Obviously we didn’t have time to preview every team in the field. Our pools and seeds post discussed a little news on each team but we wanted to go ahead and give the briefest of thoughts in a more news-like manner on some of the more notable players, occurrences and oddities of the teams attending. In alphabetical order.
Alabama – We mentioned Tim Brady earlier and Bama will be looking to utilize a vertical stack that allows Brady to use space effectively. Gray Lloyd of Tanasi is coaching Bama and he has definitely implemented a system in Tuscaloosa. Brady is the playmaker and the players around him know best how to help him make plays. This creates a dangerous opponent for any team.
Clemson – The Joint Chiefs are missing Ben Slade this year and that will certainly hurt. However, Slade is still a prominent fixture at the program as a coach. I’d be surprised if he wasn’t on the sidelines this weekend and even more surprised if any of the members of the current team would be slow to cite his influence as a huge part of their success. Clemson is doing its best to build up a foundation for a program that should be long running and decently successful. Perhaps this is the year that Clemson breaks from the middle of the road teams and separates itself into a more elite status.
Emory - We only just recently found out why Emory’s team name is Juice. You should figure it out as well. Guaranteed to make you chuckle. Apparently, Juice picked up Michael Arenson from Minnesota and Michael Banning from Notre Dame this year. While that may create some confusion with all the Michaels running around, those two are enough to take Emory from a lower-level team to a potential Regional team.
Florida State – FSU lost Daniel Petronio and anyone who has played in the AC in the last couple of years will tell you that is a HUGE loss. Also, FSU’s record last season when he wasn’t around was starkly worse than it was when he was around. Hopefully, the adversity of playing without him while he was still eligible has prepared DUF for the adversity of playing without him for a whole season.
Kennesaw State – Taylor “Tree” Goforth is still there as well as not-at-all-identical twins Derek and Sean O’Kelley. KSU is bringing experience and talent back this season and will be a tough matchup for anyone. The Georgia/East Tennessee Conference tournament is going to be a brawl.
Louisiana State – Insider info tells us that LSU is not going to be at full strength by any means this weekend. The talent that Purple Haze has is pretty incredible considering the team didn’t even win its section (the historically weak Bama section) last season. It will be an interesting story line all season to see if LSU can put things together for a long enough time period to be contenders in its new Region.
Michigan State – Burning Couch is brining back just about everyone from the team that lost in Regional finals and then the game to go last season. This team is probably expecting big things and so they should be.
South Carolina – It’s hard to believe that this team only started its program 10 years ago. The Gamecocks finished third at the Wolfpack Invite and announced their arrival in a new conference and region. We’re more excited that they are attending CCC than any other team. (However, we may be slightly biased) USC lost two players that have been fixtures in its program for the last three years and it will be interesting to see how new leadership changes things this season.
Tennessee - The one word that comes to mind when thinking about Tennessee Ultimate is disciplined. Chris Mullinix and Phil Brock are apparently back and for a team that showed it is talented at UOA SECs, that is pretty dangerous news indeed. Agent Orange will be adding to the brawl at the Georgia/East Tennessee Conference tournament just as much as any other team. If UT can put everything together this season, they may have a shot at Nationals.
Virginia – We’re sure that we aren’t saying anything revolutionary when we say that Night Train was severely disappointed with its 5th in the Region finish last season. However, UVA is bringing back even more players from last season than we thought and some, like Andrew Wilkes with PoNY, with big-time club experience. There’s no doubt that UVA will be glad to not see Georgia and Florida at Regionals this year and it certainly has a good shot at Nationals. However, there is no doubt that some teams in North Carolina will have something to say about that.