Saturday, September 04, 2004

Lehigh 25, Stony Brook 2

Well, this is not the result that I expected at all. But, I'll take the win.

Some thoughts on the game. First, the positives. The defense, despite giving up 289 passing yards, otherwise showed off some of their championship-caliber team. 5 interceptions by the defense, having Stony Brook QB T.J. Moriarity running for his life most of the game, and holding the Seawolves to an eye-popping (are you ready for this?) -30 yards rushing. A 30, with a MINUS in front of it. Outstanding.

Special teams, with a blocked PAT and blocked punt, were also outstanding on the coverage units. Think Neal Boozer-Gallman will be getting a game ball this week, with a blocked punt and a 98-yd interception return? Oh yes he is.

Eric Rath also did very well in his Lehigh debut, with 134 yards rushing.

Now, the areas which "need improvement". Mark Borda, to put it charitably, struggled running the offense. To be fair, he did have his moments with rushing the ball, and a couple of completions on the TD drive, ending in a TD pass to TE Adam Bergen. But take out those two completions and you have a 11 for 28 day for 128 yards and 2 interceptions. Not the coming-out party that Lehigh Football Nation wanted.

But Borda was not the only problem. WR Gerran Walker had a lot of dropped passes. The offensive trench men didn't do their job protecting the QB. And the freshman kicker McNeils missed three opportunities to put points on the board that kept the Seawolves in the game much, much, much longer that they should have been.

Basically, this was a game we should have won handily. But turnovers, sloppy offensive play, and missed FG made what should have been a laugher instead into a inadvertently exciting game.

Game balls on Monday.

Lehigh 1-0

Lehigh 11, Stony Brook 0, end of 3rd quarter

Who would've bet on this score on Friday after the 3rd quarter?

Borda seems to have settled down a little bit.

The baby is crying so that will have to be it for now!

Go Lehigh

Lehigh 3, Stony Brook 0, halftime

What a unbelievable disappointment this half has been so far.

Borda is struggling against a team which he should be handling. He threw a key interception in the end zone in the first quarter, and he has been extremely inconsistent since, to be charitable.

The offense has had 3 trips to the red zone, but only 3 points to show for it.

Two missed field goals by the freshman kicker.

What do you do next half? Put in QB Keating and K Musilek? I'd love to be a fly on the wall of this halftime speech. It will probably be a doozy

Hopefully the Mountain Hawks will be able to put this nightmarish half behind them and get on with the rest of their season, starting next half.

9/4/2004 Prediction of Other Games

Other games to watch today in the Patriot:

Rhode Island at Fordham. Last year Fordham beat up on Rhode Island 63-28. This year, playing at home, I see more of a defensive battle, but with Fordham still on top when all is said and done. Fordham 17, RI 13.

Duquesne at Holy Cross. HC will be gunning for a win here, but Duquesne is not an easy mid-major to beat. I see a nip-and-tuck game, but Duquesne pulls it out in the end. Duquesne 27, HC 24.

Marist at Lafayette. Marist got pounded by Lafayette last year, and I don't see this game being much different. LC 45, Marist 7.

St. Francis at Georgetown. With Siena gone, St. Francis now has the "honor" of being the worst team in division 1-AA. The Hoyas will roll. G'Town 56, St. Francis 0

Other games in the Top 25:

Maine at Montana. Has Montana lost their edge? I think so. I see this as a very very dangerous game for the Grizzlies, even though they're playing at home. I see the Black Bears pulling this one out in a thriller. Maine 31, Montana 28.

N'Western St. at Louisiana-Lafayette (1-A). La-LF could be one of the worst teams in 1-A, and they will prove it today. NW St. 28, La-LF 17.

Northern Arizona at Arizona (1-A). Could this be a game? Arizona has struggled the past few years since being a national power. Nothern Arizona is an up-and-comer with wunderkind QB Jason Murietta. I think they give the Wildcats a scare before losing it late. Arizona 39, Nothern Arizona 21.

McNeese St. at Southern. McNeese St. should handle a rebuilding Southern team this year. McNeese is a team to watch in my view, and they will make a statement. McNeese St. 30, Southern 7.

Georgia Southern at Georgia (1-A). Some people think this game will be close. A powerhouse SEC school versus the fourth-placed team in the SoCon last year. Think again, folks. Georgia 63, Georgia Southern 7.

