After the past weekend's spring Brown/White game, some of the big questions going into the 2004 season have yet to be answered.
First, let's look at the writeups of the game. The official writeup, the Morning Call writeup, and the Express-times writeups offer only insight into the QB controversy for next year, with little that is actually resolved.
1) Running game. With Eric Rath injured, he didn't suit up for the game - however, we did see a lot who was likely to be the #2 back, sophomore Marques Thompson. Thompson took full advantage of the absence to show what he could do. He is clearly the #2 behind Rath, and will be the starter should Rath not be healthy at the start of the season. (Rath's current injury should be healed by the season opener, I need to mention.)
At FB, it looks like next year's starter is junior Greg Fay from LFN's reckoning. He had a solid day rushing the ball and catching it out of the backfield. Fay looks like a good player and will be one to watch. Backing up will be junior FB Jason Beck.
2) Linebacker. With the DL and defensive backfield set, questions abounded at who was going to replace "General" Tom McGeoy and Mike Taggart at LB. Junior LB Owen Breninger seems to have an interior OLB spot wrapped up, but the other spots still seem to be up for grabs. Senior Jon Guynes, junior Randy Rovesti, senior Anthony Graziani and senior Matt Purdy still seem to be competing for the slots. And don't forget the possible emergence of freshman DE Joel Criss entering the mix possibly as a DE or OLB. Overall the defense seemed motivated and didn't seem to need "rebuilding" this year, it must be said, but it seems to LFN that the final call for the linebackers won't be happening until September.
3) Keating or Borda? The answer is... we still don't know. Both QBs illustrated their strengths during the Brown/White game. Keating threw 12-for-15, most of the short precision variety, including a TD in overtime drills to senior TE Adam Bergen. Borda, on the other hand, showcased his strong arm by lobbing a 47-yard TD pass to the speedy WR Gerran Walker. He also rifled a pass to Aaron Argenta for 17 yards, and a 12-yard TD pass to backup TE Jason Burant.
Also, Delaware transfer junior Mike Connor, struggled a bit with 3 INTs. Former scout team QB Mike Probst also took snaps and looked sharp. Neither QB seemed to be the same class yet at Keating or Borda, however. Keep an eye on Mike Connor, though, who with hard work could still make this a three-man race for starting QB.
What does LFN think? What a tough call - and what a nice problem to have. In this day an age you need at least 2 good-quality QBs to survive a full season. Perhaps neither Keating nor Borda want to be the starting QB - for the past 2 years, the Lehigh QB who started the year finished the season hurt! (Matt Shiels in 2002 (Chad Schwenk), and Chad Schwenk (Kyle Keating).) And let's not forget the role the backup QB played in 2001 (Luke Cianello, coming in for the ineffective Brant Hall, rallied Lehigh to victory in the 1-AA playoffs). So, having a great backup QB is vital.
If you put my feet to the fire, I'd have to say.. you have to give the opening-day nod to the senior Keating, who won the last 3 games of the year last year, and most impotantly, beat Lafayette handily. But... having said that... I can't wait to see Borda in the game. He looks like an exciting kid.
Later in the offseason, I'll post my predictions for the two-deep (unless Coach Lembo beats me to the punch). There's an awful lot of offseason to go, so we'll see what happens. It's a long way till September.
The "General" is back!
Maybe you missed this. Buried in the spring prospectus, "General" Tom McGeoy will be prowling the Lehigh sidelines this year as a student/coach! Congratulations to the "General"! I'm sure he will do the Mountain Hawks pround.
(This is living proof that I do indeed read the spring prospectus.)
Senior offensive linemen Justin Terry and Jason Morrell, senior strong safety Karrie Ford, and junior free safety Kaloma Cardwell will be the offensive and defensive team captains next year. Terry and Morrell anchor what should be a big and experienced offensive line, who only lost big OT Oscar Guererro last year. The safety combo also anchors what could be the strength in the team in terms of pass defense. Ford and Cardwell saw time last year in the secondary and made some big interceptions, and I liked what I saw and heard from them (and should-be starter, senior CB Neal Boozer-Gallman).
The team votes on the team captains for the following year. While it is unusual that a junior is voted a team captain (Cardwell), it isn't unprecendented - in 2001, then-junior Matt Salvaterra was voted as a team captain.
Highlight reel from 2003
If you're a Lehigh football nut like myself, you might want to consider buying the official highlight film of 2003. See Lehigh pound Lafayette again, see the "General", "Sprint" and "Rudy" once again represent the Engineers in all their glory!
(Hey, where's the part about the NCAA 1-AA Playoff committee screwing Lehigh out of a playoff spot? They must have left that out.)
Finally, let me issue a correction from postings past.
RB Pierre Bowers (personal reasons) and WR "Bo" Tkatch (transfer) have left the team. (Maybe I should ahave listened to the rumors.) I erroneously added them to my spring preview. Best of luck to them where they go after this.
That's it for now. I'll be posting again soon to see which NFL team ends up taking CB Lawrence Williams.