Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXII, No. 38
 
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
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BERRY FOCUSED: Princeton University football receiver and senior tri-captain Adam Berry displays his catching form. Berry, who made 26 receptions for 420 yards in 2007, figures to be a key weapon in the Princeton passing game this fall. The Tigers kick off their 2008 campaign this Saturday when they play at The Citadel.

Tri-Captain Berry Has Everybody on Same Page as PU Football Aims to Rekindle Team Chemistry

Bill Alden

Like a lot of college football players, Adam Berry spent his freshman season with the Princeton University squad as an understudy, riding the bench as he learned the system.

After not seeing any action in his debut campaign of 2005, Berry didn’t waste any time getting noticed as a sophomore the next fall.

The 6’0, 165-pound wide receiver caught the game-winning touchdown in Princeton’s season-opening 14-10 win at Lehigh.

For Berry, that catch helped change the course of his college career. “That was definitely a breakthrough moment and a confidence builder,” said Berry.

“It’s just one of those things that shows you, especially in sports and college football, that opportunity can present itself in any way possible and you have to be ready.”

Berry took advantage of his opportunities the rest of that fall, making 17 receptions for 236 yards to help Princeton go 9-1 and tie Yale for the Ivy League title.

Last fall, Berry upped his numbers to 26 receptions for 420 yards but was frustrated as the Tigers struggled to a 4-6 mark and a tie for fourth in the Ivy standings.

This fall, Berry is primed to play a leading role, having been elected as one of Princeton’s three team captains along with fellow seniors quarterback Brian Anderson and defensive lineman Matt Koch.

As Berry looked ahead to Princeton’s season opener this Saturday at The Citadel, he made no effort to hide his pride at being singled out as a team leader.

“It is just a huge honor, when you are voted by the guys that you have been side by side with for four years,” said Berry, a native of Bel Air, Md.

“It is just absolutely humbling; I just want to perform my duty and fulfill all my responsibilities.”

The serious but genial Berry favors an inclusive style of leadership. “One of the things I try to make sure is that everybody is on the same page, whether its practicing or conditioning,” explained Berry.

“I try to relate to all of the guys; not just on a football level but on a personal level because when it comes down to it, I love these guys and we love each other.”

In Berry’s view, it was that team unity that was the secret to success in 2006.

“I think the two biggest things were team chemistry and leadership,” said Berry.

“We had a great senior class that year and everyone was just so bonded. I think that was the most important thing. I think the intangible things were much more important than anything you might have seen on the field.”

Last fall, bad breaks helped erode the Princeton closeness.

“I think you learn that there is just such a small difference between success and failure in this league, between a championship year and going 4-6 last year,” added Berry.

“There are a lot of little things like turnovers and minor focus things. We put ourselves in position to lose games as opposed to winning games. When you buy into a philosophy, everyone is on the same page and that presents success.”

Berry is definitely on the same page with classmate and fellow captain, QB Anderson.

“Off the field, Brian is one of my best friends,” said Berry. “Although it’s a quote, unquote new quarterback, he’s been here for four years. He’s one of the hardest workers here. It just feels like instead of playing catch when no one is out here, we are going to be able to play catch in a game situation. Brian has done a great job with working hard and establishing a rapport with the receivers.”

In Berry’s view, that kind of rapport can be felt through the ranks as the Tigers head into the 2008 campaign.

“I think you could pick it up early in the offseason and the spring because a lot of these guys had been part of a championship year and then part of a little bit less successful year,” said Berry.

“When you go through the high highs and the low lows, it just bonds you. I think we are refocused and really ready for the season.”

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