Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Updated Spring Practice Dates

The 2005 Mountain Hawks have already had 4 spring practice dates, and this week will be having 4 more practices at the Ulrich Sports complex this week:

Wednesday, April 6th (PM)
Friday, April 8th (PM)
Saturday, April 9th (AM)
Sunday, April 10th (PM)

Times are AM and PM due to the availability of the turf at Ulrich, so I was unable to get exact times. But you get the idea. They are free and open to the public.

You would think (like I did) that with gale force winds (and 4 inches of rain in the Lehigh valley) that spring practice would have been cancelled this past weekend. However, I've heard from coach Lembo that the turf allowed the Mountain Hawks to hold their first 3 practices on time... and that they were "quite productive".

Lembo also talked to Keith Groller of the Morning Call about the opening of spring football as well.


When asked to assess his goals for Lehigh's spring schedule, which began
last Thursday and continues through the intrasquad game on April 23 at Goodman
Stadium, head coach Pete Lembo had ''developing toughness'' at the top of his
wish list.

''Over the last two seasons, we had several tough kids [who] really set the
tone for our team in practice and in games,'' Lembo said. ''Guys like Tom
Alfsen, Rob Sandie, Jason Morrell, Justin Terry; guys who battled their way
through injuries to play at a high level.

''The year before we had guys like Mike Gregorek, Tyler Hart and Tom
McGeoy, again all guys who jump out at you not only because they were great
players, but because of their work ethic and leadership.''

Lembo is looking for toughness and leaders to emerge, especially on both
the offensive and defensive lines, where graduation hit the hardest.

Lembo said it was pleasingly quiet throughout the offseason on South
Mountain.''We had minimal turnover on the coaching staff, which is unusual for
us,'' Lembo said. ''Continuity is a nice thing. It has really been business as

''We had no ring ceremonies, no special T-shirts made up, no special
announcements,'' Lembo said. ''We've maintained a humble, blue-collar attitude
and that's how I like it. Our guys are focused only on getting better.''

That's the attitude every player needs to have because while spring is
often a time to get out the kinks and dust off the rust, it's also the time for
backups to become starters and established starters to become leaders.

Lembo said there will be competition for every position, including
quarterback, where Mark Borda enters his senior season looking to build on a
solid junior year which included 24 TD passes.Most close to the program expect
Borda to be the starter when Lehigh welcomes Monmouth on Sept. 3, but Lembo said
''no one should take anything for granted.''

''Mark needs to work on some things this spring, and he's already making
considerable progress on things like getting rid of the ball quicker and
progressing faster with his reads,'' Lembo said. ''Mark knows that there are
good players behind him pushing for playing time.

''I mention that because quarterback is such a highly visible position, but
it's really the same way at every position. We have guys vying for playing time
and some guys are working hard just to get invited back to our preseason camp in

Lembo said he's especially anxious to see the progress of the guys who are
winding down their freshman years.''Most of them were on the scout team and
played on the junior varsity last year,'' Lembo said. ''They've worked hard in
the weight room and now that some guys have graduated, they can begin to see the
light at the end of the tunnel.''

I found it interesting that Lembo already was focusing on the differences between Lafayette's celebration of the Patriot League title (rings, T-shirts, awards ceremonies) and Lehigh's (business as usual - tyring to get better). To me, that's a very positive thing.

Lembo says Borda should not take his starting position for granted, which is also interesting. As noted in this space, I have a very high regard for all the QBs down the depth chart for the Engineers (Probst, Threatt, and Marshall). Could it be that any or all three could be pushing for time?

3 Freshmen to keep an eye on this spring:

1. Jimmy Kehs, OL. A big tackle who saw reps with the first team last year, I'm interested to see what further strides he can make into being possibly a full-time starter, even in 2006.

2. Joel Kriss, DE. With DE Tom Alfsen lost to graduation, I see him as a potential sleeper at the end position.

3. Pete Donchez, WR. A tall local wideout who might be able to crack the starting lineup - we will have to wait and see.

Tune in here for more Spring practice information!
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