After suffering its first two losses of the season, the Cornell sprint football team had time to think about its mistakes for two weeks, as the Red had a bye last week. On Friday, the team hopes to correct those mistakes and take out its frustrations against Post (3-2) at Schoellkopf Field. With the extra week to prepare, Cornell has watched a lot of film and scouted its opponent very closely.
“We watched a lot of film on Post and one thing we’ve noticed is how fast they really are,” said junior co-captain and quarterback Brendan Miller. “I heard something on NFL network one night about how one team was preparing for Dwight Freeney by having their scout team line up offside. We’re trying this by having our scout team [do just that] when we prepare to try and get used to the speed Post has — I think they are the fastest team in the league.”
The defense is also preparing for this speedy opponent.
“For our defense, we know that their offense has a lot of formations,” said senior co-captain and defensive end Will Edmonds. “They’re a newer team in the league, so they don’t have the seniority and same discipline that some other teams have, but they do have a few really good standout athletes that makes a difference when it comes down to making a play.”
Post’s defense, led by their senior middle linebacker, Kyle Lagasse — who is second in the league with 50 tackles — ranks third in the league in average yards against. The Post offense is led by their sophomore quarterback Dwayne Carter, who is a dual-threat quarterback that can throw the ball as well as run. The Red defense has also heavily scouted Post’s offense and noticed the same thing: its speed.
“They have an extremely talented quarterback who has a good arm and is also a strong athlete,” Edmonds explained. “If he doesn’t see anything downfield, he’ll be more than happy to put the ball under his arm and start running. He’s a good athlete and can move around, so we have to be prepared for him throwing the ball and if everyone’s covered, we have to be prepared for him running the ball as well.”
The Red struggled mightily on offense in its last game against Navy and the primary reason for the struggles is the Red’s inability to gain yardage on first and second downs, forcing it to convert third-and-longs, according to Miller.
“Without question, [our biggest concern on offense] is just getting the yardage on first and second down we need,” he said. “I think our downfall has been that we’ve been in situations like third and 10 or similar probably more than 70% of the time so that’s what sets us back. We’re working a lot on trying to establish our shorter passing game and quick runs; that way, we can get more yards on first and second down to make our third down situation easier.”
While the offense has struggled lately, the defense has steadily improved throughout the season. Although the Red lost to Navy, the defense won a moral victory, holding the explosive Navy offense to just 11 points.
“[Our performance against Navy] was all about discipline and knowing our assignment and our alignment,” Edmonds said. “Because we were able to do that for the majority of the game, we held a team that usually averages over 40 points a game to only 11. If we maintain that discipline and line up in the right way and cover the right people, then we’ll see a similar result against Post, where we really hold them on the defensive side.”
Although the chances are not high that the Red can still win the league championship after two straight losses, the team remains focused and holds onto the small chance that they can claim a share of the league title.
“To win our league, we pretty much have to go undefeated,” Miller explained. “Although the league title appears to be out of our hands, there’s still a slight chance we can win it if some outside things happen … At the very least, we will put together a 5-2 record and at the same time, keep us in any type of league contention.”
Despite the scenario, Cornell’s morale remains high.
“Everybody still has that fire and there’s no reason for it to go away,” Edmonds said. “We see the season as two games to go undefeated and that’s all it’s about at this point.”