Friday, April 17, 2015

Five Questions Going Into Lehigh's Brown-White Game In 2015

RB Cody Haupt in last year's Brown/White game (Morning Call)
Lehigh will hold its annual Brown-White spring football game tomorrow at Murray Goodman Stadium, to be broadcast on the Patriot League Network starting at 10:00 AM and featuring the commentary of Matt Kerr and Mike Yadush.

Below the flip are five things to watch in regards to Saturday's scrimmage and drills.

LFN's 2015 Spring Preview - Quarterbacks and Tight Ends

Coach Coen talking to team (Morning Call)
With a depleted spring roster, there were some doubts that Lehigh would be able to have a full-blown spring game.

Late this week, though, it was confirmed that the Brown and White game was still on.

It will take place at 10:00AM at Murray Goodman stadium, and will be streamed on the Patriot League Network with Matt Kerr and Mike Yadush providing commentary.

(It will also feature stream-of-consciousness tweeting from this guy.)

"Andy Coen is scheduling an abbreviated session for Saturday's 10 a.m. intrasquad scrimmage," Keith Groller of The Morning Call reported today, "with just 40 to 45 live plays plus various drills as his team wants to preserve its limited roster entering the final week of the spring session."

Still, the abbreviated scrimmage will allow a look, however brief, of the three quarterbacks that will enter the 2015 season's depth chart.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

LFN's 2015 Spring Preview - Defensive Backs and Special Teams

Senior SS Randall Lawson (Morning Call)
Lehigh's defensive numbers in 2014, as I mentioned before, leave a lot to be desired.

And when you look at the secondary, it's the same story.

Out of 121 FCS teams, Lehigh ranked 110th in pass defense, and if you watched the unit last year, you also saw too many big plays allowed by the defense, too.

The silver lining, though, is that Lehigh only graduates two players in the secondary, DB Jason Suggs and DB Jamil Robinson, so the returning starters all have a years' experience under their belt in defensive coordinator Joe Bottiglieri's defensive system.

This spring has also posed some challenges for the Lehigh staff, as there are a lot of secondary players on the shelf with injuries, making it a challenge for the remaining players.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

LFN's 2015 Spring Preview - Wide Receivers and Running Backs

WR Troy Pelletier in an Oct 2014 practice (Brown and White)
Penn State is frequently called "Linebacker U", thanks to all the famous linebackers that played for them.

If Penn State is "Linebacker U", you could make a very good case for Lehigh being "Wide Receiver U."

Guys like WR Dave Cecchini, WR Rennie Benn, WR Josh Snyder, WR Jake Drwal, WR Ryan Spadola, and WR Lee Kurfis are just six of the many great names that have suited up for the Brown and White, and it's no wonder that Lehigh Nation would naturally look to this position group for a lot of potential in 2015.

With Lehigh returning a Jerry Rice Award finalist at this position, too, it's certainly going to be something to watch at the end of the Spring, too.

Monday, April 13, 2015

LFN's 2015 Spring Preview - Linebackers

LB Colton Caslow (NJ.com)
Three of four starters return in Lehigh's linebacking corps in 2015, which is why Lehigh Nation sees this area as one of Mountain Hawk strength in 2015.

Only one senior on the two deep, team captain LB Isaiah Campbell, graduates, meaning the the potential seems high.

With five guys on this unit next season in the top ten in tackles, hopes are high that head coach Andy Coen and defensive coordinator Joe Bottiglieri can craft this group into a more dominating unit this upcoming season.

This spring, many are looking to see how many linebackers take a step forward.

Friday, April 10, 2015

LFN's 2015 Spring Preview - Offensive Line

Senior OL Matt Ford
We live in a world where we can judge the work of an offensive line by the overall output of the offense.

Gone are the days when you can look at a starters' height and weight and judge whether they will be a great Patriot League player, or not.  And at Lehigh, especially, the bar is particularly high for offensive linemen, with OL Will Rackley making the NFL, and players like OL Ned Daryoush, OL Keith Schauder and countless other all-Patriot League offensive linemen to provide the protection and push to keep drives alive and allow the skill players to make things happen.

Yet last year's statistics, overall show again that, as a unit, this team too needs to improve.

Chip Kelly's Oregon teams averaged 82 offensive plays per game, which allowed the Ducks to become a perennial Pac-12 powerhouse while he was there.  By this admittedly high standard, Lehigh's 70 offensive plays a game falls short.

Some statistics that show signs that Lehigh's offensive line did a good job in 2014 - like 4th down conversions (24th in the nation) and rushing offense (58th).  But one thing's for certain - this unit, with four returning starters, will need to make one more leap to the next level if Lehigh is to compete for Patriot League championships once again.

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

LFN's 2015 Spring Preview - Defensive Line

Lehigh NG Tyler Cavenas
The 2014 numbers don't get any better when you look at them five months later.

Team Sacks: 104th.

Team Tackles for Loss: 118th.

Rushing Defense: 100th.

In order to have any chance of improving those poor numbers from 2014, one of the biggest areas for improvement will have to be in Lehigh's defensive front seven, a fact that head coach Andy Coen is all too aware of.

"When we put pressure on the quarterback it was because we were blitzing," he said in Lehigh's spring preview.  "We need to be able to get a rush to the quarterback and create more of a mechanism to get after that guy. We have to get back to being more aggressive in that respect."

It stands to reason that Lehigh's defensive line will be the start of that aggressive defense.  And fortunately, the Mountain Hawks have some young talent that started to emerge last year that could be poised to firm up this part of the defense in 2015.