Chat with Inside Lacrosse
For this week's chat, we'll have two players from the 2008 Konica/Minolta Face-Off Classic joining for the chat. Kevin Huntley, a senior attackman for the Johns Hopkins Blue Jays, and Dan Cocoziello, a senior defenseman for the Princeton Tigers, will be by to chat.
Syracuse and Virginia play in the first game of the Classic, which will be played March 1 in Baltimore. Johns Hopkins faces Princeton in the second game. Both games will be shown on ESPNU, starting at noon ET.
Send your questions now and join Inside Lacrosse every Friday at 2 p.m. ET.
Jon Brand (2:00 PM)
Hey everybody. We're back for this week's edition of the chat. We've got Kevin Huntley from Hopkins and Princeton's Dan Cocoziello on today. They're playing in the Face-Off classic here in Baltimore tomorrow afternoon.
doug marcus sewell, nj
kevin; i'm sure you are up to speed on what your dad has dome for the nll wings this winter. do you have any nll aspirations and would you prefer to play in philly w/ your dad if the opportunity came up?
Kevin Huntley (2:02 PM)
Absolutely, i think it is a great league and I have played box in Canada before so I know its a fun game to play. If the opportunity came up to play for him I would love to take it. I have done it in the past so it wouldn't be weird, plus im sure he is beyond the days of yelling at me like he used to in rec ball.
Tad Repomp, Huntington, NY
Dan, It is clear that you are a man amongst boys out on the field. How much of that do you attribute to your strict diet and demanding strength and conditioning regimen. Good luck this year Danny!
Dan Cocoziello (2:04 PM)
Well thanks Tad, I think thats a little generous of you but I appreciate it. I think its important to always think of yourself as an athlete and to always stay fit. That definitely means eating the right foods and staying in the gym. I think if you're always in good shape that will translate into solid play on the field.
Fred from Wyoming
For Kevin Huntley: We all know about your ability to dodge and take the hits while doing so. Something that doesn't look so healthy you make look so easy. What has coach Bob Benson done (both in practice and game-time) to make things even a little easier for you to score?
Kevin Huntley (2:05 PM)
Well this year, I think we are moving the ball around as a team and we are all focusing on being unselfish with the ball. Its something that we were doing pretty good towards the end of the year last year, and when you have weapons like Rabil, Peyser, Kimmel, Walker, Christopher, Bryan at the midfield they can draw a lot of attention and coach has done a good job of putting us all into spots that fit our abilities, I think whenever anyone on our offense is successful its due to the other 5 guys on the field making each other better.
Robert New York NY
For Dan Cocoziello What's it like to play under a very defense minded coach like Bill Tierney? What adjustments does he make to the defense when you compete with teams like UVA or Johns Hopkins where there is one player (Rabil, Rubeor, Danowski, Seibald etc.) that is truly outstanding?
Dan Cocoziello (2:06 PM)
It's great playing for Coach Tierney, I think its safe to say he knows his stuff. Greg Raymond also does a great job preparing us with everything we need to know. Both Coach T and Greg are always demanding the best out of us and always pushing us to be better. We do make some adjustments, all four of those guys are great players but at the same time they play on great offenses with other good players. So I think its more a matter of preparing for outstanding offenses rather then just one player. With that said I think we have some pretty good defensemen who can match up well with those guys.
As a close defenseman, how frustrating is it to cover an attackman who is traditionally a finisher i.e. Jake Byrne or Zach Greer?
Dan Cocoziello (2:09 PM)
It can definitely get frustrating. Those guys both have great hands. I think the key is not to let them catch it, if they do you might be in a little trouble.
Roger Blumenthal; Baltimore, MD
Kevin, you stated that you are in much better shape this season. Did you do more conditioning work or did you do more lifting. Coach Petro's workouts are pretty intense. You must have been very fit last spring also. What is different than a year ago?
Kevin Huntley (2:11 PM)
Running. Coach Jay has always done a good job of having everyone in shape, unfortunately for me, I dont have the genes that transforms Chipolte Burritos and McD's double cheeseburgers into a set of 6 pack abs, so I started simply running an extra mile everyday after practice. Supplementing all of the lacrosse related workouts with nightly longboard cruises with my housemate George Castle
Joe from Pennsylvania
To Dan: What has the experience of being an Ivy league athlete been like?
Dan Cocoziello (2:14 PM)
It's been great. We are all students first. Succeeding off the field is just as enjoyable as on the field. Princeton definitely gives you the best of both worlds!
Jerry Smyth:(Ridgewood New Jersey)
This Q is for Dan. It seems that this year is all about the Brattons. As a defender, are you not sick of all the hype about these guys? I see them as overrated from what I've seen. Good players but certainly not the best of the freshman class.
Dan Cocoziello (2:17 PM)
The Brattons have come in with a lot of hype. I hope for their sake they both do well. They are great players, but we will have to see how they pan out in their first college season. As a defender, we will be looking forward to playing these guys.
Phil from PA
Kevin or Dan, could one of you (or both of you) give a brief description of what the recruting process was like for you? And also, what is the hardest part about playing college lacrosse.
