Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Analysis of Spring Practice

As promised, here's an analysis of Spring practice 2005, which concluded 2 weeks ago with the White offensive team beating the Brown defensive team 23-9. Happily, there are no further injuries coming out of the spring, and overall it seemed like a very productive spring season for Lehigh. It looks like all 3 units looked good too.

Let's see what were the surprises of spring, what should be a concern, and what battles to view in August.

Surprises
1. The emergence of Winfred Porter. You'd think the talk of the spring would be the emergence of junior deep-threat WR Gerran Walker as a go-to receiver. But Lembo praised fellow junior Porter's spring progress even more. It further solidifies the receiving corps as an area of strength in 2005. It looks like we have talent and depth there.
2. K Musiek's excellent spring. 4 FGs under game situations was a breath of relief after some of last year's problems in the kicking game. What I had tabbed as "a position plagued by too many missed FG and out-of-bounds kickoffs in 2004" is looking to be much more settled after Musiek's strong spring. Now we just need to keep those kickoffs in bounds.
3. LB Micah Greene showing up in the boxscore. With 5th-year senior Anthony "Graz" Graziani, along with rising juniors Owen Breninger and Matt Purdy, I was surprised to see Greene getting a safety in the Brown/White game boxscore. I'm wondering if we may see more of Greene in August going into September as well. Overall, linebacker seems like a very strong position going into August.

Concerns
1. Filling the shoes of Terry, Morrell, and Sandie on the 'O' Line. Lembo said this group is going to have to work during the offseason to gel together, and with the inability to get a running game going in the Brown/White game, it looks like there is still work to do.
2. Secondary. The secondary gave up some chunks of yardage in the Brown/White game. This seems to be another area where there could use a little work with rising juniors Kaloma Cardwell, Andrew Nelson, Courtney Elder, and rising sophomore Brannan Thomas .
3. TE Battle. Rising sophomore TEs Landon Maggs and Pete Morrelli aren't expected to totally fill the shoes of the (now) Arizona Cardinal Adam Bergen, but it would be nice to see more about this battle in August. Not really a concern as much as a curiosity.

What to look for in August
1. The defensive line. After a terrific spring, the question seems to be, who will be the starters? In the spring, a solid front four did a good job stopping the running game without rising junior DT Royce Morgan. But who will get the starts at DE, with rising sophomores Matt Mohler, Paul Fabre, Tyrell Jenkins vying for the spot, along with rising freshmen Mike Murawnski and Joel Kriss?
2. The starting 5 on the "O" Line. 2 lineman spots appear to be locks - team captain and rising junior Adam Selmasska, and rising junior Tom Toth. But the battle appears to be on for who gets the final 3 spots. There are a lot of names - rising sophomore Jason Russell, rising freshman Jimmy Kehs, rising sophomore Jim Petrucelli, and rising sophomore John Reese, who would appear to be the front-runners. But it will be interesting to see the final 5 and how they gel together on the line.
3. Battle for backup QB. You would think rising sophomore Mike Probst would be the first backup option off the bench. But rising freshman Sedale Threatt has impressed people all last year on the scout team, and has continued to impress this spring. Can he crack the backup spot?

Stay tuned for the complete Patriot League spring report, coming up in late May or early June.
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