2012-08-09 / Sports

Scheuerman excited about second season at Lafayette

BY WAYNE WITKOWSKI Correspondent

Former Allentown High School running back Ross Scheuerman believes he is better prepared this summer than he was a year ago at Lafayette College when he quickly gained national recognition after breaking into the Leopards’ starting lineup as a freshman.

“This summer, there was a lot more weight off my shoulders,” said Scheuerman, who reported to preseason camp on Aug. 8 as the team prepares for its Sept. 8 opener at the College of William and Mary. “I know exactly what to expect. I’m really excited to be playing football.”

Along with leaving a great first impression on the coaching staff last year, Scheuerman seized the opportunity when another starting running back at Lafayette suffered a concussion. Scheuerman became a leader on offense.

“I took advantage of opportunities in front of me. I had an opportunity to do something,” Scheuerman said after the 2011 season. “I was determined.”

Scheuerman also finished 17th in voting for the Jerry Rice award, which is presented by The Sports Network to the freshman of the year in the Football Championship Subdivison. “I was just really humbled to be a part of that list. It’s something special,” Scheuerman said when the results were announced. “It’s a great achievement and something to look back on.”

It was also further inspiration for him during offseason training, as he will head into the 2012 season as an established threat that is well recognized by opposing defenses. Scheuerman, who was also an All- Patriot League second team selection at tailback and return specialist, is the ninth Lafayette player to get Patriot League Rookie of the Year honors. He was named the Rookie of the Week four times during the season.

Scheuerman adjusted well to the faster college game from his time at Allentown. With the Redbirds, he became the school’s all-time leading rusher with 3,842 career yards and he scored 57 touchdowns, including trips to the end zone in a game against Trenton. He helped the Redbirds to back-toback 6-4 seasons, including their first winning season in 32 years and first-ever NJSIAA Central Group III playoff berth.

But he said he felt he needed to get bigger and stronger this year for the upcoming season with the Leopards. Scheuerman gained 20 pounds from his weight a year ago, when he rushed for 499 yards on 104 carries—an average of 4.8 yards. He is now up to 200 pounds.

Last season, Scheuerman also caught 20 passes for 188 yards and he returned 31 kickoffs with an average of 23.1 yards per kick.

After starting the season at 1-4, Lafayette finished the campaign with a 4-7 record.

Scheuerman said that he needed to work on pass blocking, a part of the game that he did not need to do as much in high school.

Philip LaBella, Lafayette’s sports information director, agreed.

“Ross has done a wonderful job for us, but he’s still learning and he has some pass protection to work on. He knows that,” La- Bella said.

“In my position, I needed to be more physical because you take on 230-pound linebackers one-on-one,” said Scheuerman, referring to gaining weight to help him during the times he has to be a blocker on offensive plays.

He took a big step in that direction for two weeks over the summer when he was back on campus running seven-on-seven drills with his teammates, including an experienced starting quarterback and three returning starting offensive linemen.

The team is thin on experienced wide receivers, where incoming freshman Jamel Smith of New Egypt is projected to play this season, said Scheuerman.

“Things are going great. In those two weeks, I did a lot of conditioning and quality lifting and we ran seven-on-sevens on Tuesdays and Thursdays,” Scheuerman said.

He also stayed in shape during a vacation break doing the thing he loves most aside from football, surfing.

“I went to Costa Rica, my second time there,” he said. “I just surfed all the time. It’s a great surfing destination. It’s good to get away.”

With offensive coordinator Mickey Fein back at Lafayette, Scheuerman said there isn’t much that is new for the Leopards beyond the schemes they ran last season.

“There are certain plays and formations based on what we are good at,” he said. “We’re pretty balanced offensively. We like to run and then pass.”

Scheuerman said the main thing for the Leopards this season is to finish drives to score points. But this team has shown more consistency in spring workouts and the spring game in April, he said.

“Everybody is fired up and we bonded in the spring,” Scheuerman said. “That was lacking last year. Now we’re one big family.”

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