Thursday, August 11, 2016

Lafayette Leopards get it when it comes to E.A.A.T.

Talk about teamwork! Lafayette's offensive line Angus Evans (81), Cam Smith (79), Connor Staudle (67), Kevin Zataveski (62), Mike Donnelly (66) and Nick Zataveski (68) are perfectly in synch as they and fullback Kyle Mayfield (25) lead the way for running back DeSean Brown on Thursday. 
The football team’s slogan for the 2016 season is E.A.A.T. – and it has nothing to do with calorie intake.  It stands for Effort-Attitude-Accountability-Toughness.

After Thursday’s practice in Fisher Stadium, I talked with four members of the team. I asked each of them the same question: Which of the four aspects of that slogan means the most to you?

Here are their answers.

DESEAN BROWN, Junior running back – “I’d say effort because it’s something you can control. All of them can be controlled, but I think effort is the biggest thing because it’s something you can teach yourself. Some people don’t have the mentality to be a tough guy, and and some people just don’t grow up being accountable for things they do. I think effort is something you can teach yourself. Go out there and play hard whenever you want to.”

DREW REED, Senior quarterback – “I think they all feed off one another. If you come out with the right attitude you’re going to put forth the right effort. Attitude, I think, is maybe the biggest one. If you have the right attitude, you’re going to put forth the effort and you’re going to be tough. You’re going to be accountable if you have it, because you’re going to be doing the right thing. Attitude is the biggest one because they all play off of that one.”

BEAU BOSCH, Junior defensive end – “It’s hard to sort one out because they play off of each other. but I would say it would have to be accountability. Being able to have your teammates count on you to do your 1/11th and effort, toughness… it’s really hard to pick one.”

DANTE LONARDO, Sophomore defensive end – “Attitude. Combine attitude and effort because they kind of go hand in hand. You might not be the biggest, fastest, strongest person, but if you come out every day with the attitude that you are going to give the maximum effort, you be able to have success. If you’re able to push yourself harder than somebody else you might beat them because they’re not willing to give that 100 percent effort. Attitude speaks volumes about how well the slogan applies to our team.”

With answers like those, it’s no wonder I continue to look forward to covering Lafayette games. The athletes at Lafayette and in the Patriot have a depth that you don’t find in a lot of other Division I conferences and programs.  


I ran into linebacker Brandon Bryant and tight end Dylan Wadsworth early in the day, and they weren’t dressed for football. While their teammates were donning full pads for the first time this camp, Bryant and Wadsworth were headed off to class. Both took a summer course that finishes up on Friday, and both told Coach Frank Tavani they had made A’s in the course. I guess the team has really taken the Bryant snub by the Patriot League personally. He looks absolutely great, and from every report I’ve had of him in the first couple of days at camp, he’s flying all over the place making plays. I expect to see a lot of that during the season.

I don’t think I mentioned it before, but several players are wearing new numbers this season. The No. 1 won by Jared Roberts for four years is now being worn by slot receiver Joey Chenoweth ,,, wide receiver Rocco Palumbo has given up his No. 86 in favor of No. 6 formerly worn by Ben Carroll, and “strike” linebacker Jerry Powe is wearing the No. 3 that belonged to Darrell Crawford. Freshman David Nelson, a tackle in high school, was recruited as a tight end because of his athletic ability (former outstanding basketball player) and size (6-7, 280) and was given No. 84. But with OT Tanner Kern missing the entire season and the numbers on the o-line dwindling, Nelson was moved to offensive tackle and given No. 76.

Among the guys who didn’t practice on Thursday were DE Dante Lonardo (left-should stinger, expects to be back in action Friday), DL Keith Earle; WR Josh Davis (leg, but not serious), OT Logan Grieser (dehydration aftermath); kicker Jacob Bissell (leg, but Tavani thinks the break will be good for Bissell, who has been “killing them”). OG Connor Staudle left early but didn’t seem hurt; DL Robin Cepeda and Matt Rothrock sat out the last scrimmage period but didn’t seem to be having problems. In fact, “The Yard”, the place where injured players go to exercise while others practice, was empty on Thursday.

I really like the way a bevy of WRs are making all kinds of catches. The play of the day for me was a bomb touchdown pass from freshman QB Austin McCrum to freshman WR Jake Liedtke. Lafayette won’t be able to get all its playmakers on the field at the same time. It’s all a matter of personnel packages as to how much we see of Chenoweth in the slot and Kyle Mayfield lined up as a fullback. Davis, who is a converted quarterback, has been looking good in early passing drills; wish he could have played today. We’ll see some of him, too.

Perhaps the youngest group on the team is the defensive backs. Draeland James is only senior on the two-deep chart, which has three junior, two sophomores and two freshmen. “They’re very young but very athletic,” Coach Tavani said. “They’re going to make some plays and they’re going to give up some plays.”

Reinhard Darkhorse of the Day – Freshman RB Mike Dunn. He’s 6-0 or 6-1, 200 or 205. He’s got speed. He’s got power. And, he comes in a year older than the rest of the freshmen class because he prepped at Cheshire Academy. He looked tough running the ball today. Coach Tavani never has enough running backs, and this guy seems to fit in very well. Brown, Amill, Tyler West, Dunn, Mayfield (6-1, 225), Rajhan Meriwether. Nice.    



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