Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Dissa & Data: Talking Leopards at the lunch table

DISSA AND DATA -- Chewing on some stuff from Tuesday’s weekly football media luncheon:

THE RUNNING GAME – Asked about the problems with the running game, Coach Frank Tavani said, “I think there are a variety of issues. Some of it falls on us (coaches). You’ve got to have some patience with it and got to keep doing things. Don’t just run a play and then, if it doesn’t work, that you don’t call it again. Obviously, we’ve shown great ability to throw the ball, but also have shown that’s not getting it done. Some of it has been with the backs, some with the line. As soon as you mold the group together, then you have missing parts up front and they’re trying to regroup. I can say some is on us as well as far as emphasis in practice and following through with what you practice and getting those things called in the game and not to get impatient and move away from it. It’s a two-way street I’m evaluating it heavily.

THE DEFENSE & FRESHMEN – The woes of the defensive unit the past two games have been well chronicled, and when Coach Tavani was asked about the problem Tuesday, he said, “Too many young kids out there. That’s the bottom line. That’s not an excuse. Too many freshmen. In the secondary, they’re making some mistakes, but they’re going to be very, very good. I had individual interviews with all our freshmen, completed them just this morning. We’ve used quite a few young people. Anybody who loses arguably the best linebacker (Brandon Bryant) in the conference, that’s a hole in your defense. Say what you want, but I’d like to Nick Saban lose his best defensive linebackers and see what happens to his defense. We are missing his play and his leadership and and how much he cares. He’s on the sideline on crutches and he’s burned up like he had played.” For the record, freshman Demetrius Breedlove very quietly made his first career start last Saturday. He has nine tackles for the year. Other freshmen who have at least one tackle include Eric Mitchell (24), Dante Lonardo (freshman eligibility, 15), Tre Jordan (10)J, Colin Thorne (3), Strasburger (3), Kevin Hutchinson (3), Nick Pearson (3), Dmitry Smith (3), Mike Dunn (1), Yasir Thomas (1).  

PERSONNEL --  When he was asked about running back Tyler West, Coach Tavani said, “He’s been out with a hamstring pull. He was in blue (no contact) yesterday and still didn’t look 100 percent. He pulled his hamstring two weeks ago in special teams practice, and at this time of year, that’s not taking care of yourself. A soft tissue injury means you’re not hydrating properly and taking care of yourself.” (West and) Tommy Strasburger, a freshman who Tavani said “showed potential to help us at safety, where we could use help,” were hurt in the same practice, same injury, and Strasburger is still out. Tavani also said freshman running back Mike Dunn had been moved to defense last week to prepare to play because he had played outside backer and safety in high school, “so it was pretty natural. But giving what we’re looking at because we don’t know C.J. Amill’s status for a couple of days with a hip pointer, Dunn was moved back to offense “and he’s one of the three backs we’re preparing to play in this football game.” Others would be DeSean Brown and Rajhan Meriwether, who had four carries in the last two series of the Army game.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Lafayette-Army West Point game day schedule

If you’re heading to West Point, N.Y., on Saturday for Lafayette-Army West Point football, and you’re wondering what’s going on in connection with Homecomking at the Academy, here’s a little travelogue.

Activities Timeline:

THREE HOURS BEFORE KICKOFF: CADET REVIEW – A full-dress Cadet parade takes place on “The Plain.” The schedule reading from says “weather permitting.” Well, I see the low is supposed to go to about 33 degrees by 7 a.m., and by parade time it’s supposed to be bright sun and about 45 degrees. Sounds like that will allow for anything outdoors, including the changing of the leaves, which should be very nice – I hope.

FORT PUTNAM – The Fort, located within walking distance of Michie Stadium, is open to the public on game days. It is not handicapped accessible, however, due to the nature of the grounds. The fort protected the Great Chain across the Hudson River and blocked British Naval ships from using this route to Canada.

BLACK KNIGHTS ALLEY – An interactive fan zone with pray areas for children and autograph sessions, interactive sports stations manned by Army West Point cadet-athletes, a live radio broadcast, food and beverages, camouflage face-painting, bounces houses and more.

PREGAME MICHIE STADIUM EVENTS – You might want to take a seat early and take it all in.
1.       TWO HOURS TO KICKOFF – Stadium gates open.
2.      25 MINUTES TO KICKOFF – West Point Band takes the field.
3.      20 MINUTES TO KICKOFF – Cadet march-on.
4.      15 MINUTES TO KICKOFF – The National An them.
5.      10 MINUTES TO KICKOFF – Parachute demonstration and delivery of the game ball.
6.      5 MINUTES TO KICKOFF --  Army West Point team takes the field.

NOTE: Enhanced security measures remain in effect at West Point and at stadium access points for all home football games. All fans 16 and over must present a valid ID to enter West Point. The Academy strongly encourages all fans to arrive as early as possible.
Anyone who appears under the age of 30 and attempts to purchase alcohol must have a valid ID. Alcohol will not be permitted inside the stadium. Persons who appear to be intoxicated or acting disorderly or passing alcohol to minors will be ejected from the stadium.  A long list of items including artificial noisemakers, bottles, cans or other beverage containers, firearms, knives and weapons of any kind, footballs or throwing objects, laser pointers, profanity, signs or flags on sticks or poles, smoking, soliciting, umbrellas, etc. are prohibited. “Bags are permitted inside the stadium but are subject to thorough search prior to entering the stadium.”

This information was provided by Matt Faulkner of the Army West Point communications department.  

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Do Leopards have a secret weapon for Army?

