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.



Meet Trent Crossan. And his teammate, Jake Liedtka.

Not only will both of them wind up with a quality Lafayette education, but, as members of
Jake Liedtka
the Army ROTC program, they will receive the same commissions the Black Knights of the Hudson players get at the end of their “Firstie” (Senior) year.

Crossan has appeared on special teams in at least five of Lafayette’s six games this season. But this week, he has been in the spotlight, a key cog in the Leopards’ preparation for an offense they don’t see at any other time.

The former Sachem North (N.Y.) High School triple-option quarterback has been giving the Lafayette defense about as good a look at the triple option as possible because, as he wrote in an email to me, “we ran the same plays as Army does in high school.”

I don’t know if the scout team had an “Andy Davidson” to adequately simulate the running style of the former Emmaus High star of the same name who is the Cadets’ leading rusher.  But the whole thing in the triple starts with the QB, so Crossan was critical.

“It was great to help the team out this week on scout team,” Crossan wrote. “It wasn’t difficult, and hopefully (it) was a good look for the defense. It brought back some good memories of playing with my friends back home.”

Liedtka, a freshman from Hamilton, N.J., hasn’t played yet, but back in preseason camp, Coach Tavani mentioned his name to me when he was talking about some of the early pleasant surprises.   

But all in all, the fact that Lafayette has two “cadets” of its own is pretty cool stuff.  I’m sure they won’t be rooting for Army on Saturday, but the fact that they, like the guys at West Point, have made a commitment to their country as well as to their college is more than cool.

Coach Tavani said on Thursday that practices with the scout team have gone very well and that "we'll be there to battle for 60 minutes on Saturday."  One problem could be a sudden dearth of numbers. Tavani had quit counting heads every day and recording it on his daily practice log. But he said he counted heads on Wednesday and had only 64 players ready for practice. 

I was checking something on Army's website and came across a video clip of the 45-yard run Andy Davidson had last week in a loss to Duke. It was Army's only TD of the game.

http://www.goarmywestpoint.com/?v=YhcPh38PZWc

Copy and link and put it into your browser.

Coach Tavani has been losing ground with some of his fan base, which should come as no big surprise with a 2-15 record between last year and this one. Tavani addressed no one in particular at Tuesday's media luncheon, but he did have some words about his team and his philosophy.

"Nobody is licking their wounds or feeling sorry  for themselves," Tavani said. "They're working their tails off because that’s the way we are … in my world, it’s always been that the glass is half full, not half empty. That’s the mentality. I made sure our staff and team know that. Let everybody else do all the talking and criticizing and all that stuff; it doesn’t matter. It’s about us and our football  team, and in times like this you have to pull even closer. Our leadership and these guys at the table here (at the luncheon) are warriors. Some with experience. One guy his first year ... This football team will battle you and, we plan on doing the same this weekend."


Contact me at: paulreinhard@yahoo.com




   


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