Northern Iowa at Iowa St. (1-A). A tough one to call. A very good Gateway contender versus a struggling 1-A school. Although close, I see the Cyclones taking this by less than 10. Iowa St. 28, Nothern Iowa 21.

Friday, September 03, 2004

2004 1-AA Preview; Press Reports, Lehigh vs. Stony Brook

Press reports from Lehigh/Stony Brook
Before I get into the good stuff... my Top 25... and my Patriot League Preview, let me do my press roundup for this weekend's game. Not surprisingly, most of the coverage involves the introduction of the starting QB for the Stony Brook game tomorrow.

Express-Times:
Borda named #1 QB for season opener
New-look Lehigh will seek some old success

Morning Call:
Borda wins QB competition - at least for opener

Choice quotes:
"At Wednesday's media luncheon, Borda was introduced as the starting quarterback, ending speculation that began about the same time Lehigh's uniforms were packed away last November...The competition for the position drew attention throughout the spring, summer and preseason camp."

[Addendum - you heard the speculation here first!]

"Former Bethlehem Catholic star Mark Borda won a training camp quarterback battle with incumbent Kyle Keating, and will make his first college start under center today.

"My personal goals are team goals," Borda said. "We want to win every game and win the Patriot League championship. I feel very, very confident when I'm playing."


''I'm excited about being given this opportunity,'' Borda said. ''But I understand that it's just for this week. It's not permanent. I have to go out and perform and earn this job every week.''

"It feels good to be entrusted with the responsibility of getting the team down the field and executing."

"My only plan is to win the game... No matter how I play, I have to perform. I feel pressure because of the tradition of the football team. I welcome the pressure.

"Coach Pete Lembo said it was Borda's strong arm and ability to stretch the field with Lehigh's corps of fleet receivers that gave him a slight edge over Keating, who has a 7-1 record as the team's starter over the past two seasons, and Connor, a highly-touted transfer from the University of Delaware."

"Lembo said that the news about who would start at quarterback was not a ''big deal within the team'' and didn't require a special meeting. He also emphasized that the competition continues at QB as well as virtually every other position....''We believe in healthy competition at all positions and quarterback is no different than any other position,'' he said. ''Even guys like Adam Bergen and Justin Terry know they can't just show up and expect to play. At many of the positions, there's a very subtle difference between the No. 1s and No. 2s and the twos and threes. So you have to continue to perform.''

Lembo said Borda has made ''great improvement'' since spring drills began and has worked well with offensive coordinator, Chris Rorke, who is beginning his second season in that role.

Still, the decision wasn't made until last weekend when it became essential for someone to take most of the reps with the first unit on offense.''Hours and hours of evaluation went into this decision and all others,'' Lembo said. ''As a staff, we don't spend all of those hours in the office watching ESPN. We have to look at the big picture and what's best for our football team and who gives us the best chance to win.''

[Note to Coach: Isn't that my job, watching ESPN?]

The view from the Nest
Lembo made the choice to go with Mark Borda as the starting QB tomorrow. It isn't the choice I would have made but I respect Lembo's decision. In my admittedly uninformed view, I would have a really hard time taking the reins away from the guy who led us to a 30-10 victory over Lafayette to end the year last year. But overall, Lehigh Nation seems divided on the issue.

Having said that, I am excited to see what Borda has to offer tomorrow, as well as the other new starters for tomorrow's game (such as DT Josh Cooney). Seeing in a few games last year has shown the potential the young man brings to the table in terms of arm strength and mobility. We'll see tomorrow how he does.

In 2001, Lehigh had 2 senior QBs in Brant Hall and Luke Cianello. Hall was a gifted, big-armed passer with lots of mobility; Cianello was a pocket passer but extremely accurate. Hall was the starter all year that year, with Luke backing him up whenever Hall got hurt or struggled. That team went 11-0 and earned the Mountain Hawks' first home game.

Could it be that Lembo is planning something similar this year, with a different big-armed QB with a talented, accurate backup?

PATRIOT LEAGUE PREVIEW
OK, here it is. My Patriot League predictions!

