekin Brooks is back after rushing for a team high 840 yards in 2017 with nine touchdowns.

Defensively, Priore says is happy with what he has seen so far in camp.

"I like how we're playing up front, I really do," he said. "I like the depth of our guys up front, how hard they are, pushing guys up on through. I think we're bringing back a good veteran group all the way around (on defense). Every level there's a senior with some great experience, outside linebacker, inside linebacker, in our secondary."

One name to watch on defense for the Quakers is senior linebacker Nick Miller who led the team in 2017 with 104 tackles and four fumble recoveries. He tied for the team lead in sacks (three) and interceptions (two).

Penn will open its 2018 season on Saturday, Sept. 15, with a home game against Bucknell.

Follow Matt on Twitter @Mattleon1060.