At every level of football, all the way up to the NFL, it’s a lineman’s dream. One day, the coach comes to you and says you’re going to be a running back. For the most part it’s just a pipe dream, though, save for an occasional cameo on the goal line.
But Pilgrim’s Alex Leddy is living that dream.
The senior captain has been a lineman his whole life, going back to youth football. But with a hole at the fullback position this year, Pilgrim started toying with the idea of moving Leddy into the backfield.
Two games into the experiment, it looks like Leddy has found a home. In Saturday’s league-opener, Leddy rushed for 114 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Pats over defending Division II champion Woonsocket.
“I found out about the idea at the beginning of the season, but I didn’t think it was really going to happen,” Leddy said. “Then I played fullback in some scrimmages and did pretty well so that was it. I was excited. At first it was tough, but I feel like I picked it up pretty quick.”
And that could be a very good thing for the Pats.
Alex and twin brother Andrew have been key players for Pilgrim since their sophomore seasons, shining whether they were playing linebacker, defensive line, offensive line or tight end.
Andrew is still anchoring the Pilgrim defense and playing on the offensive live.
Alex is giving the Pats a spark.
“With our offense, the fullback takes a pounding,” said head coach Tom O’Connor. “He should be getting hit every time and if he’s not, he’s not doing his job. He definitely fills a need for us at fullback.”
The lineman-to-fullback transition isn’t a first-time thing for the Pats. Last year, Jon Stevens moved from the line and became the go-to guy in the offense. He culminated his senior season with a dominant performance against Vets on Thanksgiving.
With Stevens gone, Leddy is picking up the slack.
“We did it last year with Jon Stevens and it speaks for itself with what he did,” O’Connor said. “Alex has moved around wherever we’ve needed him because his football knowledge is right up there with the best of them.”
O’Connor said Andrew Leddy could have made the switch just as easily. But Alex thinks he knows why he got the call.
“I’m faster than him,” he said with a smile.
Joking aside, the twins seem fine with the arrangement. Andrew may not be carrying the ball, but he’s just as crucial to Pilgrim’s plans.
“He hasn’t said anything yet,” Alex said. “He’s a really valuable player and he’s huge on defense. I don’t think he minds too much.”
Andrew has picked up more responsibility on defense to give Alex some rest. Alex will still play some defense, but he’ll focus on being Pilgrim’s workhorse.
“In the second half, he took over that Woonsocket game,” O’Connor said. “He had 85 of his 114 yards just in the second half. He was breaking 30 and 40 yard runs.”
That’s an impressive performance for a first-time fullback, but O’Connor wasn’t surprised.
“That Classical game, he was nursing a little bit of an injury so he didn’t really show what he could do,” O’Connor said. “But we’ve seen him in practice – there’s no one he can’t take on one-on-one. Woonsocket had to gang tackle him. I wasn’t surprised.”
Leddy’s performance against the Novans helped pave the way for the biggest win Pilgrim has had in several years. The Pats hope it’s the start of something big.
“That’s the kind of win this team has always needed,” Leddy said. “Starting off like that – it creates a lot of excitement and we’re going to do whatever we have to do to keep it going. It promises good things.”
For Leddy and his senior teammates, success has been hard to come by. The Pats went winless in league play last year after going 2-5 in the two years prior.
But the Pats think they’re ready to start moving in the right direction.
Their lineman-turned-fullback will try to lead the charge.
“We want to get to the playoffs and once you’re in, anything can happen,” Leddy said. “I’ve already looked at the schedule and there are a lot of games that I think we have a good shot of winning. We’re just going to keep working hard. The program’s going to take the next step this year.”