Dave Cottle is in his third season at Maryland as head coach. The Terps finished 12-4 last year and lost in the NCAA semifinals.
Baltimoresun.com: What have you learned about your team during preseason?
Dave Cottle: I think we're an older and more mature team on the defensve end of the field. Looks like we'll start three seniors on defense: Lee Zink, Dave Wagner (Severna Park) and Chris Passavia. Seniors Drew Virk and Paul Gillette (Severna Park) return at short stick defense and we have junior Tyler Hereth at long pole. On the offensive end we'll play two seniors (Justin Smith, J.R. Bordley) and four sophomores (Xander Ritz, Joe Walters, Bill McClone and Brendan Healy). We're younger on the offensive end but we think we have some talented young kids.
Question, Baltimore: How's the goalie battle shaping up between Tim McGinnis and Harry Alford?
Dave Cottle: They are two different goalies. One is a student of the game and understands how to play in the cage and the other is an explosive athlete who does things that you can't coach and really is charasmatic in the way he plays. They are both two very good players, but they are completely different.
Baltimoresun.com: It seems like scoring will be your biggest challenge this year.
Dave Cottle: No question about that. The positive is in our scrimmages we've done a good job of manufacturing shots, but the negative is we haven't done a great job of making them. We really think we'll get better as season goes along. We're playing smart and unselfishly and those things go a long way.
John, Timonium:Do you see any more Atlantic Coast Conference schools adding lax to thier progams and competing as a Divsion I program rather than a club program?
Dave Cottle: I think Florida State is getting closer. The coach down there [Bill Harkins] is a friend of mine and they were club status, but now they are a club team but are under the responsibility of the athletic program, so that's a step in the right direction. Usually, that gets you on the fast track to add it.
Michael, Reisterstown: Would the NCAA coaching community support standardizing crosse head widths and limiting the degree of offset?
Dave Cottle: I know I would. If you watch tapes from the 80s and tapes from today, kids can't throw and it's because of the offset stick and the pockets. The stickwork is not getting better, it's getting worse. If you have to go from a carry position to throw, ball has a tendency to whip. I would be for trying to limit the offset stick. The one true advantage of the offset stick is that it makes it harder to dislodge the ball.
Lefty, St. Paul, Minn.:When did the NCAA adopt a limit to the amount of long poles that a team could use? I've always felt that long poles were beneficial to team defenses and their use would cut down on the need for hard checking and in turn, reduce the amount of injuries that occur on the field today. Thoughts, please?
Dave Cottle: It went from 6 to 5 to 4 poles with the idea it would increase scoring. What it's created is dodge the short sticks and then play. For every long pole you removed, I don't think the scoring has gone up. [With injuries] you seldom see anyone hurt with a short stick, if anyone were to be slashed and be injured, it would be with a long pole.
Baltimoresun.com: Where do you see lacrosse showing the most improvement within the state?
Dave Cottle: The areas I'm seeing improve the most are the private schools in the Washington D.C. area. In the past, they used to be able to give the Baltimore teams good games and now some are beating the Baltimore teams soundly. I think all of the schools are getting a lot better. I'd love to see a Maryland vs. D.C. all-star game. That would be great.