Date Posted:09/21/2001,  4:00PM

Bowdoin Football Preview

The Bowdoin College football team enters the 109th season of play with a high degree of optimism. Head Coach Dave Caputi enters the second year of his reign at the helm of the Polar Bear ship, as he looks to put the storied program back on course. With his core group of seniors returning and some talented underclassmen, it promises to be an exciting year for Bowdoin.

Offensively, the team loses little from last season as junior quarterback Justin Hardison (West Hartford, Conn.) returns for his first full year leading the offense. Hardison took over the offense early last season and threw for 1,046 yards and two touchdowns. His primary target from last year, classmate Jason Rawlins (Bridgewater, Mass.) returns to improve on his impressive sophomore campaign. Rawlins caught 29 passes for 312 yards last season, both team highs. Caputi will look to first-year Dan Foley (Saco, Maine), among a group of talented receivers to shoulder more of the load in 2001.

In the backfield, sophomore Kevin Bougie (Sanford, Maine) will start the season as the starting tailback, with senior tri- captain Mike Taylor holding down the fullback position. Senior Tony Small (Westborough, Maine), along with others, will compete for time in an active offensive backfield.

The offensive line represents the veteran presence on the offensive side of the ball. Senior Eric Morin (Colchester, Vt.) and junior Justin Foster (Marston Mills, Mass.) are great bookends at the tackle position for Caputiās offense. Guards Tim McDonough (South Boston, Mass.) and senior Mike Mulholland (Hillsdale, N.J.), along with sophomore center Bob DeSaulniers (Framingham, Mass.) round out the starters on a talented offensive line.

The Polar Bears lost a significant amount of talent and leadership on the defensive side of the ball, but look to fill the holes with veteran players who will now enter the spotlight. Senior tri-captain Leroy Gaines (Holyoke, Mass.) is one of the most talented defensive lineman in the NESCAC, and will be flanked on the other side of the line by sophomore Jeff Pike (Brockton, Mass.), who in only five games last season collected two sacks and three tackles for a loss. The Polar Bears will look to sophomore Chris Wagner (Norfolk, Mass.), and his 36 tackles from a year ago, to fill the nose tackle position.

A talented crew of linebackers is led by seniors Andrius Knasas (Dorchester, Mass.) and Jim Chalmers (Bridgton, Mass.), who will see much more time this season. Sophomores Jeb Boudreau (Waltham, Mass.) made 41 tackles in significant time last season, while classmate J.P. Hernandez (Medfield, Mass.) will round out the linebacking corps.

The defensive backfield might be the strength of the defense, as senior tri-captain and All-NESCAC performer Travis Cummings (Millinocket, Maine) returns to start at free safety. Sophomore Ivan Lucuk (Waterbury, Conn.) will see serious time opposite Cummings at the strong safety spot for the Polar Bears. Juniors Jamie Nichols (Skaneateles, N.Y.) and Sean Starke (Montreal, Que.) will fill the cornerback positions for Bowdoin to start the season.

The Polar Bears will start the season with first- year John Rock (Waltham, Mass.) at the place-kicking position, while rookie Adam Goodfellow (Milford, Conn.) will handle the punting duties.

The season opens against Middlebury this Saturday with home games on October 13 vs. Hamilton, October 27 vs. Wesleyan and November 10 against arch-rival Colby. Away dates include Amherst on the 29 of September, Tufts on October 3, Trinity on October 20 and Bates on November 3.