Contending for the title:

Colgate
Key pieces to offense: Senior QB Chris Brown; senior RB Jamaal Branch; senior WR Luke Graham

Key pieces to defense: Senior DT Adam Leeman; senior LB Antrell Tyson; senior CB Chris Williams

Biggest strength: Chris Brown doesn't have a fancy website like teammate Jamaal Branch, but he to me is the real hidden strength of the team, with mobility and accuracy passing.

Biggest weakness: If there is one, it's that the Raiders have lost some major defensive cogs to graduation.

One sentence: A lot of teams will be looking to knock off Colgate, but on first glance they look like they have the guns for another title and Patriot League run.

Lehigh
Key pieces to offense: Junior QB Mark Borda; sophomore RB Eric Rath; senior TE Adam Bergen

Key pieces to defense: Junior DT Royce Morgan; senior ILB Owen Breninger; senior FS Kaloma Cardwell

Biggest strength: Trench warfare. Both lines are big, skilled, and talented, and may be the best in the Patriot League. TE Adam Bergen is a TE that can do it all, and he gives defenses fits.

Biggest weakness: Borda, Rath and all the Lehigh wideouts need to show that they can get it done, given they don't have a lot of experience.

One sentence: When you win the battle of the trenches, you generally win the game - but is it enough to dethrone Colgate?

In the running:

Fordham

Key pieces to offense: Sophomore QB Derric Daniels; sophomore RB Jamaal Hunte; senior WR Steve Porco

Key pieces to defense: Senior DT Ed Gordon; senior OLB NaQuinton Gainous; senior CB Tad Kornegay

Biggest Strength: A great defense anchored by the tough LB Gainous and Buchanan candidate Kornegay.

Biggest Weakness: Serious lack of experience in the QB and RB positions; remains to be seen if a deep threat can emerge for Daniels.

One sentence: A championship-caliber defense, with an inexperienced offense, could still win a title with a little luck and rapid development of the offense.

Bucknell

Key pieces to offense: Senior QB Darius Wilson; junior RB Blamah Sarnor; senior RB Frank Lazio

Key pieces to defense: Senior DT Corey Mayo; sophomore ILB Dorian Petersen; senior FS Virgil Rush

Biggest Strength: A triple-option attack that drives defensive coordinators nuts. Wilson and Sarnor are top-flight offensive players.

Biggest Weakness: A defense that gave up points in bunches at times last year. Despite few losses to graduation this time around, you have to question if they can vastly improve this year in order to be a title contender.

One sentence: The surprise team of 2003, they have the talent to make another run, if their defense doesn't fold down the stretch.

Not quite there yet:

Lafayette

Key pieces to offense: Sophomore QB Brad Maurer; senior RB Joe McCourt; junior WR Archie Fisher

Key pieces to defense: Junior DT Chris Brungo; senior LB Wes Erbe; junior CB Tye Murphy

Biggest Strength: Joe McCourt. This tailback is a tough kid that keeps getting hit and keeps getting back up every play.

Biggest Weakness: Youth and inexperience in QB, WR, defensive line, and defensive backfield. Not to mention question marks in special teams.

One sentence: So many very good puzzle pieces, but it just doesn't look like they fit together for a title run.

Georgetown

Key pieces to offense: Senior QB Andrew Crawford; junior RB Marcus Slayton; senior WR Janiero Wooten

Key pieces to defense: Junior DL Michael Ononibaku; junior LB Mehdi Hassan; senior DB Jason Carter

Biggest Strength: RB Marcus Slayton is a solid ground-gainer, and he anchors a competent offense.

Biggest Weakness: Depth at all positions still needs to be addressed in order to get up to the next "weight class" of the Patriot.

One sentence: A scrappy, tough team that consistently punches above their weight, but probably don't have the horses to make a run for the title.

Rebuilding:

Holy Cross

Key pieces to offense: Junior QB John O'Neill; senior RB Steve Silva; senior WR Sean Gruber

Key pieces to defense: Senior DE David Mitchell; senior LB David Fitzpatrick; senior SS Nick Kenekedes.

Biggest Strength: Experience at the key skill positions, and a QB which already has been battle-tested.

Biggest Weakness: Overcoming the legacy of losing records over the past 5 years, and the sad legacy of the health of their head coaches.

One sentence: They won't contend for a title, since Rome can't be built in a day, but they have enough skill to give some of the top teams a scare if they're taken lightly.

