Monday, April 23, 2018

Leopards' spring game: Cleaning out the notebook

The Lafayette College spring football game is history. I’m still uncertain what the fall has for me, but here are some random comments about the 2018 Leopards after watching them for only the second time.

I was looking for something new from the Lafayette offense, which has a new offensive coordinator-quarterbacks coach, John Van Dam, in place. There may have been a little bit more rollout in the passing game, and some of that paid dividends.

But things didn’t start out well. I was surprised to see Mike Dunn at tailback in the opening series, but since this was only my second time at practice, I wasn’t around to watch him challenge Selwyn Simpson for the job. The offense was 3-and-out in its first series; and after a false-start penalty and an intentional grounding penalty and a timeout call by the offense, it was a second straight 3-and-out.

The third series brought Nick Pearson into the game, and with a speed sweep, an end-around run and a pass completion from Sean O’Malley, Pearson finally gave the offense a lift. Angus Evans finished things off with a touchdown catch from O’Malley. The series also included a successful quick-pitch run by Simpson on a fourth-and-1. I liked that one. It also included a nice defensive play by Major Jordan, who batted down an O’Malley pass.

A fair catch was signaled on the ensuing kickoff, and we learned about a new rule for this year. A fair catch of a kickoff in the field of play puts the ball on the 25-yard line to start the series. Just another attempt at curbing some of the vicious hits on kickoffs. It’ll be interesting to see how many teams use this, and how often.