April 12, 2014
EASTON, Pa. - The Lafayette football team, defending Patriot League Champions, played its annual Maroon-White spring game Saturday morning at Fisher Stadium. This year's game was formatted differently than past scrimmages in that there was no scoring.
Following special teams and various individual drills, the offense and defense saw some seven-on-seven action before the scrimmage portion of the session got under way. Mickey Fein's offense ran more than 60 plays over the course of nine drives, including a pair of two-minute drills.
After taking a few plays to settle in, the Drew Reed-led Maroon squad got in a rhythm early. The day's first drive began at Lafayette's own 35-yard line. Mike Duncan hauled in the first catch of the day picking up eight yards on a wide-open hitch route. Former linebacker Bobby DePietro showed he is adjusting well to tight end position when he made an impressive over the shoulder pass from a scrambling Reed to move the chains. The sophomore quarterback spread the ball nicely, hooking up with classmate, wideout Tim Vangelas, out of the slot for 30 yards on a corner route.
Blake Searfoss and Adin Greenfield took control of the next series. Greenfield immediately turned up field for 20 yards after grabbing Searfoss's dump pass in the flats. On the previous play, the sophomore tailback proved his grit with a hard-nosed 11-yard carry through the middle of the defense.
The bright spot for the offense came in the two-minute drill. Starting at their own 35-yard line, Reed and the offense reeled off a nine-play touchdown drive. The Lakeland, Tenn. native connected on the first five passes of the series, including two to senior receiver Justin Adams to move into the defense's territory. The tandem connected for a third time when Adams was streaking down field from the slot for a 22-yard score.
New defensive coordinator Art Link's unit looked strong from the first snap. Speedy defensive end Tyrus White was in mid-season form, flying off the ball early and often. The 6-1, 216-pound senior made his presence known right away after breaking through the offensive line to bring down Deuce Gruden behind the line. White's ability to pursue the ball carrier was put on display near the midway point of the scrimmage when he looped around a down blocking Skyler Lash on the backside to pull down the running back.
Head Coach Frank Tavani was pleased with the play of the linebackers. "All in all, our linebacker play was pretty good," said Tavani, "They were physical. They were filling holes, they were running around with the ball."
Darrell Crawford moved to cornerback to help bolster the secondary. His voluntary transition is catching the eyes of Tavani.
"He's looked very good over there. I know the defense is going to want to hold on to him."
As a whole, the secondary played a confident game, knocking away numerous jump balls and making its reads. On the last drive prior to two-minute drills, junior safety Ben Snyder picked up on a wide receiver screen and was there to make the tackle right as Adams made the catch.
"Defensively, I think we've made strides since practice one" Tavani noted. "I've seen it the last couple of practices, where they are starting to come together, feeling comfortable and confident in the package and the new terminology and just running around playing football."
The Maroon and White have two more practices before they wrap up the spring season. The 2014 regular season starts Sept. 6, when the Leopards travel to Sacred Heart. The home opener is slated for Sept. 13 when Robert Morris comes to town for a 6 p.m. contest.