Falcons are coming off a big win
When Josh Snyder took over the Northwestern Tigers in 2012, he was quick to put young players in the lineup. He knew they were going to take some hits and go through rough times, but ultimately they would be better players down the road because of the experience that they gathered. This season, injuries hit the offensive and defensive lines leading up to the first week of the season, creating a familiar situation for Snyder.
One advantage is that this week, Snyder and his coaches have at least had a full week of practice with the young players to prepare them for their matchup with Salisbury in week two. Unfortunately, Tyler Lobach was added to the list of injured players when he went down with a collarbone injury against Palmerton and will sit out the next couple of weeks. Four other players – Dan Burke, Anthony Colucci, Phil Dangello and Jack Moloney – were removed from the roster this week for unspecified reasons, leaving Snyder even shorter than he was in week one.
“In 2012 we played a bunch of sophomores and a couple freshmen here and there, with some juniors,” said Snyder. “It’s a process every few years here at Northwestern, so it’s not new to us. You’ve just got to be patient and you can’t get too high or too low. You just have to trust in what you’re doing.”
The Tigers are preparing to play a Salisbury team that beat Catasauqua 47-29 in its season opener. Salisbury racked up 588 total yards of offense, with 506 of them coming on the ground against the Rough Riders. Defensively though, the Falcon defense was torched for 453 yards, with 275 yards coming on the ground.
“Salisbury went back to the Wing-T offense and mixed that up a little with the spread offense against Catty,” said Snyder. “They showed a good compliment of some pretty good skill guys and some linemen that did some nice things.”
Tim Buda ran for 167 yards and three touchdowns against Catasauqua, and the challenge will be for the Tigers defense to slow him down after they were hit for 213 yards rushing by Palmerton. Meanwhile, Northwestern’s attempts to establish a ground game this season took a hit in week one when it had minus-eight yards net rushing, thanks in part to five sacks that resulted in minus-30 yards for Northwestern.
Sophomore quarterback Deven Bollinger had some success in finding Caleb Clymer, connecting with the senior six times for 148 yards and two touchdowns. Bollinger was pressured much of the game, but having had the full week to work with the young offensive line may help give Bollinger a little more time to settle in on pass plays.
“It looks like they’re playing a four-three defense instead of the three-three stack that they were playing the last couple years,” said Snyder. “Catty shot themselves in the foot a good amount of the time, but Salisbury played a mistake free-game and was fairly impressive.”
The injuries combined with the loss of the four players leaves Northwestern with little depth, but Snyder is taking a philosophical approach to how the roster has been affected.
“Right now, let’s just say that we’re going to play with the guys on the roster right now and we have to see how that’s going to work,” said Snyder. “It’s not good, but we’ve got young players who have an opportunity and they are looking to take advantage of that.”