GN's Bobby Lippincott growing in dual roles at Southern Connecticut. By John Nestor
NEW HAVEN - Former Gilbert/Northwestern star Bobby Lippincott isn't on the field leading the Yellowjackets anymore but he is finding the lessons learned during his high school days paying off on the college level.
A redshirt freshman on the Southern Connecticut State University football team, Lippincott has seen action as the punter for the Owls and at quarterback this season. He is going to make his second start of the season on Friday night when SCSU hosts Assumption College.
"I'll be ready to go," Lippincott said. "I just found out in meetings I was getting the nod this week. I always prepare like I am the starter and I'll get more reps with the ones and cuaght up on the gameplan."
The Owls are likely looking to Lippincott for a spark. Southern is off to a rough start this season, sitting at 2-5, but Lippincott is enjoying his time in New Haven. The redshirt season allowed him to get acclimated to college life and to the nuances of college football before being called upon to play.
"I am glad I redshirted my first year here," he said. "I learned a lot about the college game. Now I have three more seasons to go after this one and it's going great."
Lippincott was a part of some of the most successful seasons in GN history, going 7-3 his junior season and then 8-2 in the regular season as a senior to earn a state playoff berth.
That memorable senior season included a first round playoff victory over Plainville, 41-6, and a semifinal battle with Hillhouse, where the Yellowjackets trailed only 20-14 at the half before bowing out.
The Hillhouse game was a step up in class for GN and the move to Southern CT and the Northeast-10 Conference has required Lippincott to step up his game even more.
"The biggest adjustment from high school football is definitely the speed of the game," Lippincott said. "The players are so much faster and stronger than in high school."
While getting used to bigger, faster and stronger players, Lippincott has also been challenged on the mental aspects of the game as well. GN ran a pretty balanced offense in Lippincott's time there but he is now being asked to do more before the play is even run.
"There has been a lot to learn reading defenses pre-snap, we didn't do to much of that in high school," Lippincott said. "You have to know everything that is going on before you even run the play. That aspect has changed drmatically and it has been different but I am getting the hang of it more and it helps a lot if you know what you're seeing."
As well as getting ready at quarterback, Lippincott is also in charge of the punting duties for the Owls and is one of the leaders in the Northeast-10 Conference with a 37.1 yard average. He has had eight punts inside the 20 this season with a long of 55 yards. In a game against St. Augustine's earlier in the season, Lippincott averaged 41.4 yards on five punts, three of which were downed inside the Falcons 20 yard line.
It's another way Lippincott can contribute to the team, even when he is not playing quarterback.
"It's been going well," he said. "I've been averaging 37-38 yards and I love punting."
With three seasons of eligibility left, Lippincott has most of his playing days ahead of him and he said his goals include eventually winning the starting quarterback job and winning a conference title. He was able to accomplish a number of goals as a player at GN and brings some of that Yellowjacket mentallity to the field with the Owls.
"At GN we had that attitude that every day you go out and play your hardest, practice or a game and you never know what will happen," Lippincott said. "That's the main thing from high school I have tried to bring with me here."
But from the speed of the game to the size of the players to the commitment it takes to play Division II football it's not high school, but Lippincott appears to be thriving.
"It's different but I'm just working hard and managing my time and things are going well," he said. "I love it here, it's perfect, just what I wanted."