10 Questions With Coach T

Go Leopards!
12th Year Head Coach Frank Tavani

12th Year Head Coach Frank Tavani

Aug. 17, 2011

GoLeopards.com sat down with Lafayette head coach Frank Tavani on Wednesday afternoon in between the Leopards' practices. As the 12th-year coach normally is at this time in the afternoon, Tavani was manning the phones at his desk in the corner office of Bourger Varsity Football House. ESPNNews was on in the background with college football news of a different sort coming out of Miami. GoLeopards.com hit up Coach T with 10 random questions.

Was there any one guy who came into camp and really impressed you with their work over the summer?

"Ben Aloi made tremendous gains. He complete completely changed himself around. He is so much bigger and stronger and the same can really be said for Ryan O'Neil who added 10-plus pounds of muscle."

What freshmen are really challenging for playing time?

Ross Scheuerman (tailback) is way above normal at this stage. Luke Chiarolanzio will certainly challenge our offensive linemen and will see playing time and reps at guard.

What did being away at Fort Indiantown Gap do for your team?

It reminded us of where we came from...from having lesser facilities to what are arguably the best facilities at our level. The kids really do embrace what we have and how fortunate we are. We sit here is Bourger Varsity House and several years later this building looks like when we moved in. Our kids have an overall appreciation for what people are sacrificing to make our program better.

Where are you with the backup quarterback situation?

Andrew Shoop is holding onto the backup spot, but freshman Zach Zweizig is making a charge on him. We know what Shoop is capable of. Zach's obviously new to the program, but he's big and tall and athletic and has a very strong arm. He has caught onto the offense very quickly."

 

 

Is there a specific theme going into this season?

All In...All Out...All The Time. ...

Who is at the top of the depth chart at running back?

"It's a talented group, and ideally we want to keep them healthy. Rudy has great speed and quickness. We're not going to pound him 40 times a game. Pat Mputu has been very impressive as well. Alan Elder, as he was a year ago, is very steady and a very good inside zone runner. Scheuerman has shown inside and outside quickness and great speed. Any of those guys can break some big ones. We've got some good physical kids in there. We are really deep and talented at running back.

Where's the defense at this point?

As usual, they are a little ahead of the offense. They have good depth on the line. The most experienced group is the secondary. Darius Safford, who is back this year, takes that position to a different level. The linebacking corps is strong with Eaton at the head of it. He has an extra season under his belt and is seeing things and reacting to things you would expect after a season as a starter. Leroy Butler has experience and Tyler McFarlane could play any of three linebacker spots for us.

Any positions hit hard by injury?

It's the typical thing. We're two week in and the training room is full of people. A lot of it will clear itself up once you're out of camp. There are a few more in there than you would like to see.

What about the fifth-year seniors (Mitchell Bennett, Nick Nardone, Nate Dixon and Nathan Padia) ...what have they brought to camp?

Bennett has that extra year of experience. He was a captain last year and that naturally puts him in a position to lead us this season during camp. Nick is coming off a big year after missing two seasons with knee injuries. He's missed some time with a back situation, but we expect to get him back.

Padia has been away from it for a while and is trying to fight his way back in. Dixon is just real physical when he's out there. With two knee surgeries, we've been trying to save some wear and tear on him.

Has your approach been any different this season as to the way you've gone about camp?

The biggest difference was getting away, staying together and coming together as a team right away. In terms of how and what we're doing, we haven't strayed too far from what we've done in the past. The NCAA regulates what you can do in terms of practice.

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