Chat with Inside Lacrosse
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, our friends from Inside Lacrosse will stop by to take your questions about the 2012 season.
Our experts may also be bringing by some special guests to the chat, so be sure to check it out!
Send your questions now and join Inside Lacrosse Thursday at 2 p.m. ET!
Terry Foy, Inside Lacrosse (2:00 PM)
Thanks for joining us for the ESPN/Inside Lacrosse chat. Today we're joined by Princeton longstick middie John Cunningham, whose Tigers are taking on the North Carolina Tar Heels in the first game of Saturday's Konica Minolta Face-Off Classic at M&T Bank Stadium. The other two match-ups are Virginia-Cornell and Johns Hopkins-UMBC. It's going to be a great day of lacrosse, so come out and join us.First up for John...
Matt (Washington, DC)
Hey John 2 questions for you,How do you individually prepare for such a big game like UNC at the Face-off classic?And how does your team prepare for a big game?
John Cunningham (2:01 PM)
Hey Matt, good question. Preparation is a big part of having success at the D1 level.For us, we try to enjoy the bigger venue but stay focused on the game. We prepare the same way we prepare for every game. We use Monday through Wednesday to continue to improve as a team and then Thursday and Friday are for putting he gameplan in place and making sure everyone is on the same page.Beyond that, you have to remember it is just a game and trust that your preparation will pay off on gameday.
John, Your princeton defensive unit has been destined for greatness with the likes of Chad Weidmeir, Tyler Fiorito, John Myers, and yourself, How do you plan on coming together despite a loss to hopkins to shut down the high powered North Carolina Offense. How does their losing streak effect your preparations and attitude toward the game?
John Cunningham (2:04 PM)
Hey Steele, we definitely have great personnel on the defensive end of the field and many people expect big things out of us, but expectations do not get you wins.
John Cunningham (2:04 PM)
We have had a little bit of a rough start on the defensive end but we know we can be a great defense.
John Cunningham (2:05 PM)
North Carolina probably has the most talented offensive unit in all of lacrosse so it will definitely be a big challenge for us.
John Cunningham (2:06 PM)
They have been struggling recently but that does not matter to us, we know what they are capable of. we have to be ready to support the ball and fly around on Saturday.
El Duque (Carlisle PA)
What sort of influence did playing for Chris Smalkais (Fairfield Prep) have on your career?
John Cunningham (2:09 PM)
El Duque, I am glad you asked this question. I owe a lot to Coach Smalkais, he is the reason I am a longstick midfielder as he switched me from being a shortstick during my freshmen year in high school.
John Cunningham (2:09 PM)
He is a no nonsense type coach and as I have learned, every successful coach is a no nonsense type coach. Look at Coach Tierney, Coach K, Coach Wooden and many others.
John Cunningham (2:11 PM)
I feel lucky to have spent four of the most important years of my lacrosse life with Coach Smalkais. I have a feeling this question came from a member of the Dickinson lacrosse team, just a guess.Best of Luck to the Fairfield Prep Jesuits this year, time for another State Ship.
Terry Foy, Inside Lacrosse (2:13 PM)
We're getting a lot of questions about John matching up against his former teammate Jack McBride, so we'll handle those at once.
Short Ellis (NYC)
Jack McBride... Your thoughts?
ben strutt (brooklyn)
is there any kind of bounty on McBride?
DeuceDeuce (long Island, New York)
This week you go up against Jack Mcbride. Former teammate. Do you think that having not played last year (because of surgery), Jack has lost a step or two?
John Cunningham (2:15 PM)
Good to hear from some fellow Tigers. Mr. Ellis, Jack McBride is a good friend, I am excited to get to finally play against him after being a teammate of his for my first three years here.
John Cunningham (2:16 PM)
Ben Strutt, good to hear from one of the best Princeton defensive midfielders of all time.As for the bounty, I am holding out for the best offer...just kidding, it will be fun playing against Jack but strange for sure.
John Cunningham (2:17 PM)
DeuceDeuce, it is tough coming off of surgery to get your feet back. Judging from the film of UNC during their first few games, he looks to be moving pretty well.
Tommy S. (East Meadow NY)
John, it has been said that all you eat before games is cheese (some sort of superstition). Is this true?
I heard you have a habit of consuming cheese before games. Does this help with your quickness, foot speed, or checking ability? Or are you just a die hard cheese fan? And what is your favorite kind of cheese?
John Cunningham (2:22 PM)
Two questions from our very own Tom Schreiber. I figured if your strictly cheese string diet has been translating to success on the field, I should give it a try. Although, this cheese diet of yours hasn't been working in practice going against me lately has it? You might have to change it up...
Flash (the beach)
Is it true that you never wear red in honor of the rivalry between princeton and Cornell?
big red (ithaca, NY)
Can you describe the rivalry between princeton and cornell. What does it mean to you? Do you wish your face would turn a color other than red when you get mad?
