FIRST DOWN: Loyola lost a large percentage of its offense with the graduation of quarterback Emmett Clifford, running back Dara Laja, receiver Thomas Smart and tight end Eric Eshoo. Those four were contributors to a balanced offense that averaged 39.9 points and 6.7 yards per play. While the Ramblers lack experience, offensive coordinator Tyler Vradenburg said there is potential on that side of the ball. It starts with senior playmaker Jake Marwede, a 6-foot-5, 238-pounder who has verbally committed to Duke as a receiver/tight end. The biggest question mark is how soon the new backfield of senior quarterback Tommy Herion, senior running back Kyle Rock and junior running back Hamid Bullie becomes a successful unit.
SECOND DOWN: Marwede (pictured to the left) is the ultimate X-factor for the Loyola offense. Once again, he should be a headache for opposing coaches to game plan against. After playing quarterback in the program his first two years, he moved to receiver as a junior. Although he caught only 16 passes for 227 yards and one touchdown, Marwede was a force in the playoffs, constantly creating mismatches down the field. That’s not all. Marwede also lined up under center in the Wildcat formation throughout the season, scoring eight touchdowns on 25 carries.
THIRD DOWN: The offense also will be aided by the return of senior linemen John Brekke and senior Jack Badovinac. Brekke is a 6-3, 270-pound left tackle, and Badovinac is a 6-2, 265-pound left guard who has committed to Colgate. Senior center Paddy Kotowski, senior right guard Callum Brien and junior right tackle Charlie Gross fill out the rest of the line, which averages 6-3 and 261 pounds.
FOURTH DOWN: In addition to standout senior linebackers Graham Repp and Anthony Romano, the defense will lean heavily on senior cornerback and Connecticut commit Ian Swenson. The 6-2, 187-pounder is the only player back to the secondary with experience. Head coach John Holecek said Swenson solves the defense’s coverage questions on one side of the field, but the rest of the group is unknown. Senior Jack Walker, senior Mark Nicholson, senior Ryan Lin-Peistrup, junior Charlie Largay and sophomore Jake Gonzalez all will play roles in the defensive backfield.
Photo credit: Melissa Krein/Loyola