The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Football plays annual Maroon and White Game, looks ahead to fall season

Freshman Michael Hayes looks to pitch the ball back to junior Julius Young during the Lafayette Maroon and White game. (Photo courtesy of GoLeopards)

After two months of 6 a.m. workouts and hours spent in the weight room and on the field, the spring season for Lafayette Football concluded with the Maroon and White game on April 30.

“Essentially, the Maroon versus White game is the big bang to spring ball,” senior captain Marco Olivas said. “We come together, we put everything we’ve been training, everything we’ve been learning over the past offseason together. It’s similar to practice, but highly competitive with different periods including an essentially full-contact period.”

In total, the Leopards ran approximately 50 live-action plays in the scrimmage, placing the offense against the defense.

After going 3-8 overall and 2-4 in the Patriot League in the fall, Lafayette made the choice to move on from Coach John Garrett and brought in standout defensive back John Troxell ’94 as head coach to rebuild the program.

Along with his staff, Troxell, a Phillipsburg native who spent the last 16 years completely rebuilding Franklin and Marshall’s program, spent the spring looking to bring a fresh and hopeful atmosphere to a team that lost four games last season by less than one score.

“Coach Troxell is a great guy and he wants to win,” Olivas said. “He wants to change the culture around here, which I’m all for. All the coaches, all the position coaches, the coordinators are great people and they want to win and I think their systems are things that we kind of need right now.  I’m excited to see what we can do because definitely we have the coaches, we have the talent, and we have, you know, the mindset to win. So all we have to do is put it together and try to win.”

The buzzword surrounding the new coaching staff is “culture.” Troxell, unlike former head coach John Garrett, is a Lafayette alum and has experience rebuilding college programs similar to Lafayette. Troxell transformed Franklin and Marshall from a team with one winning season in a decade prior to his arrival to a powerhouse that ended up capturing a conference championship in 2017. Troxell also coached at Muhlenberg College and Columbia University in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

“On this coaching staff you can tell they are a bunch of Lafayette College graduates and we have a bunch of guys has been here,” Olivas said. “While the previous coaching staff was committed to Lafayette, you could tell that these guys [were] more committed because of the time and experience they’ve had at Lafayette.”  

The new coaching staff, along with the returning player talent, has created an expectation amongst the players to win. The coaching staff was successful in their time as Lafayette players and the early consensus among players is that they will be successful as coaches. 

“My expectations for the team is to win and I want to win,” Olivas said. “The new systems are nice and I think they’re going to put us in the best position to put it all together. I’m excited to see what happens. I don’t want this to be a rebuild year and I don’t want to start the season off slow. I want to start winning immediately.”

A winning culture and winning team is not something Olivas has experienced. The most wins the team has compiled in the past three seasons is four in 2019. Nevertheless, Olivas has thrived at Lafayette personally, posting two seasons with over 50 tackles, 11 sacks and 22 tackles for loss. Individual success and an ability to lead has resulted in him, along with senior defensive lineman Malik Hamm, to be named captains for the 2022 season. 

“I’m honored that my teammates look to me for leadership and that they wanted me as a captain,” Olivas said. “The reason I’m able to be successful is because of them. They’re a bunch of great guys and it’s a great honor that they see me as someone that can lead the team and I’m ready to do that.”

This offseason has brought a lot of change, and getting ready for the new season with a new coaching staff will likely come with challenges.

“I think the most challenging aspect of the offseason will be getting comfortable with the new systems,” Olivas said. “The offensive and defensive schematics are completely different from what they were last year and getting to the point where everything becomes second nature is the main challenge.”

The Lafayette football team will have plenty of time to get comfortable before its first game, which will be on Sept. 3 against Sacred Heart. The Leopards will begin Patriot League play on Oct. 1 at Bucknell.  

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Craig Barbaro
Craig Barbaro, Staff Sports Writer

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