2016 Preseason Patriot League Preview: Lafayette

2015 Results: 1-10 (0-6)
Returning starters:
Offense 10
Defense 7




The 2016 Leopards are one of the prime examples of “Good news, everyone returns. The bad news is, every one returns.” After 16 seasons some fans may be feeling the second part of that statement about the coaching staff. Frank Tavani took over a program, at the turn of the century, that had been struggling for quite some time and looked to have “fixed” it. By year 3 he had them at 7 wins. Between 2004 and 2009 there was not a losing season and had three 8 win seasons. Then, the wheels fell off. Yes, there was a conference title in 2013, but Lafayette finished that regular season 5-6. There are “reasonable excuses” for dropping to 1-10 last season. As one AGS poster reminded me, the ‘pards suffered “A biblical scourge of injuries devastated Coach Tavani’s squad last year.”. Even with that, there needs to be improvement this year. However, as I said to open the article, the upside is we see many players back that got experience last season, due to the injuries, that likely would not have seen the field last year otherwise.

Senior quarterback, Drew Reed, returns for his senior season looking to finish his career on the high it started. As a freshman he lead Lafayette to the conference title. He lost his sophomore season to injuries and struggled to show much consistency last season.  To improve on the 1-10 mark from last season Reed must play better. The lone bright spot, as last season wore on, was running back DeSean Brown. Brown showed flashes of talent with 580 yards rushing yards, 877 all purpose yards, and 5 touchdowns last season. The rest of the offense has a year of game speed experience, which shoud help. The wide receiver group has talent, led by Joey Chenowith, who lead the team with 46 receptions for 389 yards and Matt Mrazek who finished second with 44 catches for 495 yards. The offensive line can go a long way in helping Reed regain his old form by keeping him upright. Last season he was planted 38 times, and ran for his life countless others.

I feel like a broken record with the Patriot League by saying “The offense has the talent if the defense can keep them close.” and Lafayette is no exception. Given what returns, Tavani should be able to field a solid tough defense. If nothing else he’s known for having fairly strong defenses, but that was far from the case last season as the Leopard defense gave up 35 points per game, including 49 at the hands of the archenemy, Lehigh, to close the season. We know that won’t sit well with anyone affiliated with that program. Brandon Bryant and Mike Root anchor the linebacker corps and the the secondary should be fairly solid with CB Parrish Simmons and Ss Draeland James and Kaizer Butler. The big key to make the defense better will be improving the pass rush. Last season the pass rush was non existent. Much like the key for the offense, the defensive line must get better on the line of scrimmage as last season they had just 9 sacks on the season.



9/2 @ Central Connecticut State

9/10 – Delaware

9/17 – @ Princeton

9-24 – Villanova

10/1 – Holy Cross

10/8 – Fordham

10/15 @ Army (FBS)

10/22 @ Bucknell

10/29 Georgetown

11/12 –  @ Colgate

11/19 – Lehigh


2016 Preseason AGS Poll Prediction: 6th place

Written by 

2010 graduate of The University of Northern Iowa. Resident loudmouth and stat nerd on AGS. Follow me on the Twitter, @cdl1018, for random blasts of MVFC stats and thoughts. Want to contribute to The FCS Wedge? Drop me a line on Twitter or email me at [email protected].

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