Your Raiders have been grinding through preseason practices for two weeks now – we continue to improve every day. My injury has allowed me to experience camp through a new perspective and I am encouraged by what I see.
Coach Hunt’s practices certainly have a different feel from Coach Biddle’s era, but the hard-nosed Colgate football culture remains at the core of our routine. All team activities incorporate enthusiasm. We approach meals, workouts, position meetings, team swims, community events and practices with an eagerness to be better. Practices have been fast-paced and thorough but the coaches are giving our bodies more of a break than past years. Coach Hunt hopes that this method will eliminate injuries from overuse, while encouraging an eagerness to not hold anything back come August 30th.
We held an inter-squad scrimmage yesterday, which was the first indicator of what type of team we will be this year. The contest featured several big plays from the offense and a handful of defensive stands. Sophomore quarterback Jake Melville led our first offense effectively all day long. Jake is very confident at the line of scrimmage and his style of play is reminiscent of Gavin McCarney’s dual-threat athleticism. In our third drive of the scrimmage, freshman quarterback Bret Mooney found senior tight end CJ Stempeck for a 65-yard scoring bomb (which Coach Hunt overruled due to excessive celebration). Juniors John Wilkins, Meach Russell and James Travellin are proving to be a healthy stable of running backs that each run with a different style.
Despite several big offensive plays, the defense played soundly for the better part of the day. Veteran safety Mike Armiento is the confident leader of a very athletic unit. Sophomore Chris Morgan has emerged as a starting cornerback and freshman linebacker Pat Afriye will play a major role on special teams and in several defensive packages.
This freshmen class has done a great job quickly learning their assignments and adjusting to the speed of the game. A lot of young players are maturing into contributing members of this team. I am excited to watch these kids emerge into playmakers as the season progresses.
In summary, these past couple of weeks have been full of enthusiasm, competition and passion for the game. I think we have all of the ingredients for a successful season. I am excited to see what this team becomes as we steel ourselves for Ball State on August 30th.
I am happy to host any questions. I look forward to seeing your support this fall! GATA!