The Ides of March is upon us. Can football be far behind?
Nope. In fact, Andy Talley and his Villanova Wildcats open spring camp Tuesday, March 15. So, I figured I'd take advantage of the day to take a look at the non-conference opponents on Lafayette's 2016 schedule.
This is hardly in-depth stuff, but it's food for thought for Leopards' fans, who are looking for better results in 2016 than they saw in that disastrous 1-10 of 2015.
The four non-conference foes for the Leopards had a combined 2015 record of 16-29 -- Central Connecticut State was 4-7. Delaware was 4-7, Villanova was 6-5 and Army West Point was 2-10.
LAFAYETTE AT CENTRAL CONNECTICUT STATE, 6 P.M., SEPT. 2-- CCSU lost its final game of the year to Wagner 28-7, while Lafayette's only win came against the Seahawks. That's about all we can say about this game. Except maybe that Lehigh narrowly won over the Blue Devils in the season opener and whipped the Leopards in the finale. CCSU has one local player on the roster, Easton grad Xavier Jenkins, and he was a starting wide receiver last year but had only 11 receptions. Leopards must break a losing streak right here.
DELAWARE AT LAFAYETTE. 6 P.M. SEPT. 10 -- The Blue Hens don't start spring drills until April 7, and while they announced only eight freshmen recruits and one transfer on National Letter of Intent Day, Coach Dave Brock said, "I think we will be an exceptional football team -- a playoff football team -- this coming season." UD's transfer, 250-pound linebacker Troy Reeder, started 11 games at Penn State last year and comes with three years of eligibility. The Hens lost only 12 seniors, only five of whom were scholarship players, and return 26 players with starting experience , 16 on offense. Leopards never should have let this game slip away last year.
VILLANOVA AT LAFAYETTE, 6 P.M. SEPT. 24 -- This one is going to be interesting, due in part to the fact that some people would like to see the Wildcats in the Patriot League at some point in the future. Of course, the PL people prefer an all-sports commitment. but that's not going to happen in basketball, for sure. Villanova will have played Pitt. Lehigh and Towson before it meets the Leopards. The team has five all-CAA players returning, including four on the defensive side. It also has a multi-dimensional QB in Zach Bednarczyk.
LAFAYETTE AT ARMY WEST POINT, TBD, OCT. 15 -- The first FBS game of the scholarship era for the Leopards. And it'll be the Leopards passing game against an old friend in John Loose, who coaches safeties for AWP. The Army running game gained 2,931 yards last year in a 10-loss season and accounted for 616 offensive plays as compared to 108 passes, I counted the names on the Cadets' spring roster and the figure was 120something. That doesn't include the incoming class, Now, that really IS an army. Spring ball begins April 1, and the roster has only one local athlete -- former Emmaus star Andy
Davidson, a linebacker. The game will be the sixth of the season for Army, which will be in high gear by then.
I had a look at the Lafayette spring depth chart today. More on that later. But it looks like 65 players are on the roster (newcomers not included). but three of those are kickers, one a long snapper and one a player who isn't in school this semester so that he can take a medical red-shirt in the fall.