Lumberjacks Forked in Tempe
by Travis Guy
Northern Arizona University (NAU) opened their 2012 campaign against ASU with a less than impressive showing. The Jacks were forked by the Sun Devils, 63–6, in Tempe, with two of their starters going down in the second quarter. Despite junior running back Zach Bauman and senior quarterback Cary Grossart leaving the game early, the offense did have a few high points with the debuts of senior running back Covaughn Deboskie-Johnson and sophomore quarterback Chase Cartwright.
A Bauman centric offense?
Starting at the spring scrimmage for the Lumberjacks and leading up to their season opener against the Sun Devils, NAU looked to rely heavily on their main weapon, Bauman. He has been a breakout star at NAU, recording more than 1,000 yards in his first two seasons. Shortly after the second quarter began in Tempe, Bauman collided with an ASU defenseman and dropped. While the hit was nasty, he was able to walk off the field with assistance. From the looks of it, Bauman will have a heavy load this season and the question of whether or not he can handle it comes into play. According to head coach Jerome Souers, the offense does have more tools, they just were not able to implement them against the ASU defense.
“We really had intent to throw the ball more, but they are a tremendous pressure package. Their speed of the rush and their ability to cover took a lot of the passing game away,” Souers said. “A one-dimensional fighter is a one-armed fighter and that’s not what we’re gonna be. Zach Bauman is a good ball carrier, but we need to have 11 guys contributing in order to have a successful offense.”
Deboskie-Johnson breaks out
Deboskie-Johnson graduated from the University of California, Berkley in the spring of 2012. While at Cal, Deboskie-Johnson redshirted, giving him one more year of eligibility. Following graduation, the Hamilton High School product transferred to NAU to play football with his younger brother Ca’leve Deboskie. When Bauman left the game, the burden of the running game fell onto Deboskie-Johnson’s more than capable shoulders. He rushed for 82 yards on 15 carries, with a 34-yard run being his longest. With Deboskie-Johnson being bigger than Bauman, this offers a new facet to the Jacks running game, but one Souers will have to evaluate.
“When you have a new player entering your program, you’re not always sure what his capacity is going to be, particularly early on,” Souers said. “Covaughn is a very intelligent player, he’s talented [and] I thought he made some tough runs at times when there wasn’t a whole lot to work with. Because he’s a bigger guy, it’s a little different. He comes at a defense a little differently than Zach Bauman does. I think through the course of the year we’re gonna find that the kind of a one-two punch, a change up, will be good. I liked what I saw when he was running the football.”
The Jacks take on the Rebels of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas next. The Rebels are a less daunting task than the Sun Devils, but they are still a Division I team.
“As we look forward to next week, we got an extra couple days to prepare,” Souers said. “We’ll rehab, we’ll heal up and we’ll see what’s gonna happen and we’ll put together a good plan for UNLV.”