Kevin Huntley (2:20 PM)
For me it went by in kind of a flash, started getting letters, went on a couple of unofficial visits, was sitting with my dad in the hot tub one afternoon in the spring and after having been on some visits to different places and talking to some of the various coaches, in my mind Hopkins was the place that I wanted to go, where I thought it was the right fit and there were some good oppurtunities. So shortly after the season my Junior year I met with Coach Petro, Tierney and Dwan and told them I wanted to be a Blue Jay. The Hardest Part would be managing the time of everything from school to social while playing
Marisa (Cocozziello) Yannuzzi
Dear Dan, We are big fans! Both of our children play Lacrosse (2nd & 6th Grade - Defense) for the Florham Park Team. We would love it if you could give them some pointers. And, yes, we met at the "Cocozziello" Family Picnic (I spell it with two Z's) a couple of years ago. Good luck, Marisa Yannuzzi
Dan Cocoziello (2:21 PM)
It was great meeting you guys. If I could give any pointers I would say hit the wall or work on your stick. Having a good stick is half the battle.
Craig, (Cleveland, OH)
What has it been like not making the final four, given the princeton tradition? What do u guys expect this year?
Dan Cocoziello (2:23 PM)
It has been hard not making the final four. We have certainly underachieved the last couple years. We look forward to making a strong push this year.
Jim (Boston, MA)
What are you looking forward to about the Face-Off Classic?
Dan Cocoziello (2:26 PM)
What I look forward to most is obviously playing Hopkins again. They beat us last year and it's left a sour taste in our mouths. We look forward to getting another shot at them tomorrow.
Dan, Baltimore, MD
Who do you feel is a better teacher of lacrosse: CHC's Bryan Kelly or Coach Petro?
Kevin Huntley (2:27 PM)
Well unfortunately for me the are both defensive minds, and I have spent much of my time on the fields with these while they are down at the other end. In highschool I learned alot of what I know from my dad and from Torre Kasemeyer, Coach Kelly tough me how to be a great person(I hope) just as coach petro is doing, and as far as I can tell they are both pretty good at teaching they have both led teams I have been fortunate enough to be on to championships
Hi Dan, I know I asked you a question in your previos blog, but I'm just such a big fan. What do you like to do the night before a game? and what about the night after a game?
Dan Cocoziello (2:31 PM)
Oh Megan, I remember you. Well the night before a game a bunch of us usually go out to dinner, hang out and relax, maybe watch a movie. it's nice just hangin out with the guys the night before a game. As for after the game its always nice to go out with the guys for a little bit.
Brendan (Watchung NJ)
Kevin, what are some drills that you yourself do or have done to improve your dodging and your shooting ability? I myself am and Attackman and was wondering the difference between High School and college defenders difficulty and skill wise?
Kevin Huntley (2:33 PM)
shooting, is all about practicing shots that you know you will get in the game while at the same time getting creative with your stick so you are comfortable. Usually I will just take a bucket of balls and shoot for pipes, If i find my shot is really of, the first thing i check is my footwork and where I am stepping, often times ill just drop a stick down the line to the pipe to make sure I am stepping square right down the pipe, and that can solve the problem....College d men in college I would say play better angles then the ones in high school, because I know I played against a lot of these same d-men in high school in various tournaments and they were good then too
Tommy, New York
For Dan: I heard one of your training partners from last year may be brought in to give the team a pregame speech. Any creedence to this?
Dan Cocoziello (2:35 PM)
Tommy! who knows. There might be someone coming in. In a big game like this it's always nice to have a great pre-game speech to get the guys fired up.
whats going on with the artwork on your cleats?
Kevin Huntley (2:37 PM)
Its something that a good friend of ours, Neil, happened to get into last summer, and I thought it was pretty neat so I picked up on it too, and basically it is just shoe customization, there is a whole underground world of it and I just made a pair of cleats, I may make another pair for later in the season but it takes some time so well see.
Jon Brand (2:40 PM)
Hey guys, Dan's got to get to practice, but Kevin will be here for a couple of more questions if you want to get them in...
Kevin: Having been around lacrosse all your life are there any players that you tried to emmulate and who has had the greatest influence on your style of play?
Kevin Huntley (2:42 PM)
I have been fortunate enough to have seen a lot of good players but i think one that I always thought I loved the way he played would be John Grant Jr, scores alot of goals in a lot of impressive ways, and i think that brings a level of excitement to the game. Plus he is a guy who always takes the extra step to the middle to score a goal.
Kevin I was wondering what drills yoou do or have done to inprove your shooting accuracy and dodging abilities? Also I myself am an attackman and was wondering how much different it is between High School and College defenders Skill and tenasity wise?
Kevin Huntley (2:46 PM)
I dont have a certain drill per say, I just try to take game like shots, but shoot them in a way that is necessary to scoring in a game , not just a sidearm shot off my back foot. Dodging i would say using ladders to improve foot work and concentrating on using good angles.
Guys, what are your thought on the Duke kids getting an extra year of eligability?
Kevin Huntley (2:52 PM)
I think that their season did get cut short, wrongfully so now in hindsight, I think everything got blown way out of proportion to soon and people felt compelled to take action to relieve some of the pressure and unfortunatelly for the players they had a good team whose season got cut short. One things is for sure it keeps some pretty exciting players in college lacrosse for another year for everyone to watch, and fun is what this is all supposed to be about.
Jon Brand (2:53 PM)
Alright...we've got to stop here. Thanks again to everyone for submitting questions - we got a really good turnout. Let's keep this going into next week. I'm going to get ready for the big games tomorrow - don't forget to check them out on ESPNU at 12 and 2:30 pm EST. And if you're close to Baltimore, there are still tix left if you want to come out an enjoy an early spring day of great lacrosse.
Jon Brand (2:53 PM)
See you all next week....