Behind Enemy Lines | Dartmouth football coach Buddy Teevens
Taking time out of his birthday evening to do a rare interview with an opposing school, Dartmouth coach Buddy Teevens showed high regard for Penn’s football program when he spoke with us yesterday. Discussing everything from last year’s quadruple overtime to this weekend’s match to Al Bagnoli’s legacy, the Big Green’s leader is as respecting of the Quakers as he is excited to play.
Daily Pennsylvanian: First of all, Happy Birthday, I heard it’s your birthday.
Buddy Teevens: (Chuckles) I stopped counting. Thank you though.
DP: The Big Green hasn't beaten the Red and Blue since 2007. How do you think this year’s team will stack up against Penn?
BT: Well, we have a continually maturing team. It’s been an ongoing process. Penn has been the team on the league for a long period of time. We had a tough run for a period of time. We’re trying to build our program up, and we’re still in that developmental phase and making progress.
DP: Last year, this game went to four overtimes. Any plans to repeat this?
BT: Well obviously that was a memorable one, the longest game I’ve ever been involved with. It’s been two years running that we’ve been down at Penn, so it will be nice to be back playing in Hanover.
DP: Do you remember running back Kyle Wilcox [who scored the winning touchdown in quadruple overtime last year]?
BT: Yes I do, yeah.
DP: How do you think your defense will handle Penn’s rushing game this year?
BT: They do a great job mixing it up. The line opens holes, the backs… run the ball physically and aggressively, so it’s a typical Penn team.
DP: Your Williams-Bramble-McManus trio has found its share of success this year. How do you think your offensive tandem will gain the upper hand against Penn’s ailing defense?
BT: Penn historically has the toughest defense in the league. They play hard. What we’ll try to do is execute, do the best we can, and hopefully put our guys in the best situation. But nobody scores a whole bunch against them… It’ll be an interesting matchup.
DP: Who do you think will be the hardest matchup on Penn’s roster to go against?
BT: It’s tough to pinpoint any one. They’re solid across the board… [Senior linebacker] Dan Davis is just physical… On the offensive side, the quarterback situation. [Sophomore quarterback Alek] Torgerson, I knew of him. We recruited him. Very, very talented player.
DP: You’ve won your share of Ivy League championships, and you came close to another one last year. What are your expectations for this Dartmouth team?
BT: As you know, every year is something new, something different. We have a good number of players who are returning, and they’ve taken some lumps in the past. We have a committed team and a very cohesive team. We have to play smart. We had a tough game against the University of New Hampshire last weekend, and turnovers and miscues in the kicking game really cost us some points. The past few years, we did the same type of thing: we turned the ball over. I told my team, “Penn stopped us, Penn made the play that they had to. They beat us.” What we have to do is grow and mature, and execution is absolutely critical.
DP: From one decorated Ivy League coach to another: this is Coach Bagnoli’s last year. What can you tell me about Coach Bagnoli, from an opponent’s perspective?
BT: Well, a lot of us wish he’d retired five years ago. He’s done a wonderful job. Great representation for the league and also for the university. You know what you’re going to get: tough, physical, clean execution in all facets of the game. He’s been fun to work with. In the offseason, some of the Ivy coaches get together. Great wisdom, great experience… He’s been the guy. Nine championships, nobody does that, but he did it.
DP: Last question. Is there any chance you’ll fill me in on your game plan against Penn this weekend?
BT: (Laughs) Oh, it’s all execution.