LFN's (almost) PRESEASON TOP 25

1 - Colgate. Yes, you heard right. The national runners-up, with all the same offensive pieces - they're the team to beat.

2 - Wofford. Yes, you heard right. Last year's SoCon champs have most of the same pieces as well still there, and they will also make a statement to those who are counting them in third place before a SoCon pass has been thrown.

3 - Villanova. The A-10 team that seems to have the best balance on both sides of the ball, they are looking like the big dogs now, especially since the Hens lost to UNH.

4 - Southern Illinois. "Thunder and Lightning" are gone, but the Salukis seem to be on the stage for real this time.

5 - Northern Arizona. Inconsistent last year, QB Jason Murietta is out to prove he's the best 1-AA QB this year, and I think he'll be proven right.

6 - McNeese St. Always with a stingy defense, last year's embarassing 1st round playoff exit should show a focused Cowboy team vying for the championship.

7 - Montana. Tough at home, they're going to have to prove that they can win consistently outside of Grizzly Stadium. Are the cracks showing?

8 - Delaware. OK, these rankings were made after this Thursday's loss. But still, replacing all those skill players, and then just "reloading" with transfers? It don't work that way, folks. They will have their work cut out.

9 - Georgia Southern. RB Jermaine Austin will be looking to restore Eagle glory, and he may just do that.

10 - Northern Iowa. Right on the Saluki's heels, their tough defense should keep them in the playoff hunt all year.

11 - Lehigh
12 - Maine
13 - Penn
14 - Furman
15 - Western Kentucky
16 - Northwestern St.
17 - North Dakota St.
18 - Montana St.
19 - UMass
20 - Appalachian St.
21 - Northern Colorado
22 - Eastern Kentucky
23 - NC A&T
24 - Weber St.
25 - Stephen F. Austin

See you tomorrow
Tune in here for live game commentary of Lehigh/Stony Brook, exclusively on this blog! The season is now upon us!

Thursday, September 02, 2004

'Nova squeaks by Bison; Delaware shocked

1-AA Update
The Bison gave a huge scare to Villanova on the road this evening. Down 20-14 with about 2 minutes to play, the Bison were within the 20 yard line of the Wildcats when QB Darius Wilson committed the only fateful turnover (an interception) of the game for the Bison.

The Bison's opportunistic defense nabbed 2 turnovers and the Bison offense turned them into TDs, cutting a 20-0 deficit to a 20-14 nailbiter. The first half was all Villanova, however, with the Bison offense only getting 1 first down. The Wildcats were brutally effective in shutting down the Bison defense overall, holding them to under 200 yards of total offense.

Here's what I learned from this game. The Bison's defense is of the 'bend-but-don't-break' variety, with a bit of an opportunistic streak that creates turnovers. When we host the Bison later in the year, this will be something to watch.

The second thing I learned: man, that 'Nova defense is tough against the run. Holding the solid Bison rushing attack to a little over 100 yards is not easy. That's what Lehigh is up against in 9 days.

And how could I forget...
Lifted directly from www.collegesports.com:

"1-AA: Hens Hunting

The defending champs are salivating as they head into Thursday night's season opener against UNH. Delaware coach K.C. Keeler knows his men will have huge targets on their backs as they strive to repeat, but how hard will this task be for the top-ranked Blue Hens without offensive player of the year Andy Hall?"

BWAH HAH HAH HAH HAH! How about, nigh-impossible?

And this from the 1-AA way:
Keeler, Delaware Preparing for Another Championship Run (1-AA.org)

... What about preparing for New Hampshire first?

The University of New Hampshire Wildcats, playing what could be their last league game against mighty consensus #1 Delaware, will be returning to New Hampshire with the bright blue scalp of the Delaware Blue Hens.

The Wildcats, ranked #44 in the 1-AA.org GPI rankings, went into Delaware and beat them 24-21. New Hampshire was 1-7 in their previous 8 tries against the Hens.

Highly-regarded BCS transfer QB Sonny Riccio? 1 TD pass after an ineffective first half, and then left the game with leg cramps. Highly-regarded Notre Dame transfer SS Garron Bible? Gave up the winning TD to Wildcat wideout David Ball, ending with 5 receptions, 188 yards and the game-winning TD. The pass was made by UNH's backup QB, since UNH's starter went down with an injury as well!

