Football Media Luncheon: Week 12

Go Leopards! Lafayette will meet Lehigh for the 143rd time on Saturday.
Lafayette will meet Lehigh for the 143rd time on Saturday.

Nov. 13, 2007

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EASTON, Pa. - Coach Tavani and members of the Lafayette football team met with members of the media in Pfenning Alumni Center for the final time of the 2007 season. They discussed their big win over Holy Cross last Saturday and their even bigger game this Saturday against archrival Lehigh University. Here's what they had to say:

Lafayette Head Coach Frank Tavani:
On the win against Holy Cross: "This past week against Holy Cross was as good a win as we've had since I've taken over the program. You've got to give our players and coaching staff an awful lot of credit for the way we prepared last week. Going up there we like to play that underdog role and we certainly were. I had emails from people about how they were going to throw 50 points up against us and we had no chance and we really thrive on that underdog role. It was a tremendous team effort, particularly defensively, but I think our offense really came into its own. I really challenged our offensive line to be much more physical. I felt we were a more physical team and we haven't really displayed that as well as I would like throughout the season, but we picked the right moment to do it. To go up there and hold them to some pretty low stats compared to what they've had all year, give Randolph all he can handle and then really get physical late in the game was really satisfying for our offense to end the game being on the field."

On the upcoming Lafayette-Lehigh game: "In terms of Lehigh, this is a tremendous week. I consider it a privilege and an honor to be involved - this will be my 21st time. It's the most-played rivalry in the country of two outstanding schools with strong football traditions. It's really two teams who have kind of paralleled one another throughout this season. They started out with injuries in the backfield; we started out with injuries in the backfield, change of quarterbacks for both which is a huge thing and both teams coming off great performances this past weekend and going into this game with momentum. I anticipate another epic battle. It's senior day over there at Goodman Stadium but it's our seniors' day as well with the last game of their careers."

On preparing a rookie quarterback for the big game: "I think the good news is that it will be Rob Curley's fourth start now and he's really gotten comfortable week in and week out. He's an interesting kid, I think he's really handled himself well and has been poised out there and there's certainly been enough pressure. The atmosphere over there can be a little overwhelming if you're not ready, but him having been through this and at least standing there a year ago helps him know what it's about. Rob is all business; he's all about preparation and does a great job watching a lot of film all week long. He's really done a good job in correcting mistakes week-to-week. He's getting his fourth start in what is probably the biggest game of his life but you have to keep that under control to utilize that energy and that emotion. By Friday night you are lucky if you can sleep - this will be my 21st and each one seems to get you more and more excited."

Senior defensive lineman Kyle Sprenkle:
On the rivalry and the upcoming game: "It's really a great honor to be able to play in this game. I'm not really worried about the past. I know we've won the last three but I'm just worried about winning Saturday and that will take care of itself."

On motivating the team for the game: "There's all the outside stuff, but once you step on the field at practice time it's time to focus on football and there can't be any other thoughts outside of football. With motivation, that's the easy part of it...if you can't get hyped for this game then there isn't any reason to be playing football because this is the best atmosphere that you can play in."

On being ready defensively for the Mountain Hawks: "No matter what, Coach Loose will have us ready. Whatever set they give us that they've been successful at in the past, we just need to know that if something goes wrong to just play the next play. That's something we've been practicing all year, to just play the next play."

Senior free safety Marcel Quarterman:
On the rivalry and the upcoming game: "Being part of such a big rivalry and a great tradition is definitely an honor for anyone that steps into the program here or at Lehigh. We also have a chance to do something special this year by winning four in a row. That hasn't been done in a long time. Just focusing on this weekend and concerning ourselves with this year's Lehigh team should be our main focus. If we prepare the way we have been over the past couple of weeks we have a good shot."

On the role of being a captain during Lafayette-Lehigh week: "We've got to try to keep it business as usual. All the other people take care of all the hype and other things that surround the game, but we've got to come out and prepare for this game the same way we have every other week. We try to motivate the team the best way we can throughout the week for each game and this game is no different."

On the defensive plan for Lehigh: "As long as we play within the defense and we don't try to overcompensate for things they are doing and we keep up our responsibilities and our assignments we won't have too many major breakdowns. They try to get to you by moving different places and moving different people around, but as long as we stay disciplined I think we should be good."



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