Some news from the weekly Tribe football luncheon at the Hospitality House:
* True freshman Jonathan Grimes has officially beaten out sophomore Ryan Woolfork for what is now the second tailback slot, a fact that many Tribe fans most likely guessed during Saturday’s game which featured Grimes prominently. While Woolfork is a tough runner with the football, Grimes’ speed and agility presents a good partnership with sophomore Terrence Riggins, although the freshman will have to make sure to hold onto the football after his costly fumble of a pitch against NC State.
* On the injury front, both senior tailback DeBrian Holmes and junior safety Robert Livingston are listed as out for this week’s game against VMI and do not appear on the depth chart. However, head coach Jimmye Laycock did concede that there was an outside chance each could play. Similar cautions are being taken with sophomore wideout Chase Hill who is being held out of practice, and likely the VMI game as well, after suffering a concussion in the fourth quarter against NC State. Sophomore tailback Courtland Marriner remains out for the near future with the most optimistic dates for his return seemingly coming at midseason.
* Addressing his squad’s performance against NC State, Laycock was pleased with the solid performance, but disappointed the Tribe couldn’t secure the win. “There were a lot of positives that came out of that game regarding the way we played,” he said. “But, we were not pleased with the fact that we did not get the win. We felt that if we had done a few things better in certain areas, we had a real, legitimate shot to get a win down there.”
* Perhaps the key turning point in that game was the four Tribe turnovers, as the team squandered several early chances to seize control of the game. “We had very few penalties in the game, which is a pretty good sign, but the bad side was the turnovers,” he said. “If you go and play a 1-A team, on the road especially, and you’re minus two in the turnovers then your chances of winning are not real good and we didn’t really give ourselves a chance to win because of that.”
*Laycock then praised the strong defensive effort, particularly the 2-16 third down conversion rate for the Wolfpack. “I don’t know if we’ve ever played a 1-A team and had that many three and outs,” he said. “It was quite a defensive effort.”
* Finally, I was talking to junior safety David Caldwell during the lunch, when the Montclair, New Jersey native mentioned that he was a New York Giants fan, a fact which I did not receive too favorably until he mentioned why. It turns out Caldwell is friends with wide receiver and Super Bowl 42 hero David Tyree, he of the absolutely ridiculous and immediately iconic first down catch late in the fourth quarter of the Giants win. Caldwell played on the same high school squad as Tyree’s brothers and even attended a Giants minicamp with Tyree several years ago. Despite my avid support of the Redskins, I gave Caldwell a pass.