Our Central New York rivalry with Colgate has been a great measuring stick over the years, and this year was no different. We walked into a tough situation with Colgate playing its first home game of the season for a first-year head coach on Homecoming. Walking off the field after a 27-12 loss, my disappointment was overshadowed by a renewed sense of optimism over where the program is headed.
Though the result obviously isn’t what we wanted, I think the entire coaching staff and our players were encouraged about what we saw on the field against a quality opponent who has built an identity over two decades in their style of play. It’s what we envision other teams coming in and saying when pointing toward us in the future. Our special teams play was promising with a few things to be cleaned up, and our defense was stout with the exception of two long plays. The offense, in game one of its new system, showed big-play ability and the offensive line was able to establish the running game. Our passing game saw three different quarterbacks complete passes to 10 different receivers to show the type of balance we want to achieve. The execution was where you’d expect it to be in the first game, and we weren’t able to overcome the mistakes.
We got an opportunity to put a lot of players on the field in multiple personnel groupings in all three phases of the game, and many of our athletes, young and old, delivered. What we felt from the sidelines, and what was more obvious on film, was reinforcement that football is truly a game of inches. The game comes down to the Fundamental Five that we teach and track on each side of the ball, and you can see the break downs on film. A simple missed assignment or a bad angle on a block or tackle made all the difference in this game. You expect mistakes in the first game as players get used to game speed, particularly after such a long preseason – we now work on identifying how and why they happened and continuing to teach.
Every game is different and we’ll look forward to turning our eyes to Bucknell, but more than that to continue to work on ourselves. Not an ounce of enthusiasm for this season was lost on that field in Hamilton, and our players got a vision of what we can achieve as we build upon game one.
Thanks to many of you who traveled to Colgate this past weekend. Despite it being their home opener and Homecoming, our crowd more than held its own. I appreciate your continued support for our program and hope you’ve been enjoying the increased preseason communication. We want you all to be invested in our current players and the program whether you live in Ithaca or halfway across the world.
David J. Archer 05′
The Roger J. Weiss ’61
Head Coach of Football