Fall camp is not that far away and Hofstra football has a problem, albeit a pleasant one.
How will it fit Brock Jackolski and Riverhead's Miguel Maysonet in the same backfield?
There is no ego clash, as their might be in the NFL, but can two talented backs be one back too many?
Not at all. When Dave Cohen became Hofstra's coach, the former Delaware assistant made the backfield his top priority. He theorized that getting to November (the playoffs) was all about having a powerful ball carrier. Two would be even better.
Jackolski, from Floyd, had a nice freshman year at Hofstra, though a nagging injury diminished his effectiveness. Rumor has it he might be converted to wide receiver, where the best hands since Wayne Chrebet could make him into a top receiver, but Hofstra has always had plenty of players to catch the ball. Reliable running backs have been harder to find.
Maysonet, the offensive star of Tuesday's Empire Challenge, keynoted his arrival to Shuart Stadium with 116 yards on 17 carries, including a 30-yard touchdown run. He is slight of build, but has what footballers call a low center of gravity. His is fast and hard to bring down, requisite skills for his position. Hofstra is trying to make a dent in the Colonial Athletic Association this season and Jackolski and Maysonet will be playing big roles.
Will the fans return?
More than 8,000 fans showed up to watch Long Island's best high schools fooball players oppose the best New York City (and its environs) had to offer. Hofstra football would be pleaded to have a crowd that size on any given Saturday. The riddle is why fans often do not come out to see local high school stars once they arrive in Hempstead. Hofstra's best crowd, 9,381, showed up in 1999 when Connecticut visited.
Before that, it was back to 1960 and 8,023 for C.W. Post. A number of players from the Empire Challenge will be at Hofstra in the fall, but Maysonet and Jackolski are the difference makers. Perhaps the fans will want to see them scorch the backfield.
That SBU-Hofstra rivalry
Circle Sept. 5 on your calendar. That is when Hofstra and Stony Brook meet for the 12th time. Could it be the last? Hofstra is winding down its series against Stony Brook (lacrosse is over, basketball is not on the 2009-2010 schedule) and though Stony Brook says the football contract is long term, who can be sure? Hofstra, which will host the Saturday night game on Labor Day weekend, leads the series, 11-0.
On the Mark
Jets rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez tried to keep a low profile at the Empire Challenge, but was spotted as he headed for the exit. He didn't have much to say but posed (head down) with a fan for a picture an autograph. He politely thanked the fan and headed into the parking lot.