In the pandemonium of the Harvard comeback last year, one small detail was overlooked.
It was a small detail that proved to be huge.
Before jumpin’ Joe Splendorio blocked the last-second field goal to allow Cornell to grab its 24-23 win, then junior Edgar Romney left the game.
The wrist injury that forced him out ended up being season-ending, and it changed the whole complexion of the Red offense.
“That [injury] had a big impact on our offense,” said head coach Pete Mangurian. “It forced [sophomore wide receiver] Keith Ferguson to be something other than a complementary player as a freshman. It forced him into a primary role.
“I don’t think people really understood how much that [loss] changed things when we lost him a year ago,” Mangurian added.
It’s actually not that hard to see the result Romney’s injury had on the offense. Eventually the loss of the fifth-leading receiver from the 1998 campaign and sixth-leading receiver from a year ago was overcome, but not before the season took a turn south.
The Red, who was a perfect 4-0 after the Harvard game, dropped three of its next four games to fall to 5-3 and basically negate any chance of an Ivy crown.
The Colgate game immediately following the Harvard game was a 55-16 disaster. That was followed by an even bigger disaster, a 20-17 loss to Dartmouth that cost the Red a share of the Ivy-crown as Ferguson struggled to adjust and teams took advantage of a young quarterback who had lost an extremely productive and fast receiver.
The senior is back this year, thankfully, and he is as strong and fast as ever. His return certainly spells trouble for opposing secondaries and defensive coordinators hoping to contain the second-best Ivy passing offense and 14th-best overall airial attack in Division I-AA.
Romney’s teammates certainly understand the big senior’s importance to the squad.
The man who lines up across the field from him, senior co-captain Splendorio, has plenty of positive things to say about the speedy receiver.
“Edgar is a very good receiver, there’s no doubt about that. He brings a lot of ability to the offense, especially with his blocking and big plays,” said Splendorio.
Mangurian has extreme confidence in both of his outside receivers as well.
“Our philosophy is to run the big guys on the outside and the smaller guys on the inside,” Mangurian said. “If teams want to go with single coverage on the outside, then we feel we’re going to beat them.”
And if teams focus on Splendorio, Romney will have no problem reminding them why that’s not a smart idea. He’s big enough, fast enough, and has good enough hands to beat the smallish Ivy League corners on his own. That doesn’t mean that Mangurian isn’t happy to have both of his starting receivers.
Of Romney and Splendorio, Mangurian remarks, “they complement each other so well.”
But Romney brings more than just another receiving threat to the Cornell passing offense.
A number of players on the team have remarked that Romney’s fire in the huddle is one of his greatest assets.
The team player loves to make a big play, and loves to pump his teammates up after making those plays. He brings an excitement about Cornell football that is infectious. He is a player that just loves to play.
So Red fans can expect that the fiery Romney will make the most of his final ten games on the hill.
Oh, and expect that fire to burn more than one Ivy cornerback this semester.
Archived article by Charles Persons