My rants and insight into Colgate athletics and Patriot League sports

Friday, October 21, 2005

Holy Cross Scouting Report

I apologize for the lateness of this post and perhaps its brevity. Life has a funny way of getting in the way of football sometimes! In some ways this piece might be redundant of my "Prognosticating" post, frankly because I got a bit carried away in that write up, but here goes:

Holy Cross comes into this game with a 5-2 record, a win against Lehigh and two strong showings in losses to Delaware and Harvard. Colgate fans, this is not the Crusader team of the past several years. They are playing disciplined football, are aggressive and play with passion, and have a few talented players we should be weary of.

That said, I believe Colgate is more than up to the task of going into Fitton Field on their Parent's Weekend and coming away with a victory.


The Holy Cross offense revolves mostly around multi-purpose threat and Walter Payton Award candidate Steve Silva. Silva is a threat to run the ball, catch the ball, break a big return and even throw a touchdown pass or two. Colgate will need to make containing Silva the #1 priority of the day. Silva runs behind a veteran offensive line that has done a good job opening up some holes against opposing defenses. Fullback Gideon Akande will lead the way for Silva, but is also worthy of respect as a runner himself.

When not going to the ground, the Crusaders look for three year starter and senior quarterback John O'Neill to lead the way. O'Neill is having a very respectable season and does not turn over the ball much (nor does any other member of the Holy Cross squad). O'Neill's main threat to pass to is fellow senior Sean Gruber. Gruber is ranked in most Holy Cross career categories and while he is probably not a huge deep threat, he has proven he can catch the ball and make plays when needed. Bob Turkovich at the other receiver position might see a lot of balls going his way since Gruber will warrant the bulk of Colgate's attention.

As I previously mentioned, Silva is a threat to catch the ball out of the backfield, and this is one area I think Holy Cross might try to exploit and might have some success at. He will be a mismatch problem for our linebackers, so it might be up to Geoff Bean or Sam Breslin to keep Silva from making a big play.

No matter how it plays out, I expect Colgate to defend the run heavily and challenge O'Neill to be the one to beat us. Our secondary matches up well in this one, so patience will be very important if Holy Cross is going to complete the passes they need to move the chains. It will also be imperative for the Crusaders to keep our lineman at bay if they are to have the time to wait for some routes to open up. I do like our defensive line pass rush in this battle. I think we might be a step faster then them here.


Holy Cross has mostly a 'no-name' defense that has been getting the job done this year. They are vastly improved from last year's squad but only feature three senior starters. They are in some ways still a young group and Colgate might be able to take advantage of that fact. This group is in no way a bunch of pushovers, as they have been impressive in the turnover battle.

Linebacker Dan Adams looks to be the leader on defense, with Casey Gough the big name in the secondary. Gough has a few interceptions to his credit and plenty of tackles to his name. However, with two sophomores at the safety positions, the Crusader secondary might have trouble covering all of the Raider receivers. The health of Kenny Parker might be a factor, since if he is not able to play tomorrow that takes away a pretty big threat that Holy Cross would have to contend with.

Special Teams

Holy Cross excels in the special teams area, largely due to the play of Steve Silva. Steve is a legitimate threat to score every time he touches the ball, so the Raider coverage teams will have to have their heads on every down, and the Raider kickers will likely try to keep the ball out of Silva's hands.

If we are able to negate Silva's impact on returns, either by kicking away or with some great coverage by folks like Geoff Bean (who has been very solid in this area), that could be the difference in the game for Colgate.

On our side of the ball, Holy Cross will likely have the same options before them that Colgate does. Geoff Bean may be a notch behind Silva in terms of return ability (he is two years younger by the way) but Bean definitely deserves respect. If the Crusaders take him lightly, Bean will likely help the Colgate cause with some great starting field position.

The Skinny

This is a big game for Colgate, for obvious reasons. A win here puts us that much closer to a Patriot League Championship and it allows ourselves to continue to control our own destiny. I've said it before and I'll say it again: I think Silva is good and will score some points. Our defense should be able to limit his impact from being the difference maker, but if we can't, we just might lose this contest.

I, however, am more confident than that. I think the outcome of the game rests on Colgate's ability to score more than 21 points. We're improving each week on offense, so as long as the defense continues its strong play, we should be in great position to keep on winning.

As always, Let's Go 'Gate!


Post a Comment

<< Home