SJU football Thursday update

Just to put a punctuation point on a day that has been filled with rumor, St. John’s coach John Gagliardi reiterated again today after the team’s practice at Clemens Stadium that he has no intention of making an announcement about whether he will or won’t retire over the team’s bye week next week.

He also added he would have no interest in making a potential decision on retirement in time to have some kind of ceremony honoring him prior to the team’s final home game against Gustavus on Oct. 27.

St. John’s athletic director Tom Stock told me earlier today he knew of no such announcement coming. And that there is nothing happening on that front on the school’s part either.

And, other than speculation from e-mailers, comments on live chats and on Internet message boards – I’ve personally heard nothing – on or off the record – to support the idea that such an announcement is coming.

As I said earlier today, given how this season has gone and how hard Gagliardi has always taken losing, it wouldn’t surprise me if this was the season he finally decides to step away. But it wouldn’t surprise me if he decided to return in 2013 either.

Obviously, when a head coach is closing in on 86, it’s no state secret that retirement may not be far off. But one thing I can say pretty confidently – as a veteran of having asked the retirement question many many times over the years – is that no one is going to get him to make an announcement on that score before he is ready to do so.

So, that’s really all I know on that front.

As far as matters go on the field, senior defensive end Jake King (deep thigh bruise) and junior running back Nick Schneider and senior linebacker Taylor Dammerman (knee), who each sat out practice time earlier in the week, were back Thursday and are all expected to play against Carleton on Saturday.

Junior safety Dylan Graves, who suffered a concussion in the loss at Augsburg last week, did not practice again Thursday and is expected to miss Saturday’s game. Max Forster, whose broken foot will keep him out the next 4-6 weeks, essentially ending his seasons, remained on crutches.

Senior Alex Powell is expected to start at free safety Saturday and junior Darryl Williams is expected to get the start at strong safety. Senior Kevin Wenner could rotate with Powell and senior Ian Goldsmith could rotate with Williams.

Senior Bobby Fischer and freshman Trevor Warner will start at the two cornerback spots.

Sophomore Andrew Rose is expected to return to the starting lineup at an inside linebacker spot, but he will rotate with senior John Gans. Sophomore Bruce London and freshman Drake Matuska could also see time.

Offensively, freshman Nick Martin will again start at quarterback in place of junior Connor Bruns, who remains out with a separated right throwing shoulder.

Senior running back Harry Awe – who has missed the past four games while resolving an issue with his credits that left him ineligible – is now eligible again. And he could see some playing time Saturday.

And that’s a wrap on things for tonight.

Frank Rajkowski

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