Brandon Copeland participates in NFL Regional Combine

Saturday morning, Penn senior DE Brandon Copeland participated in the final NFL Regional Combines of the draft season in his hometown of Baltimore.

Though he didn't PR in any events after a solid Pro Day performance last Monday at Villanova, he still said it was "a good day," and he "did well in everything and was still a leader for the day." That said, he still knows he can perform better and hopes to do so at the Eagles local workout in April and potentially at the NFL Super Regional combine April 7 in Dallas. He will learn this week whether or not he receives an invitation.

As one of just four defensive ends registered for the Baltimore Combine, Copeland said he did the majority of his drills at outside linebacker. He's hoping to be a 3-4 combo DE/OLB, so doing these drills wasn't unexpected. He said he did well in the first half of defensive line drills then was bumped to linebacker.

Video from Baltimore isn't available yet, but here's video of Copeland from Villanova's pro day:

We'll continue to track the progress of Copeland and teammates Joe Bonadies (OL) and Scott Lopano (P).

Weekend Wrap

Now that the Penn men's and women's basketball seasons have ended, it's time to turn our attention to the progress of other teams sporting the Red and Blue. With the baseball, softball and tennis teams in action, among others, it was a busy weekend for the Quakers. For coverage of those teams and more, here is this week's edition of the Weekend Wrap:

Men's Tennis:

After completing a slate of five matchups over spring break, the Penn men's team was back in action on Saturday. The Quakers went up against No. 26 Virginia Commonwealth, and ultimately fell, 7-0. It was a rough day for every member of the team, as the Red and Blue failed to capture any of the three doubles matches, and dropped every set in singles matches.

Penn men’s tennis overmatched by No. 26 VCU

Football:

While the Penn football team may not be seeing any action beyond spring practices anytime soon, it's been a busy few months for three senior players. Brandon Copeland, Scott Lopano and Joe Bonadies participated in Villanova's NFL pro day on Monday after weeks of preparation.

Three Penn football seniors prepare for NFL Pro day 

Continue reading

Copeland, Bonadies and Lopano happy with pro day performance

After getting an early start to the morning — Villanova's Pro Day started at 7 a.m. and they had left campus by 5:45 — Penn football seniors Brandon Copeland, Joe Bonadies and Scott Lopano are happy with how they performed.

At least four NFL scouts were in attendance — the Saints, Seahawks, Chiefs and Eagles — according to a tweet sent by Copeland's agent Ed Wasielewski. All three are very happy with their performances and posted personal bests in multiple drills. Bonadies said they all had PRs in bench and broad jump. Lopano, who garnered particular interest punting for a Seattle scout, said they "turned some heads," and Copeland added that they "definitely impressed some people today." Copeland noted that he did the most drills out of any of the participants today since he worked out at defensive end and linebacker, and said he was proudest of his linebacker drills and broad jump. Full results are after the jump.

So what's next? Copeland has a chance to improve upon his performance today — he was a touch slower than he had hoped on his 40 and said he slipped on the turf in the 20-yard shuttle — but it's a bit of a waiting game for now. The ultimate would be to hear from teams that want to bring them in, because then they'll know for sure they have interest. Here's what they had to say last week: Continue reading

More from NFL Pro Day prep

I spent Tuesday and Wednesday of last week with Penn football seniors Brandon Copeland, Joe Bonadies and Scott Lopano, observing their workouts and getting a feel for what their expectations are for Monday's Pro Day at Villanova and the draft/free agency progress. There was a lot of information that didn't make it into Monday's story, so I wanted to make sure it got out.

At Tuesday's workout, Copeland was working with Penn quarterback Ryan Becker, who had just been cleared for spring workouts after tearing his ACL last summer and missing all of the 2012 season. Becker has a rocket for an arm, which is exactly what Copeland will get at Monday's pro day and Saturday's Ravens Combine during linebacker drills. Quarterback Billy Ragone, defensive back Justyn Williams and Lopano have all played QB for Copeland the past few weeks, but Becker challenges him the most. Copeland looked good, missing just two catches out of at least 40 over the course of the workout. He's been working under the guidance of strength and conditioning coach Steven Brindle and Copeland's agent, Ed Wasielewski.

He runs routes, first as a walk-through, then halfspeed and twice at full speed. Then he does it all again in the opposite direction. After one route, he says to Becker, "If I can do these, I can do anything." He does them with ease. Then he moves on to defensive line drills, perfecting the motions that he's done day in and day out for years. Becker encourages him. "Hit it!" he yells. "You can hit harder than that!" Continue reading

Penn football reveals its 2013 schedule

The road to defending the Ivy League title has been laid out: Penn football has unveiled its 2013 schedule.

