After a very competitive yet disappointing season in 2008, Wesleyan football has the ingredients to secure a winning mark and return to the elite ranks of the NESCAC in 2009. With 40 returning lettermen and the majority of the starters from 2008 back, the Cardinals have good reason to expect a turn-about in the team's record. Four of Wesleyan's losses in 2008 came by a touchdown or less. The team was just that close to a winning campaign. Early injuries to starters put the squad in a hole but also provided younger players with an opportunity to step up and fill the vacancies.
Wesleyan will happily welcome back QB Joe Giaimo '11, who completed 14 of 20 passes in the team's opener at Tufts in 2008 before going down to a season-ending injury. Moving into the starting assignment was Blake DuBois '12, who did a commendable job in completing better than 55 percent of his passes for 1427 yards and nine TDs. He also ranked third among NESCAC QBs for rushing yards with 62 in Wesleyan's pass-oriented attack. Though the Cardinals graduated its top two receivers, Steve Hauser '11 and Kyle Weiss '12 lead a very talented group of receivers. In the backfield, Wesleyan has depth and ability as Vince Miller '12, who began the year third on the depth chart but became the starter due to an injury to Shea Dwyer '10 and the illness of quad-captain Lane Kirshe '10 (#1, photo insert upper left), came through big-time. Miller had a 5.1-yard rushing average on 48 carries. Kirshe, who missed three games, had a 4.6-yard average on 25 attempts. Dwyer might be seen both in the backfield and at receiver in 2009. Miller was a threat out of the backfield with 22 catches for 184 yards and three TDs. Taso Fotinos '11 also has experience carrying the ball as do Joe Byous'12 and Greg McDonough 12.
Three starters are back on the offensive line led by quad-captain Andrew Erlagen '10 (#65, photo insert lower right), joined by Nick Seara '11 and Bobby Rosenthal '10. Tight ends Mike Ferris '09 and Kyle Harrington '10 are back at their posts.
On defense, the Cardinals have second-team all-NESCAC pick and quad-captain Peter Sugarbaker '10 (#95, photo insert upper right) along with quad-captain Chuck Riether '09 (#92, photo insert lower left) to anchor the front line. Outstanding linebacker Cyprian Oyomba '12 paced the team in tackles in 2008 with 76 while strong safety Cam Davila '12 ranked second with 57. Other returning starters on defense include outside linebackers Bo Brown '10 and Dominic Gibson '10 along with cornerback Derrick Williams '12 and linemen Adam Schwartz '11 and Maciej Radkowski '11. The return of 2007 starter Justin Freres '11, who missed 2008 due to injury, will give the Cardinals a big lift in the secondary.