John Skelton is now in the pros
2010 is going to be a crucial year for Fordham football as the team officially begins life as an athletic scholarship program.
But there will also be an anticlimactic aspect to the season, because it will be the start of the post-John Skelton era in Rose Hill.
Skelton was a big star at QB and seems to have a legitimate shot of getting to play for real in the NFL. He’s currently looking at a key backup role for the Arizona Cardinals.
But be careful what you wish for if you think not having to face Skelton will definitely make things easier for the Lions when they face the Rams in the season opener on September 18th.
That’s because Fordham’s top two running backs from 2009, Darryl Whiting and Lion-killer Xavier Martin, are both back for 2010. And when Columbia has fallen to the Rams in recent years, it’s been the result of an excellent Fordham rushing attack, not passing from Skelton.
Martin’s career is especially puzzling to me. In addition to being the key reason for Fordham wins over the Lions in 2007 and 2008, Martin has always boasted very big yards per carry averages over the course of his three varsity seasons. I know Skelton was a great passer, but why someone who averaged over five yards a carry only had about 12 carries per game is beyond me. Whiting also failed to get more than 12 carries per game last year despite a 5.2 yards per carry average.
And the top receivers are also back from last season. Jason Caldwell, David Moore, and John Skelton’s younger brother Stephen return.
This is not a complete scouting report by any means, but I do think the Columbia-Fordham game this season is likely to be just as exciting as the 2008 and 2009 contests were. And it’s important to remember that the Rams entrance into the scholarship world is not something that will automatically yield better results on the field just yet. I assume Fordham will try to get into the Colonial Athletic Association in the coming years, (the Patriot League seems ready to boot them soon), and we can reassess the pros and cons of continuing the Liberty Cup series then.
But for now, I like the challenge the speedy Ram runners will pose right off the top of the season to a Columbia defense that needs to show improvement against the run. And I still prefer the fact that Fordham has two games that we can scout and deconstruct before they ever see us take the field once in 2010.