What a great way to start out the year.

The only downside? Now I won't look as smart tomorrow with picking a different #1 in my 1-AA preview. Yes, I didn't pick Delaware as my #1. You'll have to see my picks tomorrow!

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Lehigh/Stony Brook Preview

Every day is like Saturday
I've decided to write up my previews on Wednesdays this year. The decision was made largely because there's plenty of preview pieces on Friday and Saturday in the internet-sphere, and since I can, why not be first?

But first...
In Lehigh's game notes, they release their two-deep for this weekend, and there are surprises, primarily among them the fact that Mark Borda has been tabbed as the starter. So, finally, Lehigh fans will be able to see what this rocket-armed QB is able to do. Lehigh Football Nation will eagerly be looking to see how he does.

The other bombshell is that sack leader Royce Morgan is the *backup* to junior Josh Cooney. Huh? Is Morgan 100%? Or did Cooney has such a great camp? Again, this week Cooney's performance will be something to watch.

And also...
Thursday evening, Villanova plays Bucknell in an early tilt with 2 future Lehigh opponents. You might want to do a little scoreboard-watching on that to see what Lehigh has in store.

My prediction on the game? I think it's going to be an offensive show, but Villanova always plays extremely well in September, and I think it will be too much for Bucknell on the road.

Villanova 52, Bucknell 35

Game Notes
The game notes from Lehigh and Stony Brook have been released by both schools:
Lehigh Game Notes
Stony Brook Game Notes

In addition the following press releases/pieces came out:
Seeking Upward Mobility (New York Newsday)
Mountain Hawks Kick off Season against Stony Brook (Lehighsports.com)

Interestingly, nowhere in either game notes is it mentioned that the mascots of both teams (Seawolves and Mountain Hawks) are fictional animals. It could very well be the first time in NCAA history that two fictional animal mascots do battle on the gridiron.

(To be fair, Seawolves could refer to the Seawolf Submarine, and the Mountain Hawks could refer to the hawks who live in the sanctuary situated close to South Mountain.)

About Stony Brook
SUNY-Stony Brook has been a Division 1-AA school since 1999, when the Northeast conference (NEC) made the jump to 1-AA from Division II. Their football program has been in place for 21 years, and have only had one head coach, Sam Kornhauser.

Stony Brook is looking to upgrade its football program. Currently in the need-based scholarship NEC, they have recently had a brand-new football stadium built, and with scheduling Lehigh and Hofstra this year, it looks like the Seawolves want to see how far they need to go to be able to compete with some of the better teams in 1-AA. Their game against Lehigh is their first-ever against a nationally-ranked 1-AA opponent.

In the Newsday piece, it is implied that schools like Stony Brook are rapidly becoming extinct - namely, need-based 1-AA programs that don't offer scholarships. (Siena, the opponent originally scheduled to play this weekend, dropped football last year.) Stony Brook not only wants to test their seniors against some of the elite teams of 1-AA, they may be looking to upgrade in the future to scholarship 1-AA football. The fact that they are redshirting some freshmen points to the fact that Stony Brook may want to upgrade sooner rather than later.

Where might they go? If the CAA raids the A-10, they could find a home in a brand-new A-10 "lite". Or they might push the NEC to start offering scholarship football.

Competition
Stony Brook last year played at Georgetown. The Hoyas handled the Seawolves easily, coasting to a 49-21 victory in a game that was 36-13 at half. Although the Seawolves are now a year older and a year wiser, seeing this score has got to make even the most cynical Lehigh fan see that Stony Brook doesn't seem to have the same talent level as a mid-echelon team in our league.

Offense
The Seawolves have one thing going for them - consistency. They have much of their team back from last year, with very few graduating seniors. So the main cogs of the offense and defense have worked together and know what to expect from each other. Compared to Lehigh's largely new-look team, this might be a minor concern.

The Seawolves don't have a TE set. They play a 4 wideout run-and-shoot type of offense. This could mean a long day for the Seawolves offensive line if they're as overmatched as I think they are.

On offense, Stony Brook boasts a competent senior QB and RB. QB T.J. Moriarity is an accurate passer who knows how to rack up passing yardage, though he had 3 interceptions in the Georgetown game last year. He also is a rushing threat with 300 yards and 6 TDs last year.