John Cunningham (2:25 PM)
Hey Flash, I don't take it that far but the Cornell game is definitely circled on the schedule each year. I do prefer orange gatorade over red, not sure if Cornell has anything to do with it...
John Cunningham (2:30 PM)
I think the Princeton/Cornell rivalry represents everything that is good about college lacrosse. It features two programs that have been around forever and is always a passionate, hard fought game.
ash (the north beach)
As a two year captain, you've carried a lot of responsabilities. I attended the game against hofstra and overheard people in the stands talking about the resemblence in your leadership to that of the princeton great Jon Hess? how would you react to a comment like that?
John Cunningham (2:32 PM)
Hey Ash, First of all, being a two year captain for a special program like Princeton has been an absolute honor. It is a responsibility and role that is a privilege and I have enjoyed every second of it. I don't deserve to be compared to Jon Hess. He led his team to three consecutive national championships and I could not speak more highly of a person. I do talk to Jon often and he has been a great resource for me during my time here.
John- who is your favorite short-stick d-middie on the team, and why?
John Cunningham (2:37 PM)
He Luke, I'm pretty sure you wear #16 for the Tigers but short-stick d-middie is my favorite position on this team. WIthout question, they have the toughest job on Saturdays as every offense inevitably attacks the short-stick dmiddies. We are lucky to be deep at that position and they have been doing a great job for us. My favorite of the bunch?
Richard Weaver (Newtown Square, PA)
Do you think you are the best Cunningham in the country? Do you think you will guard the one from Villanova next week?
John Cunningham (2:40 PM)
Kevin Cunningham from Villanova is a great player and I cannot remember if there are any others playing in college right now. If we are the only two, how about he is the best offensive Cunningham and I am am the best defensive Cunningham. I doubt I will guard him next week because I am a LSM so I usually guard midfielders. Good to see other Irishmen out there in the lacrosse world though.
Craig Vitale (the gym)
John, I understand that lifting is strongly emphasized on the division 1 level. Can you run through a typical work out that would represent the nasty princeton defense that includes, yourself, John Meyers, Chad, and...Mike Flanagan?
John Cunningham (2:44 PM)
Not sure what workout would represent our D but one of our strength and conditioning coaches favorites is a lift called a circuit. It includes about 17 different exercises and each is done for a minute consecutively. It is nearly impossible to do much else with your day after one of these. Mikey Macdonald can't get enough of these. Meyers and Flanagan are big on Bi's and Tri's.
Henry Hank (New Jersey)
I saw you pull off the patented fish machine check against Hofstra. How'd you learn that one, and what was your inspiration?
John Cunningham (2:47 PM)
The fish machine is a great check, Senior short-stick dmiddie created it one day when he was getting bigger, faster, stronger out in San Francisco, you would have to ask him.
Jack S. (Landon, VA)
Who would you say has the most swag on the team?
John Cunningham (2:51 PM)
Using my definition of swag which is probably different from most, short-stick dmiddie Nick Fernandez. He is a beast.
Emory Maine (Princeton)
I saw the new turf on the ESPNU televised game against Hopkins. Looks great! Are you guys excited to have all the renovations done to class of 1952 stadium?
John Cunningham (2:55 PM)
The new field is unbelievable, we are very lucky to have dedicated alumni who were able to make it happen.
John Cunningham (2:56 PM)
The new look turf and further renovations coming soon will be great for the program.
Coach Guy (Grand Canyon U)
What is it like playing for Coach Greg Raymond? He is a notorious defensive mind and I hear he's a great coach
John Cunningham (2:57 PM)
This is definitely from someone on the current team but it is great playing for Coach Raymond. He is unquestionably one of the best defensive coaches out there and he has been a main reason for our defensive success during my time here.
Terry Foy, Inside Lacrosse (2:57 PM)
That's all the time we've got for today, thanks for the great questions and sorry to all the ladies and politicos whose questions we didn't have time for. We're going to let John go on this one...
Terry Foy, Inside Lacrosse (2:58 PM)
What are your final thoughts on Carolina and what a win this weekend could do to set up the rest of your season?
John Cunningham (2:58 PM)
Carolina is a great team that has had a tough start. They have an explosive offense and talent all over the field.
John Cunningham (2:59 PM)
A win this weekend would be huge for us and a great way to rebound from the tough Hopkins loss. With Villanova next and then a tough Ivy schedule to follow, getting any win will not be easy. It should be a great matchup and we look forward to the challenge.
Terry Foy, Inside Lacrosse (3:01 PM)
Thanks again to John and to all of you for your questions.Make sure to head to M&T Bank Stadium Saturday at 11 a.m. to see Cunningham and the Princeton Tigers take on North Carolina at the Konica Minolta Face-Off Classic. Check www.faceoffclassic.com for tickets and more details.