Monday, April 14, 2014

Spring Season: Offensive Line and Tight Ends

It's not exactly a secret that the foundation of Lehigh's offense in the Andy Coen era is an exceptional pass blocking unit.

With graduates from this unit like OL Keith Schauder, OL A.J. Hood, OL Troy McKenna, C Matt Lippincott and OL Will Rackley, who earns his paycheck on the offensive line of the NFL's Jacksonville Jaguars, it's clear that offensive line is always a priority for Coen and offensive line coach Brett Sawyer.

This year sees Lippincott and Hood graduate, but also sees a lot of excitement with a lot of returning starting talent - including a bookend tackle in senior OL Ned Daryoush.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Spring Season: Defensive Line and Linebackers

With the secondary out of the way, it's time to focus on Lehigh's spring roster battles as they relate to the rest of the defense, the linebacking unit and starting defensive line.

On the coaching front, rabid Lehigh football fans will recognize the two position coaches at both linebackers and defensive line.

Both coached alongside of current head coach Andy Coen during two of the Brown and White's best-ever defensive seasons in 1998 and 1999.

Joe Bottiglieri was the defensive coordinator for the legendary 1998 team, which went 11-0 in regular season play and shocked the world by knocking of Atlantic 10 champions Richmond in the first-ever playoff victory for the Mountain Hawks since Lehigh joined the Patriot League.  Along with current defensive line coach Donnie Roberts, Lehigh's defense held the eventual I-AA champions, UMass, to 26 points and putting Lehigh in a position to win with a minute left in the quarterfinals.

This season, Coach Bott and Coach Roberts will try to recreate that same magic with this year's team.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Past and Present Lehigh Football Players Go Prematurely Bald

You'd think with a headline like "Past and Present Lehigh Football Players Go Prematurely Bald" that the next sentence I'd be writing would be an ad for "Hair Club For Men".

Instead, though, I'm going to be writing about how a bunch of Lehigh football players going prematurely bald is a great, inspirational thing.

This past Sunday, "Team Jack" went to nearby Phillipsburg, New Jersey, to get their heads shaved in solidarity with their favorite teammate and biggest fan, ten year old Jack Knudson, and also raise more than $2,000 for the St. Baldrick's foundation for pediatric cancer research.

(You can still donate to "Team Jack" by clicking on this link and clicking the "Donate" button.)

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Spring Season: The Secondary

In my first edition about Lehigh's spring  football season, I take a look at one of the parts of the team that I'll be watching closely when the Brown vs. White game gets played on April 19th: the secondary.

While one might naturally start one's focus on Lehigh's spring season on the offense, and the reps that rising sophomore QB Nick Shafnisky will be taking, I'd argue that it's equally as important to focus on the battles happening in the Mountain Hawk secondary.

For the first time in a long time, it's not a foregone conclusion as to whom will be starting come September.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Spring Season Begins As Lehigh Sees Benefits In Off-Season Weight Training Program

This week, Lehigh's football program officially kicked off their spring season, starting the series of practices that will start the process of bringing this team together for the fall football season.

But that's not to say that the football team has been sitting back and drinking Yuenglings and sitting on the couch since November.

Through Lehigh's strength and conditioning program, run by Ed Ruisz and Eric Marcovsky, Lehigh's football players have been working in the weight room since November in order to get to peak physical condition for the spring - and fall.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Patsy Ratings - Lehigh's Class of 2018

Most Patriot League fan bases would be quite happy if you told them that a two-year won/loss record would be 18-4 with a couple of wins over perennial Top 25 teams, a sweep of Ivy League opponents, and a victory over your biggest rival.

But head coach Andy Coen, despite all the success, has plenty to wonder in regards to what could have been in the last two years.

One half away from a title in 2012.  One touchdown away from a fifth straight win over that school in Easton.  In a couple of seasons of fantastic comebacks and thrilling victories, its the two times where they couldn't execute the comeback that stick out the most.

The offensive talent Lehigh has graduated too during this time - QB Michael Colvin, QB Brandon Bialkowski, WR Ryan Spadola, WR Lee Kurfis, RB Keith Sherman, OL Matt Lippincott, and FB Zach Hayden are but a few of those names - is substantial.  If Lehigh hopes to transform oh-so-close into Patriot League Championships again, they'll need to add new names to this list above.

Did this year's recruiting class come close to doing so, according to the Patsy Rating system?

Let's find out.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Patsy Ratings - Lafayette's Class of 2018

Lafayette head coach Frank Tavani holds a fairly odd distinction: in the last four seasons, his Leopards have finished the season with a sub-.500 record, yet the Spotted Ones also have - of all things - a Patriot League championship, and a trip to the FCS Playoffs last season to show for it.

Such is life in the seven-team Patriot League: you can struggle like a Leopard in a freezer in September and October, yet thaw out in time for league play and make a run to win the Championship.

In fact it was one of the players represented in last year's Patsy Ratings, rising sophomore QB Drew Reed, that was a critical piece to their title run.  Perhaps unsurprisingly, he was a two-star rated player by all the major scouting agencies, and was a huge factor in their Patsy Rating.

This season, will the Leopards have another Reed in their class?  Will they have several?  Will they have more than several?  Will they have enough to have one of the best recruiting classes in the Patsy ratings this season?