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"New Blue (Part I)": Inside Johns Hopkins Lacrosse

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A behind the scenes looks a the Blue Jays.

This is concentrated propaganda, but it's still a unique look a Dave Pietramala and the Johns Hopkins lacrosse program. The Jays entered 2014 with unclear expectations and a reality that was undefined. Through February, however, Hopkins has emerged as an early contender in a leveraged field of competitors. The Blue Jays are playing fairly well against solid competition, and Johns Hopkins' projected ceiling is likely higher today than it was perceived in January.

Here are some key moments from the video:

  • "The goal is to be tough, to be smart, and to play together." This isn't just dense coach-speak; these are tenants to Pietramala's philosophy. There is fluidity and adaptability to these three tenants, but they are the building blocks to the Jays success. These goals aren't mutually exclusive, either: In concert, they form the foundation for what the Jays want to do. You can see the first tenant in Hopkins' defensive play and work on face-offs; you can see the second tenant in how the Jays operate on the offensive end in their new system and the team's current and historic performance on the defensive side of the field; and you can see the third tenant all over the field in different ways, but it's most prominent in how Hopkins' players talk about practice and approach -- especially with respect to responsibilities -- throughout the video.
  • "There are a lot of familiar faces but in some different roles. It's been very much a 'move forward' kind of atmosphere." The Jays have generated strong production in this atmosphere. Michael Pellegrino is a bulldog at the long-stick position and Jack Reilly has seamlessly anchored the close defense. On offense, Wells Stanwick, Ryan Brown, and Brandon Benn are smashing faces at attack while shouldering much of Hopkins' offensive hopes. There is still room for development at Homewood and greater balancing of responsibilities, but job execution hasn't been a major concern for Hopkins so far in 2014 despite the team's evolution.
  • Wells Stanwick has horrific facial hair. It looks like he should be working on a carburetor.
  • "We've got a lot more growing to do, a lot more maturing to do." The pressure is on to do so: Manageable dates against Mount St. Mary's and UMBC are followed by games against Syracuse, Virginia, North Carolina, Albany, and Maryland. If the Blue Jays relent, the schedule won't.
  • Bobby Benson with a Petro belly: That's the highlight of the season. And the fact that Pietramala didn't piledrive him for doing it is even better.