The schedule features the same 10 teams the Quakers faced last year, beginning with a matchup against Lafayette at Franklin Field on Sep. 21. The Red and Blue’s other non-conference matchups are road games against Villanova on Sep. 28 and William & Mary on Oct. 12.

Penn plays its first Ivy League game on Oct. 5 against Dartmouth, against which the Quakers had their first win of the season in 2012. The Quakers have four home games and three road games in the Ancient Eight in 2013.

The homecoming game for Penn will be when Princeton visits Franklin Field on Nov. 9. The season ends with a road contest against Harvard followed by a Penn’s 95th meeting against Cornell to end the year.

The Red and Blue are looking to win their fourth Ivy title in five years, which would be an unprecedented feat. But before that happens, the Quakers have spring football, culminating in the Spring Game on April 6.

Sudden change of plans for former Penn football prospect

While recruits for the Class of 2017 begin the process of formally announcing their college decisions, one Florida high school senior will no longer be able to do so.

According to an article in the Tampa Bay Times, a few days before Plant High School quarterback Aaron Banks was going to orally commit to Penn, his offer was taken away.

Though at the moment Penn football coach Al Bagnoli and the athletics department have declined to comment on the issue, Plant coach Robert Weiner said he will never have his players go to Penn during Bagnoli's tenure.

The 6-foot-1, 180-pound senior played for a Plant team that went 10-2 on the season and is ranked No. 325 nationally and No. 21 in the state of Florida.  The quarterback completed 57 percent of his passes in a season that included 1,442 passing yards and 12 touchdown passes.

In the postseason, he was named most valuable offensive player in the Hillsborough County All-Star Game.

However, there is still much information missing about the reasoning behind such a situation, though Ivy League regulations and qualifications may be behind it.

However, Weiner — who said that nothing like this has ever happened to one of his players — believes the removal of the offer was made due to a decision to go with another quarterback for this recruiting class.

Three to participate in NFL Pro Day, Regional Combines

As has become typical of the Penn football team, three seniors will participate in pro days to showcase their skills to NFL scouts this spring. No Quakers were invited to this weekend's Combine, but DL Brandon Copeland, OL Joe Bonadies and P Scott Lopano are working toward playing at the next level.

For the first time in several years, Penn will not host its own pro day. Rather, the players are opting to attend Villanova's pro day on Mar. 18, hoping to gain some attention from scouts visiting Wildcats wide receiver Norman White.

In addition, Copleand and Bonadies will separately participate in NFL Regional Combines. Bonadies, a Leonia, N.J., native, will attend the N.Y. Jets' Regional Combine on Mar. 2, while Copeland will go to the Baltimore Ravens' Regional Combine on Mar. 22. Copeland is a Baltimore native himself, and his grandfather was drafted by and won a Super Bowl with the Baltimore Colts.

UPDATE: Lopano is also participating in two additional specialist combines. The first is Mar. 1-3 in Phoenix with specialist kicking coach Gary Zauner and the second is Mar. 9-14 at Florida Atlantic University with coach Mike Husted. Continue reading

2013 Penn football banquet recap

On Friday, Penn football held its annual postseason banquet to celebrate the team’s 2012 Ivy League championship, honor the seniors, and hand out the individual awards to the outstanding performers from 2012. Here is a rundown of who took home the accolades from Friday night:

Edgar Church Memorial Award (Biggest Overall Contributor)
The team’s letterwinners voted for senior quarterback Billy Ragone to receive the Edgar Church Memorial Award. Ragone started nine games for the 2012 Ivy League champions. The honorable mention All-Ivy quarterback ranked sixth in the Ivy League in total offense, seventh in passing yards and ninth in rushing. He finished the season 118-of-210 passing for 1,288 yards and 11 touchdowns, while also rushing for 476 yards and four touchdowns to lead the team with 1,764 yards of total offense.

Chuck Bednarik Award (Most outstanding offensive and defensive linemen)
Senior offensive lineman Joe Bonadies and senior defensive tackle Taylor Brown took home the Chuck Bednarik Award for their fantastic work in the trenches this season. Bonadies was a first-team All-Ivy and Academic All-Ivy selection, as he started all 10 games at right tackle for the second consecutive season. Brown started all 10 games on the defensive side for the second straight year, recording three sacks along with eight tackles for loss.

