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Colgate Looks for Offensive Line
Colgate has some big offensive guns but needs some people to block for them.
Colgate is picked to finish second in the Patriot League, but coach Dick Biddle has to find replacements for four offensive linemen.
“We’re trying to find that combination,” he said. “It’s not settled. Five freshmen probably will be in the two deep. It’s a work in progress.”
Otherwise, Biddle, who opened practice Aug. 10, has a host of stars from last season’s 9-3 league championship team that lost to Villanova in the first round of the NCAA playoffs. However, the losses include Jordan Scott, the Raider and Patriot League all-time leading rusher, and that distinguished offensive line. Senior guard Zach Posey is the only starting interior lineman back, so rebuilding that unit is a major goal of fall camp. Biddle, however, doesn’t want to focus on the line to the exclusion of other areas.
“You don’t want to dwell on it and then, if anything goes wrong it’s the offensive line’s fault,” he said. “We don’t want the other guys to slide.”
League rookie of the year Nate Eachus is back after starting three games at tailback when Scott was hurt, and going on to gain 932 yards and score 10 touchdowns in 172 carries.
“It will be interesting to see how that pans out for the whole year,” Biddle said. “Jordan Scott did it for four years.”
Also back are quarterback Greg Sullivan and wide receiver Pat Simonds, the 6-foot-6, 223-pound senior from Sidney who caught 65 passes for 1,136 yards and nine touchdowns in 2008 and is getting a long look from NFL scouts. Doug Rosnick also is expected to contribute significantly at wide receiver.
“I think offensively we’ve got some very good skill people, probably as good we’ve had since I’ve been here,” Biddle said.
The defense is experienced, with veterans Austin Douglas and Paul Mancuso leading the way up front. Last year’s leading tackler, Greg Hadley, is back at linebacker, but Biddle is looking for more playmakers at that position. Uzi Idah, Mike Barry and Vinnie Nicosia return in the secondary, but cornerback Wayne Moten, the team’s defensive MVP last year, chose not to play this year.
The Raiders open the season against Monmouth Sept. 5 at Andy Kerr Stadium. It’s a 6 p.m. start, believed to be the first home night game in Colgate history. Home games against Stony Brook (Sept. 12) and Fordham (Sept. 26) also will be at 6 p.m.
Colgate looks for offensive line; UC wants to prove a point
By JOHN PITARRESI, THe Utica Observer-Dispatch (NY)