Football's perpetual optimism
A young Bowdoin football team discovered last Saturday that taking one
play off can be the difference between a win and a loss. From the line
of scrimmage, Middlebury's Bill Lazzaro broke through the Polar Bear defense
and sprinted 74 yards to the end zone in the game's first play. This play
proved to be pivotal, as the Panthers held a 7-0 lead into halftime.
"We're very frustrated. We feel we shot ourselves in the foot on
that first play," said co-captain Leroy Gaines '02. He echoed the
entire defense's frustration; a defense that played a superb game, with
the exception of one key breakdown.
Game mistakes are often the product of youth. Middlebury's squad is comprised
of mainly upperclassmen, but the Polar Bear team is a much younger one
this season. At one point of the game, five of eleven Bowdoin defenders
were first years, an occurence virtually unheard of in NESCAC.
Gaines echoed his coach's sentiment. "We asked a lot of the younger
players, and I thought they played great," he said. "I was impressed
by how they stepped it up on the field. We're going to depend on them
this year because of numbers."
Gaines plays next to Andrius Knasas '02 on the line, and said that he
was a bright spot in the Polar Bear defense on Saturday. "He had
a great game," Gaines stated. "He played well last season, but
I think he's going to have an amazing year and surprise people."
In talking about the matchup, Coach Caputi also singled out Knasas and
Gaines for their strong play against Middlebury.
Caputi had mixed feelings post-game, both pleased and disappointed with
the team's offensive execution. "We did a good job putting together
a 17-play drive, but we didn't convert," he said. "It was great
to be able to engineer the drive, but we need to capitalize."
Capitalizing upon scoring opportunities is a major Bear goal for tomorrow's
game. According to Gaines, the men's "game plan is to stay in shape
this week. Amherst has some great running backs, and possibly the best
wide receiver in the NESCAC. We'll have to play against our own fatigue
The Bears' next contest won't be an easy one, as the Lord Jeffs from
Amherst finished in a tie for the NESCAC championship last year with Middlebury
In order for Bowdoin to be victorious in tomorrow's hostile environment
away from home, the men will have to eliminate what every coach hates:
missed opportunities. As Caputi said, "We had opportunities to make
big plays and we didn't. [Middlebury] turned them into big plays, we didn't."
As the Polar Bears learned last weekend, every play can turn into a big play. Hopefully, their learning will aid their battle tomorrow at 1:30 P.M.