Trent Crossan
If Lafayette wants to give Army West Point a dose of its own medicine on Saturday afternoon in Michie Stadium, Leopards Coach Frank Tavani has the right answer in his own locker room.

At 5-9, 195 pounds, he’s roughly the same size as Army’s starting quarterback, Ahmad Bradshaw (5-11, 196) or backup Chris Carter (5-9, 197).

Just like Bradshaw or Carter, this Leopard is going to graduate as a commission officer in the U.S. Army.

And just as Bradshaw and Carter, if they EVER pass in the Cadet offense, have 6-1 Jermaine Adams and 6-1 Jeff Ejekam to throw to, my QB has as a Leopard teammate a 6-2 target who is also a future commission Army officer.

But my secret weapon QB has one thing that neither Bradshaw nor Carter has on his impressive sports resume.

My man, a Lafayette sophomore defensive back these days, scored eight touchdowns in one game as a high school junior.

As a quarterback.

In a triple option offense.

You read it right. Eight touchdowns! In one game! Oh, and he also converted a two-point run to give him 50 points in that game.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Remembering some Army games; media day notes


1992 – A 9-yard touchdown pass from the late Tom Kirchhoff to Craig Roubinek give the Leopards a 36-35 lead over the Cadets with just 1:04 left in the game. But Army quickly moves to the Lafayette 36, where Patmon Malcom kicks a 43-yard FG with 4 seconds left to produce a 38-36 victory … a flu bug did what lots of linebackers couldn’t do and hit Erik Marsh so hard he had to miss the game … Roubinek account for 20 points with three TDs and a 2-point conversion … Kirchhoff was 24-for-32 for 294 yards and four TDs … Mark Wogenrich, who currently covers the Penn State beat for The Morning Call, covered Lafayette in 1992 … Who subbed for Marsh that day?  It WAS indeed Jarrett Shine, who was a freshman and ran 12 times for 70 yards against the Cadets.

1989 – Army wins 34-20, but Ted Meixell writes in The Morning Call that the Leopards played their best football of the season … Frank Baur was 22-for-39 for 222 yards but no touchdowns … Tom Costello carried 30 times for 107 yards … Tom Moncman, who went on to be a Lafayette assistant coach and then head coach at both Liberty and Parkland high schools, recovered a fumble … Daryl Boich and Dwayne Norris and 24 and 22 tackles, respectively … Army gained 417 yards rushing in the game with its wishbone offense …

1988 – Army wins 24-17, gaining 450 yards on 76 running plays … Cadets had two 100-yard rushers in the game and would have had a third had he not took two clock-killing knees at the end of the game … Baur was 24-for-42 for 286 yards. He passed for one TD and ran for another, but he also was intercepted four times …

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Wanna beat the Rams? Scheme for more than Edmonds

When you mention  Fordham offensive football, it’s easy to think of Chase Edmonds as a one-man wrecking crew.  But, it simply isn’t true.

He said it himself when somebody asked him about it after his monster night in the Rams’ 58-34 Patriot League victory over Lafayette.

“Are you ever concerned that a lot of the offense is coming from you?” the junior tailback was asked after rushing for 359 yards and scoring four touchdowns to set a bunch of Patriot League rushing records.

“No, no,” he answered immediately. “I’m not sure what Kevin (Anderson) threw for today (181 yards and three touchdowns), but I knew he had an efficient day throwing the ball (12-for-18). He also ran for 100 yards (actually 108 on 10 carries, one for a touchdown). There are going to be games like that. These last couple of weeks, we have high expectations for our offense. We haven’t been clicking on all cylinders as we should be.”

Friday, October 7, 2016

FB Notebook: Leopards running game ... Rams coach ... Eric Mitchell

How many time have you heard Lafayette football Coach Frank Tavani talk about absolute need to be able to run the football?

Sometimes it seems like every week. He said it again after the loss to Holy Cross, in which the Leopards threw 46 passes, completing 33 for 280 yards and rushed 23 times for 93 yards.

“Now, do you need 300 yards a game rushing?” he asked rhetorically. “No, but 150 anyway. And that’s just starting. You need to have that element. The defense has to be kept on their toes. Now they know what we’re doing. You saw at the end of the game when they know we have to throw, they just pin their ears back. And we have some guys up front who are first-year starters and they’re struggling.”

Tavani’s inference that a running attack that gave his team 150 yards a game would be good enough for him, got me thinking. When was the last time a Lafayette team averaged 150 yards per game?

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Bryant, Reed injuries and other Leopard notebook stuff

No more tackling in 2016 for Lafayette's Brandon Bryant. Bummer.

It doesn’t seem right to start a blog like this with an injury report, but this isn’t just any injury. It’s Brandon Bryant, a guy who was on target to put his name among the best linebackers in Lafayette history before this year was finished.

Now, the 5-11, 225-pound junior from Cherry Hill, N.J., will be spend the rest of this year and probably the first half of next year rehabbing his knee after a freakish accident in the first quarter of Saturday night’s game with Holy Cross.

Here’s how Bryant put it in an email to me: “I was blitzing off of the edge and as I was grabbing the QB (Crusader Geoff Wade), my body swung out to the side. My knee bashed into his and caused my leg from the knee down to wipe.”

What makes the thing freakish is that the “his” in Bryant’s statement is Leopard teammate Beau Bosch, who also was chasing down Wade.  Wade got away and Bosch and Bryant went down to the turf in opposite directions. Bryant tried to get up and walk, but he was unable to do that. When he went back down, I knew it was not good. I just didn’t know what not good meant.