George Munger Award (Offensive and Defensive Most Valuable Players)
Named after Penn's Hall of Fame coach, the George Munger Award was given to senior running back Lyle Marsh and senior captain Brandon Copeland. Marsh was a second-team All-Ivy selection as he led Penn and finished eighth in the Ivy League in rushing with 515 yards, finding the endzone six times. He also led Penn with 791 all-purpose yards, while his 5.4 yards per carry ranked fifth all-time at Penn in a single season. Copeland was Penn's first solo captain in 15 years and was named first-team All-Ivy. The defensive lineman led Penn and finished seventh in the Ivy League with five sacks and was second on the team with 8.5 tackles for loss.

Reds Bagnell Award (Unsung Heroes)
Senior tight end Ryan Allen and senior linebacker Steve Lias were handed the Reds Bagnell Award, named after Hall of Fame running back Francis (Reds) Bagnell. Allen played in all 10 games and finished the season with nine catches for 107 yards and 11.9 yards per catch. Lias started all 10 games for the Quakers, finishing with 43 tackles on the year in addition to three tackles for loss and two sacks.

George A. Weiss Award (Demonstrating “Pennsylvania kind of football”)
Junior offensive lineman Chris Bush
was honored to receive the George A. Weiss Award, given to the player who best displays the toughness and determination that represents the "Pennsylvania kind of football." Bush was a second-team All-Ivy selection and Philadelphia Inquirer Academic All-Area honoree. He started nine games at center for the Ivy League champions and played through injury during most of Penn's season-ending four-game winning streak.

Football Club Award (Distinct Athletic Achievement)
The Football Club Award was given to junior wide receiver Conner Scott on offense, senior cornerback Dave Twamley on defense, and senior punter Scott Lopano on special teams. Sophomore tight end Mitchell King and sophomore linebacker Dan Davis also received the award as offensive and defensive rookies. Scott had 52 receptions for 691 yards and five touchdowns in 2012. Twamley earned second-team All-Ivy and Academic All-Area honors as he led the team with 43 solo tackles. Lopano set Penn's career records for punts (184) and punt yards (7,111), while King played in all 10 games and finished with six catches for 90 yards and two touchdowns.

 Coach Lake Award (Leadership, Team Spirit, and Penn Pride)
Awarded for the first time in 2010, the Lake Award is presented in honor of Coach Dan "Lake" Staffieri, a team motivator for 33 seasons. Senior running back Jeff Jack was the recipient of the award for the 2012 season. Jack played in all 10 games, starting the last seven for the Red and Blue. He ran for 413 yards and had four rushing touchdowns on the season.

Man of the Year Award
Along with the awards given to the athletes, Hench Murray, C'66, GEd'67, was named the Man of the Year for his continued dedication to and support of Penn's football program. Murray played baseball while attending Penn, and has served as the color analyst for the football team for 33 seasons.

A fifth year for Ragone, Colavita and Marsh?

With Super Bowl week in full swing, it's worth noting what the Penn football team is up to this offseason. Specifically, three seniors and their plans for an extra season at Franklin Field.

If seniors Billy Ragone, Brandon Colavita and Lyle Marsh have it their way, they'll be back on the field for the 2013 season as fifth-year seniors. Ragone missed his freshman campaign with a shoulder injury, Colavita was out most of last season and Marsh missed much of his sophomore and junior seasons. While Ragone and Marsh have had time to plan their academic schedules in order to gain a fifth year of eligibility from the Ivy League, Colavita has had less time to plan. But according to Penn Associate Director of Communications Eric Dolan, all three plan to apply but have not officially submitted anything to the league.

The trio will have to wait several months before they find out if they can play another season. Official paperwork does not go to the Ivy League until later this semester, and the athletes won't hear from the league office until May — at the earliest. Penn wide receiver Joe Holder, Class of 2012, didn't hear from the Ivy League regarding his fifth-year status until August, just weeks before the season started officially. And Cornell lacrosse player Rob Pannell, who broke his foot in the second game of his season last spring, was approved by the Ivy League in early August.

2011 football grad Joe D’Orazio joins Andy Reid in KC

Joe D'Orazio accomplished a lot as a Penn offensive lineman from 2007-10: 2010 team co-captain, two-time first team All-Ivy and two-time Ivy League champion.

According to Penn tight ends coach Mark Fabish, he's now coaching under Andy Reid for the Kansas City Chiefs. Yesterday, Fabish tweeted, "Congrats to 2 time Ivy Champ/2 time All Ivy OL and 2010 Captain Joe D'Orazio on joining Andy Reid's staff in KC#pennpride #gochiefs." It's still unclear in what capacity D'Orazio joins Reid's staff after having already been a camp operations intern for the Reid-coached Philadelphia Eagles in the summer of 2010.

D'Orazio spent the 2011 season as tight ends coach at Chicago before spending 2012 as a defensive grad assistant at Utah.