RB Clinton Graham is a competent runner in the NEC, racking up 12 TDs and 6 100 yd+ rushing games last year (though, tellingly, only 74 yards against Georgetown).

Moriarity's favorite targets are wideouts Londre Blocker (7 TDs, 2 100-yd receiving games), Josh Anderson (1 TD), and Khalfani Alleyne. Blocker seems like the most talented of the three wideouts, so he would be a concern.

The 'O' line should not be as skilled as other Patriot League competition. Against Georgetown last year the Seawolves seemed to have blocking problems against a "D" Line that was not among the best in the Patriot League.

Defense
The Stony Brook "D" Line boasts 4 returning starters, including all-NEC DE David Bamiro. Bamiro last year had 13 tackles for loss (though, again, tellingly against the Hoyas, he was largely kept in check with 2 tackles.) NG Bryan Karp is also a good player (with 14 tackles for loss).

At LB, ILB Eddie Cobinah (100 tackles) and OLB Mike Mounter (50 tackles, 7 for loss) are featured. Mounter is a decent pass-rusher and Cobinah is a decent presence up the middle. They performed fairly well in the Georgetown game.

DB Chad King returns this year after being on the disabled list most of last year. He seems to be an exciting player (with a couple long interception returns for TDs in his career), and should be someone that Borda needs to be aware of at all times.

Special Teams
King returns kicks, and returned a two kickoffs and a punt for TDs in his college career. The Seawolves have a true freshman kicker in Sean Forman. It remains to be seen how well he will do.

Keys to the game
1.Show up. That doesn't mean just show up, and win. It means show up, and show the coaches what you can do as a team.
2.Borda leading the offense. Borda is finally getting his chance at leading the offense. A great game against Stony Brook might just make you the starter against Villanova, if you show Lehigh Football Nation that you've got what it takes to lead the offense.
3.QB pressure. With 5 linemen and no TE sets, the "D" needs to put consistent pressure on Moriarity. If given time to throw, he and Graham are talented enough to put points on the board.

Fearless Prediction
I think Lehigh, playing at home, and playing an overmatched team, rolls. What Lehigh fans will be looking for is dominance on both sides of the ball with the brand-new offense and defense.

Lehigh 63, Stony Brook 13

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

The Rumor Mill; My take on the two-deep

Look at all these rumors
Boy, I go away on vacation for a few days, and a veritable torrent of Lehigh press and rumor hits the internet.

First the press:
Goodman Stadium hosts second pre-season scrimmage (Lehighsports.com)
Chairback seats remain for season opener (Lehighsports.com)
Bergen earns third pre-season All-American honor (Lehighsports.com)
Bergen named to Walter Payton Award watch list (Lehighsports.com)
Lehigh has ground to make up (Express-Times)
Hawks take lunch-pail approach (Express-Times)

As usual, LehighFootballNation has this in a nice digestible format for you:

"When the team clearly picks captains who are at cerebral positions, where their names are not in the paper every day, that speaks volumes about what the rest of the players value," head coach Pete Lembo said....It shows the Mountain Hawks are willing to choose substance above style, selfless comraderie ahead of self-centered desire and a team concept over All-America quests... Basically, it says Lehigh is ready to get down and dirty in its quest to reclaim a Patriot League title.... "Four outstanding captains," Lembo said. "These are all players who have played for us many years in the past. It's neat to see these types of players get that kind of recognition from their teammates. They've embraced all the values we believe in as a program... The team goals come before individual goals."

This quote indeed says a lot about what the 2004 Lehigh team will look like. It will feature a hard-hitting defense, and a big, experienced offensive line that should beat up the opposition. And it will not be based around any one player or talent - the emphasis will be on: team, team, team. Lehigh Football Nation is realy liking what he's hearing in this department.

It is clear to this partial observer that Lembo seems very pleased with his troops this year. Even in the press reports you can hear a skip in Lembo's step.

Can Bergen live up to the hype?
With the dizzying array of pre-season awards and nominations, something bearing watching in the beginning of the year will be how TE Adam Bergen lives up to the hype of being a pre-season All-American, Payton nominee, pre-season first team All Patriot League. There's nothing I've ever seen in "All-American" Bergen that leads me to believe that he isn't up to the challenge. But I'll be watching him carefully over the course of the season.

