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Around The Horn, Spring Practice Style

It's funny. My family and I are moving in less than a week. Stuff still needs to be packed. Arrangements made. Closings to attend. You'd think that nagging voice inside my head would be reminding me about all the stuff we need to do to move.

Instead, the nagging voice says, "Gee, Chuck, you haven't posted anything about spring football in regards to the rest of the Patriot League!"

Yeah, that's me. One crazy fan.

Every Patriot League school has opened spring practice to ready themselves for the 2008 season. I've already done a pretty good job covering Lehigh - now it's time to cover the highlights around the League as well.

What's pretty clear after looking around the league: Lehigh is going to not have an easy time getting back to winning championships. The competition next year is going to be fierce.

Without any further ado...

  • You really, really hate to read this right from the spring report of Fordham, last years' league champion. "Unlike previous years, the Rams don't have many holes to fill this spring as they return ten starters on offense and eight more on defense from a team that won the Patriot League championship with a 5-1 conference mark and finished 8-4 overall." Eighteen returning starters, with key playmakers junior QB John Skelton and junior LB James Crockett among them? Forhdam is going to be awfully, awfully hard to beat next year. The other big bit of news was the release of their 2008 schedule, which features six home games (including a home opener versus Rhode Island of the CAA) but, much to the lament of fans, no rematch versus recent rival Albany.
  • Holy Cross also boasts eight returning players on offense, including seven seniors. Senior QB Dominc Randolph is the linchpin of the offense while the biggest question seems to be which of the "smurfs" will be replacing WR Ryan Maher and Thomas Harrison in the receiving corps. Defensively, senior CB Kyle Mushaweh seems to be a frontrunner to be the leader on defense which finally seems to be getting some bulk up front with 315 lb junior DT Don Metheny. The big question on defense is similar to the offense: who replaces their speed at corner, where the Crusaders lost DBs Casey Gough and Obi Green to graduation?
  • He's... back. Although it's still unclear if or what his punishment is going to be, Colgate senior RB Jordan Scott appears to still be with the team and is for sure practicing this spring. Last year's all-Patriot League first team runningback was suspended in the fall for his role in a bizarre incident on-campus which led to his suspension. His court hearing was set for April 7th... which came and went without any new word on his legal status.
  • Amidst the distraction of Scott, and Sports Illustrated sportswriter Pete King speaking in Hamilton to the Raiders (note to Pete: call me), Colgate released their spring prospectus as well. Like Holy Cross and Fordham, the Raiders boast a slew of returning starters (9 on offense, 7 on defense) but look closer: WR Erik Burke, C Matt Sullivan and super ILB Mike Gallihugh are three of those seniors to replace. Junior ILB Greg Hadley seems like the odds-on favorite to replace Gallihugh as the heart of the Raider defense.
  • Interestingly, "that school in Easton" made an early move in announcing their 2008 captains: senior LB Andy Romans and senior FB Joe Russo. Romans was clearly a no-brainer - he was bar none one of the best LBs in the Patriot League last year, with 113 tackles and 3 forced fumbles - but Russo was somewhat of a surprise with the emergence of junior QB Rob Curley last year. "We made a change and made the selection earlier than normal because I felt it was important to have the leaders to pull us together at the start of spring practice, rather than at the end of it," said Leopard head coach Frank Tavani. They haven't released the spring prospectus yet, but it's clear that the health of senior RB Maurice White is a major focus this spring for Leopard fans as well as the replacement for LB Greg Plumby at linebacker.
  • Bucknell's spring practice release says it all. "Will the offense seamlessly adapt to new offensive coordinator Harold Nichols? Who is going to replace the four graduated starters on the offensive line? How will the position battles on the defensive line and linebacker shake out? Can former freshman sensation junior LB Sam Nana-Sinkam return to form after missing all of last season with an injury?" Good questions, all - and I'll add a few more. Like: who's the QB? Junior QB Marcelo Trigg will play all spring, but when junior QB Andrew Lair returns in the fall from semester abroad he'll be in (another) QB free-for-all in Lewisburg. Here's another: with DE Josh Eden taking two years off on his Mormon mission, who's going to emerge on the Bison "D" line?
  • One area where Bucknell won't have any questions is about their schedule, which was just released. They seem to be developing some local rivalries with Robert Morris and Duquesne, while playing Cornell and Marist out-of-conference - not exactly a murderer's row. (Granted, they did play Richmond last year.)
  • Unsurprisingly, Georgetown doesn't have much on offer about their spring season - or even their recruiting class, though this weekend is their spring game followed by a party sponsored by the Georgetown Grilling Society. It seems like a good bet that the Hoyas will be plugging a lot of holes with football players after their struggling 1-10 season last year, but sophomore LB Nick Parrish and junior OL Kelvin Moses will definitely be playing a big part this weekend.

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