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Lafayette Subs Filled the Order, Taking out Lions
Backups Whitesell and Morrow could start again this week.
One athlete’s injury is another’s opportunity. Ask Lafayette College’s DeAndré Morrow and Alan Whitesell.
Morrow was pressed into action at tailback last Saturday when starter Maurice White and backup Tyrell Coon were both injured earlier in the game against Columbia.
Whitesell, a 6-6 junior defensive end, got the first start of his career, but only because starter Luke Schade was unable to play.
Lafayette coach Frank Tavani has said repeatedly that in the course of a season, a team can be sure that some measure of its success will depend on the readiness of guys who would otherwise spend most of their time watching.
Morrow and Whitesell are perfect examples of that theory.
Morrow, a junior who was so unhappy with his lack of playing time that he petitioned the coach for a position change, was Lafayette’s leading rusher and scored the game’s only touchdown as the Leopards defeated the Lions 13-3 for their fourth win in five games.
Whitesell, who has been listed on the depth chart as a backup for either defensive end slot, had two solo tackles – both of them for losses – and four assists for the proud defense, which limited Columbia to just 30 yards rushing and came up big twice when the Lions were at the end zone’s door.
The two juniors are expected to be in the starting roles again on Saturday when Lafayette travels to Lynchburg, Va., to meet undefeated and nationally ranked Liberty University in the Leopards’ final nonleague game of the season.
Tavani is well acquainted with Morrow, who started a couple of games last year when Lafayette was forced to use six different tailbacks because of injury.
But he was so unfamiliar with Whitesell that he accidentally referred to him as a senior several times during Tuesday’s weekly media luncheon.
‘’He’s back?'’ Tavani said later when he was reminded of his slip-up. ‘’That’s good news.'’
‘’I'll have to talk to him about that later,'’ Whitesell said.
Morrow’s success – 82 yards on 14 carries, with a touchdown run of 7 yards – was no surprise. The 5-10, 180-pound junior from Hilton Head, S.C., has shown his potential in the past, but has been trapped behind White and Coon.
Last Monday, Morrow went to Tavani and asked about the possibility of moving to defensive back.
‘’My motive was, I just wanted to be on the field and help the team wherever possible,'’ Morrow said Tuesday. ‘’He said to just let him sleep on it. Luckily, he felt it was better not to make any decisions and to continue as we planned. At the end of the week, I got an opportunity and I’m going to take advantage of it. I feel very fortunate.'’
Morrow is also an important part of Lafayette’s special teams, and Tavani said that because Morrow will start this week, special teams will have to do without him so that he can be fresh on offense.
Morrow has always been known more for his speed than his power, but he said, ‘’I've never thought of myself in terms of size. I got here and people ask questions about how does it feel to be a small back. Initially, my response was, ‘Really? I’m a small back?’ What determines a power back, size? Not really. I play with all my heart.'’
Whitesell, who saw limited action in just two games before this season, is 6-6 but weighs only about 235 right now – ‘’I've always been undersized as a defensive lineman, but I learned to play with it,'’ he said.
The Lafayette defense was at its best with its back to the wall last week, and Whitesell said, ‘’A lot of people think the offense gets extra energy when they get near the goal line, but I think the defense gets more energy. Stopping [an opponent] on the goal line is like no other feeling. Holding them to three points when they had a chance to score more is satisfying.'’
Lafayette will look for more of the same kind of contributions from Morrow, Whitesell and perhaps a couple of other reserves this week. It’s part of the game.
Lafayette subs filled the order, taking out Lions
By Paul Reinhard, Special to The Morning Call