The big rumor
Of course, with the season only 5 days away, Lehigh fans are abuzz over the home opener; what the team will look like; and how the team will perform against the likes of Stony Brook, Villanova and Liberty. But the big question mark remains from the entire offseason: which QB will be the opening-day starter? Keating or Borda?

On the bulletin boards, the hot rumor is that Borda was selected as the starter against Stony Brook, based on his performance during last weekend's hot and humid practice. Further reinforcing this story was the following mention in one of the Lehigh press releases (emphasis added):

In addition to Bergen, five other Mountain Hawks were named to the I-AA.org Preseason All-Patriot League teams. Senior center Justin Terry, junior defensive tackle Royce Morgan, and senior PUNTER Kyle Keating were all named to the first team.

No mention of QUARTERBACK Kyle Keating... only PUNTER Kyle Keating. Could it be the decision has been made to go with Mark Borda as the starter for Saturday?

Despite these hot and humid rumors, it is Lehigh Football Nation's opinion that Keating will be named the starter for Saturday's game. He is the senior, and in my opinion earned the starting role for 2004.

My take on the two-deep
As promised, here's my take on the two-deep entering the 2004 season, scooping Lehigh and Coach Lembo by maybe a day.

My offense features Kyle Keating as the starting QB, with Mark Borda as the backup. I just can't see taking the reins away from Kyle when he did nothing to lose it late last year. At running back, unsurprisingly, I have sophomore RB Eric Rath first on the depth chart, followed by sophomore Marques Thompson. (Keep an eye out for freshman RB Richard Forman too, just missing the depth chart as well). Other unsurprising picks include "All-American" Bergen at TE, and team captains C Justin Terry and OG Jason Morrell as starters.

WRs were a difficult choice. Junior Gerran Walker was not a surprise, but I found myself mixing 2-6 quite a bit. Senior Aaron Argenta cannot be ignored, but it seems like he may not be a starter. Juniors Winfried Porter and Greg Petrosky have some very good talent, and I see them having edged out the 2 seniors for starting spots.

Some freshmen that made my two deep include OG Jimmy Kehs and WR Lee Thomas.

Quarterback: Kyle Keating; Mark Borda
Running Back: Eric Rath; Marques Thompson
Fullback: Greg Fay; Jason Beck
Tight End #1: Adam Bergen; Peter Morelli
Tight End #2: Landon Maggs; Steve Burant
Tackle: Rob Sandie; Shaun Strickland
Guard: Adam Selmasska; Jimmy Kehs
Center: Justin Terry; Eric Anderson
Guard: Jason Morrell; Darius Cubbage
Tackle: Tom Toth; James Petruccelli
Wide Receiver #1: Gerran Walker; Adam Kovacs
Wide Reciever #2: Winfred Porter; Lee Thomas
Wide Receiver #3: Greg Petrosky; Aaron Argenta

On defense there were some more tough choices. The LB choices were especially hard. I ended up taking Anthony Graziani as a starter since he impressed me a lot last year. Other no-brainer starters include: DE Tristan Lawrence; DTs Royce Morgan and Will Mitchell, and DBs Karrie Ford and Kaloma Cardwell. It looks to be a solid unit, but I'll feel better after I see them versus Stony Brook.

Some freshmen to make my 2-deep are DE Joel Kriss, DB Andrew Nelson and DB Rusty Campion.

Defensive Lineman: Tristan Lawrence; Tyrell Jenkins
Defensive Tackle: Royce Morgan; Nick Oakley
Defensive Tackle: Will Mitchell; Chris Zambrano
Defensive Line: Tom Alfsen; Joel Criss
Outside Linebacker: Rob Guynes; Randy Rovesti
Inside Linebacker: Owen Breninger; Mike Horvath
Inside Linebacker: Matt Purdy; Jason Murray
Outside Linebacker: Anthony Graziani; Micah Greene
Cornerback: Neal Boozer-Gallman; Andrew Nelson
Strong Safety: Karrie Ford; Rusty Campion
Free safety: Kaloma Cardwell; Michael Moore
Cornerback: Duane Smith; Calvin LaMont

Whew! That's it for me tonight, folks. Be sure to let me know what you think of this fan's take on the situation.

Later on this week: Patriot League Preview; and Lehigh vs. Stony Brook
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