Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Eagles land on South Mountain; Article on New Defensive Coordinator

The Eagles have Landed

If it's mid-July, then it must mean that the Eagles have officially landed on South Mountain.

"Eagles ready to swoop into Bethlehem"
http://www.lehighsports.com/release.asp?RELEASE_ID=2943

"Eagles migrating back to Lehigh"
http://pennlive.com/news/expresstimes/pa/index.ssf?/base/sports-0/1090746318165540.xml

As they have every year since 1995, the Philadelphia Eagles are ready to start their training camp at Murray Goodman for the upcoming season. There are lots of activities for kids and adults alike, and there are many free activites for all, including skills tests, an autograph tent, and the "NFL Experience". Historically it has attracted fans from all over. It runs from July 28th until camp breaks on August 12th.

In addition, fans will be able to see brand-new signings WR Terrell Owens and DE Jevon Kearse in Eagle uniforms getting ready for the new season, as well as the new draftess (um, if they all sign in time).

For information on specific events, activities and practice times, which are subject to change, fans may call 610-758-6868 or 215-463-2500 or visit the Web site http://www.philadelphiaeagles.com/.

That "other Pennsylvania football team" should do a good job breaking in the training equipment for when Lehigh is able to start their practices.

In case you hadn't Herd

You might have missed this profile of incoming Mouthain Hawk defensive coordinator Shannon Morrison:

"Former Marshall Star Climbing Coaching Ladder"
http://www.herald-dispatch.com/2004/July/21/MUspot.htm

Choice quotes:

"He climbed another rung earlier this year, accepting the defensive coordinator position at I-AA power Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa... Morrison again finds himself at an elite I-AA program hoping to win a national title... Similar to the Marshall program he played for, Lehigh’s goals include conference championships and national championship runs... 'There’s a lot of (media) coverage and expectations, kind of like where Marshall was when it was I-AA,' Morrison said. 'They expect to win the conference and go to the playoffs. They went 8-3 last year and everybody’s telling me how bad the season was. They said it was unacceptable.'"

Although I'm not sure Lehigh Football Nation would go as far as to call Marshall's (formerly 1-AA) football program and Lehigh's football program 'similar', Shannon brings up an interesting point about where Lehigh's program stands in 2004. In the past 10 years, Lehigh football has gone from a regional niche of sports reporting (with maybe 2-3 local beat writers) to national TV and press coverage by CSTV, Fox Sports Pittsburgh, leading 1-AA sports sites, college football publications, local newspaper beat writers, and not to mention Lehigh's only unofficial blogger. (PS. Still waiting for those press credentials, guys.)

Lehigh is no longer a little regional football following, buried with the Ivy league scores. It has a large and growing following beyond Bethlehem, Allentown and (dare I say) Easton. Coach Lembo's job isn't just X's, O's, recruiting and Saturday afternoons. He also has press conferences and a whole Lehigh Football Nation hanging on his every word and decision. Now, I've never coached, but I'd be willing to bet this job has changed significantly in the past 10 years in terms of responsibilities and pressure to win.

It's becoming very clear - nationally, Lehigh is coming to be considered a big-time program. Terms like "elite", and "1-AA Power" are being used, which are words that usually are reserved for schools like Delaware, Western Kentucky, Georgia Southern, or Montana. And with a big-time program comes big-time pressure to win from loyal fans and paid media.

39 days until Stony Brook
Opening day is 39 days away. I can't wait. And Lehigh can't look past Stony Brook. This is a mid-major that has some good talent.
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