|Can C.J. Amill get Lafayette's football season off to a fast start Friday night?|
Some things I’d like to see Friday night in New Britain, Conn., where Lafayette opens the 2016 football season against Central Connecticut State and hopes to break a six-game losing streak it carries over from last year:
A game-opening kickoff return for a touchdown – by C.J. Amill or Yasir Thomas. I think either of these guys is as fast and as elusive as Matt Smalley, and I remember how Smalley electrified the Fisher Stadium folks on the opening KO of the 2013 season with a 98-yard return touchdown. Amill had 698 return yards in 2015, but no TDs. Thomas returned two punts for scores in his senior year in high school. No KO TD? I'd settle for a punt return TD. I'm not greedy, am I?
A four-wide-receiver set that has Matt Mrazek and Joey Chenoweth on one side and Nick Franzese and Yasir Thomas on the other. I think as a group, they would be uncoverable. Mrazek and Chenoweth combined for 90 receptions last season, but only four touchdowns. Franzese has been a guy on a mission in summer camp, where he and Mrazek have caught almost everything thrown their way. Thomas? Just watch him fly.
Five sacks from the defensive front seven. LB Brandon Bryant is a beast and can light up the place. While it would be nice to have Matt Rothrock at DT, the thought of a quick inside tandem of Lavel Ramsey and Andy Labudev teaming up with DEs Collin Albershardt and Beau Bosch is intriguing. It’s time for that Art Link 4-2-5 to assert itself.
A game without a presnap penalty. This is really wishful thinking, given the Leopards’ annual battle with this egregious offensive mistake. But I know Coach Stan Clayton has been constantly on his troops about their discipline. The left side is solid; on the right, Logan Grieser makes his first start after missing 2015 with an injury and Mike Donnelly fills in for injured Nick Zataveski. The 0-line is thin but perhaps the most athletic group the Leopards have ever had. Frosh Jake Marotti and Dylan Murphy came with great credentials. Both will certainly play. When they do, they’ll need to not let the moment overwhelm them.