Friday night lights at Colby
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- One Giant of a Super Bowl
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Last Friday, September 18, the football team played host to Bates College in a scrimmage under the lights of Seaverns Field at the Harold Alfond Complex. A fairly large crowd of students and local residents turned out to watch the Mules on a relatively cold September evening. For the average fan, the play on the field could have been mistaken for authentic game action. Seaverns Field, in its illuminated glory, seemed to conjure the seriousness of game atmosphere. Every block, every tackle, every pass was just that much bolder and brighter. It is clear why the new complex has received so many accolades. More important to the game-like feel was the attitude of the football team on the field. Head Coach Ed Mestieri believes his squad wasn't just going through the motions."We were really pleased with the effort and our physicality on both sides of the ball." Statistics were not kept for the scrimmage and the final score was ultimately unimportant to either team. Regardless, play was taken seriously as both Bates and Colby are still evaluating their players a week before the season starts. "The scrimmage gave us an opportunity to look at all the players on film, as everyone who played was healthy," Mestieri said.
Offensively, Colby's play calling seemed to be split between run and pass. Throughout the first half the Mules had success with moving the ball in either mode. "We moved the ball well," Mestieri said. "We also used the scrimmage to look at some new personal alignments and schemes." This aspect of the scrimmage was important for a team with a lot of roster turnover from last year. One negative aspect of the offense was its performance in opposing territory. Several offensive drives had promising starts but did not finish with scores. Mestieri believes, "we have to do a better job finishing off drives."
Likewise, the Colby defense was interesting to watch. Every play seemed to bring a hard-hitting intensity. "Defensively we were flying around. We made some big plays, although we gave up some big plays as well," Mestieri said. Ultimately, mistakes in a scrimmage, while somewhat disconcerting, are more helpful for a team in its final evaluations.
Most assessment came in the second half of the scrimmage as the underclassman got a chance to impress. "The scrimmage gave the younger players the opportunity to get on the field against someone else, and we continue to be pleased with the development of our first year players," Mestieri said. "I think many of them will have an impact as the season wears on."
With the season opener scheduled for this Saturday, the scrimmage acted as a barometer for where Colby stands. Co-captain Roger Bel '10 concluded, "We took a lot of positive things from our scrimmage and the mistakes we made are certainly correctable."
Now everyone's sights are turned to the season and home opener against Williams College on Saturday. Williams should be a real test for the Mules. The past several years, it has become a regular occurrence to see Williams at the top of the standings in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC). Just last year the Ephs finished with a 6-2 record and had 11 players named to the "all-conference" team. Luckily for Colby, 11 starters for that same team are not returning this year, including former 2,000 yard rusher Brian Morrissey and their All-American tackle John Szawlowski. Many positions for Williams still seem to be in a flux and this can only work as an advantage for Colby.
The atmosphere should be raucous on Saturday because the Colby campus population will approximately double with the return of parents and alumni for Family Homecoming Weekend. If Colby can leave Seaverns Field the victor, it will immediately put its name on the map as a team to fear in the NESCAC.