The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Young stars shine at football’s spring showcase

Sophomore Savion McKinnon makes a catch during the football team’s annual spring showcase last Saturday. (Photo by Rick Smith for GoLeopards)

The football team may not be in season, but the way the Leopards have been practicing over their spring semester makes it hard to tell. The team’s diligence culminated in the annual Maroon-White Spring Showcase on Saturday afternoon.

“Our goal with the spring practices is to create an opportunity for our guys to become more knowledgeable and better their techniques,” head coach John Troxell said. “There’s a lot of teaching done, especially with catching the younger guys back into the fold. We get the game to slow down so they don’t have to think too fast out there.”

The spring showcase follows a historic 9-3 season in which the team won its first Patriot League title since 2013 and qualified for the NCAA FCS Playoffs. However, the team has had its eyes on the start of the upcoming season since losing to Delaware in the first round.

“We’ve been saying all spring, ‘What are we going to do today to beat Buffalo?’” freshman quarterback Peyton Cosover said, alluding to the team’s first game next season. “Our goal for each day since the end of last season is that we come in and prepare for the upcoming season, which we’re extremely excited for.”

The showcase featured a 90-minute practice at Fisher Stadium. Across the session were 10 different practice periods that included a wide variety of individual position work and live scrimmaging. Although the team does incorporate live periods throughout its spring practices, the coaching staff reserves most of its situational scrimmaging for the showcase in order to evaluate how each player has improved.

Many younger players had their talents on full display Saturday, especially on offense. Early in the game, Cosover found freshman wide receiver Savion McKinnon for a 46-yard touchdown. Fellow freshman wide receiver Ben Bussiere also hauled in two more touchdown passes from Cosover in opposite corners of the end zone.

“It felt great to get out there as a team,” Cosover said. “Our offense was clicking all day.”

Troxell considered the showcase to be a success as the Leopards accomplished both of their main goals heading into the practice: avoid injuries and allow the younger players to get meaningful reps.

“You always get nervous when doing scrimmage work, so our first goal was to get out of it healthy, which we did,” Troxell said. “On the other hand, we had really good production by some of our younger guys who we’re hoping can help us compete this year.”

Troxell highlighted Bussiere’s two-touchdown performance as an eye-catching one for the coaching staff heading into camp this summer.

“You look at Ben Bussiere, who still has a ways to go,” Troxell said. “But we got a chance to evaluate him and see him come up with some big plays. It gives us hope that we have a guy who can help us down the road and understands what he’s doing.”

The team will get some downtime until June when it returns to campus for summer training. The players will then train until officially reporting to camp in late July.

“There’s not much time until August,” Troxell said. “Hopefully some of the guys who are a little more banged up can use this time to get healthy as we prepare ourselves for the 12-game schedule.”

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Dan Sullivan
Dan Sullivan, Staff Sports Writer

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