Coach Wilson addresses the troops (CREDIT: Columbia Athletics/Gene Boyars)
The two-deep for the Princeton game has some significant changes that could make a big difference on the field.
But first a word of caution: You have to take these two-deeps, released 3-4 days before the game, with a big grain of salt. A lot of the people who eventually get the Lions' share of playing time may not be listed and that can be due to team injuries and a lot other factors that change as gametime rolls around.
That said, here are the big changes:
1) Jamal Russell, who was in street clothes last week, is back on the two-deep officially backing up Troy Evangelist at tight end. We may finally see some of the rumored two tight end sets we heard about all summer.
2) On defense, Eli Waltz is getting the start at nose tackle with freshman Brian England backing him up. Weeks one and two starter Mack Loughrey is not listed.
3) Freshman Matt Moretto gets his first start at the inside linebacker position and he's backed up by another freshman, Derek Lipscomb. We heard a lot about how well both of them played in training camp, so this appears to be their reward. Bayo Aregbe may be injured, but I have no confirmation on that. Freshman Marc Holloway is off the two-deep at least for now.
4) Matt Bashaw is getting the start at right end over Lou Miller for the first time this season.
5) We saw Corey Cameron on cruthces at the end of the Marist game, so it's no surprise that Justin Masorti is starting at the other inside linebacker slot.
6) Freshman Alex Gross moves from backing up Andy Shalbrack at spur to backing up Drew Quinn at middle linebacker. Shalbrack's new backup is freshman Augie Williams.
7) Grant Jefferson is getting the start at corner again over a presumably banged up JoJo Smith. Smith did get into some of the game against Marist though.
I'm not sure if this is mostly because of injuries or simply a planned reshuffling, but lots more freshmen have cracked the two-deep and appear to be making a move. Perhaps that intensity and team spirit Coach Wilson said the freshmen were lacking coming out of camp has finally taken hold.