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Patriot League Preview: Lafayette Leopards

by DJ Sixsmith
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Fordham Athletics

Leopards try to get above .500

This is the third of seven articles that preview the 2013 Patriot League teams.  They are in the inverse order of the preseason poll voting by Patriot League football head coaches and sports information directors, who did not include their own school in the selections.

Fordham was not included in the poll because it will not be able to compete for the Patriot League championship and NCAA automatic bid in 2013, and its games against League members will not count towards the final standings for either team.

During the mid 2000’s the Lafayette Leopards were the Patriot League’s most dominant team. Under head coach Frank Tavani, the Leopards won three straight conference titles from 2004-2006. However, Tavani’s squad hasn’t been over .500 since the 2009-2010 campaign. After a 5-2 start in 2012 it looked as though the Leopards had reversed their fortune, but the team from Easton, PA finished the season with four straight losses.

The key for the Lafayette this season will be winning on the road as the Leopards lost three of their six games away from home. Coach Tavani’s senior class will most certainly be feeling the pressure as they’ve failed to win more than five games in each of the last three seasons. The good news for the veteran head coach is that two experienced players in senior wide receiver Mark Ross and senior offensive lineman Brad Bormann lead his offense.

Starting with Ross, the Pennsylvania native separated himself from the pack in 2012 with a monster season. Ross was named to the All Patriot League first team as he caught 75 passes for a team high 1,030 yards. The wide out had seven games with more than 100 yards receiving and registered the third most receiving yards in a single season. Ross was Lafayette’s MVP in 2012 as he led the Patriot League with 10 receiving touchdowns and was second in the conference in receptions per game.

One of the main reasons for Ross’ stellar season was the solid play of Brad Bormann and the rest of the offensive line. The New Jersey native has started at guard for the last three years and was nominated this offseason for an American Football Coaches Association Good Works Team award in recognition of his work off the field.

While Bormann has an impressive body of work, his most noteworthy accomplishments have come away from the gridiron. The senior recently received an early acceptance into the Teach for America program, as he will be working in a New Jersey high school starting in 2014. The biology major made the Dean’s List last year with a perfect 4.0 GPA.

The Leopards begin the 2013 campaign with two home games against Sacred Heart and William & Mary. Lafayette beat W&M last season in Virginia 17-14. The team’s first Patriot League game comes against Bucknell on October 5th at home. The Leopards season could be determined in the month of October. Coach Tavani’s unit plays four straight road games from the middle of October to early November.

Listen below to my interviews from Patriot League media day this past July with head coach Frank Tavani, senior wide receiver Mark Ross and the most interesting man in the Patriot League Brad Bormann.

WFUV is the home of Fordham Football all season long, including live game coverage and the weekly coach’s show, Monday Night Quarterback.

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Coach Frank Tavani Brad Bormann Mark Ross