HERO Sports welcomes you to "Two-a-Days", where we will preview every single one of the 125 FCS programs, with two being released each day from June 18 to August 18 (with the final day having three in one day). Today we give you … Holy Cross.
Holy Cross (4-7 IN 2017)
Patriot League (Holy Cross was T-3rd in 2017)
COACH: Bob Chesney – 1st season (0-0)
2017 OFFENSE: 23.1 ppg. (65th in FCS)
2017 DEFENSE: 25.4 ppg. (T-56th in FCS)
SUM IT UP: For better or for worse, Bob Chesney is going to get the chance to build Holy Cross from the ground up. The Crusaders gained a new, well-respected head coach in the off-season, but lost a ton of talent — particularly on offense. Quarterback Peter Pujals signed a UDFA contract to attend a mini-camp with the Vikings, and much of the offensive line must be rebuilt. Linebacker Ryan Brady, who we named a preseason All-American last month, is a nice, central piece to build a defense around, but a handful of experienced players probably won't be enough to win with a schedule this challenging. The good news? Chesney and the Crusaders' new coaching staff are hitting the recruiting trail hard, and the results are already starting to show. Success is definitely on the horizon for Holy Cross — it's just not guaranteed to arrive during the 2018 season.
BEST-CASE SCENARIO: Take wins and losses out of the equation. Holy Cross opens the season at conference favorite Colgate before playing Boston College and the two best teams in the Ivy League. The Crusaders are going to get punched in the mouth early, and there's only so much that can be done about that.
Chesney's first season shouldn't be measured by wins and losses. Instead, it's about building for the future. Identify the next program quarterback and coach him up. Rebuild some continuity at the line of scrimmage. Establish a defensive identity that can keep the team in the game while the offense catches up. These are the sorts of things you might hope to see from a first-time Division I head coach. The good news for Crusaders fans? The people in the know believe Chesney is more than up for the challenge.
TOP RETURNEE: LB Ryan Brady (110 Tackles in 2017).
THE NEXT FIVE: DL Teddy Capsis (Second-Team All-Patriot, 9 TFL's in 2017); WR Blaise Bell (Second-Team All-Patriot, 601 yards & 8 TD's in 2017); DB Damion Baker (39 Tackles, 4 PBU's); OL Rory Costello (11 Starts in 2017); RB Miles Alexander (464 Yards from Scrimmage, Averaged 4.5 ypc).
TOP NEWCOMER: DB Cristos Argys (Two-Time All-State Defensive Back, played postgraduate season at Cheshire Academy).
DID YOU KNOW?: Holy Cross has the largest Classics program of any Division I liberal arts college.
THE QUOTE: “This is a tremendous hire for Holy Cross, its football program and entire athletic department. Bob is truly one of the bright young minds in college football. I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know him quite well over the last few years. Bob, and members of his staff, traveled to South Bend and spent time with our coaches. He has a proven plan, as evidenced by his success at my alma mater Assumption College, of what’s needed when it comes to building a program and, almost more importantly, has a keen sense of what’s necessary when it comes to sustaining success. He’ll do a wonderful job at Holy Cross.” -Notre Dame Head Coach Brian Kelly, following Chesney's hiring in December.
SOCIAL MEDIA SPOTLIGHT
THE HASHTAG: #WeWill
FOOTBALL TWITTER: @HCrossFB
Our defensive returners are BATTLE TESTED ⚔️
???? 1 Preseason All-American Linebacker
???? 97 Combined Starts
❌ 20 Sacks in 2017
???? 50 Tackles for Loss in 2017
???? 461 Total Tackles in 2017 pic.twitter.com/rUamfBsQrM
— Holy Cross Football (@HCrossFB) July 3, 2018