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When he agreed to be Head Coach of Cornell's men's team this year, Paule Barford said he hoped for the previously-winless Cornell to "win one game, and then set a new goal from there."
The goals keep coming, because Cornell keeps winning. After Saturday's 44-19 defeat of Princeton, Cornell is 4-0 in the Ivy League, and looking in solid shape to be 5-0 when they meed currently 3-1 Penn on October 26.
The team has embraced Barford's approach, said assistant coach Ron Schassburger, who was the Cornell head coach but stepped down in order to work with Barford.
"We've been concentrating on the rucks," said Shassburger. "We started with that - winning rucks - and it's worked out well. We have some guys who ruck really well and defend really well, and today realized they are pretty good runners, too."
Among those was center Nick St. John, who had a standout game, and hooker/prop/flanker Charlie Motzer was huge, too.
Captain Benno Sorensen has been tough on defense, while scrumhalf Jon Furman scored two tries running good support lines.
"The guys have just soaked it all up," said Barford. "They are playing good rugby, but it's pretty simple. We looked at defense first, then the breakdown. We want to get the ball out of the ruck quickly and put them under pressure. The third thing we worked on was scrummaging. We wanted to win all our ball and try to steal some of there's. It has worked very well so far. The team hadn't won but we have some good rugby players."
Barford said the Cornell team has some work to do on tactical awareness, but he has chosen at times to let the players figure it out for themselves, making mistakes along the way. Because they have solidified the basics, they have managed to win even with those mistakes.
"We are just working hard and seeing how we do at the moment, but we have come a long way from targeting just one win," said the coach.
Dartmouth won easily this weekend and Penn won in a big-scoring game over Columbia. Harvard edged Brown.That leaves Harvard, Penn, Cornell, and Dartmouth as the only teams above .500.