Friday, April 07, 2006

The Pieces Continue To Fall Together

Earlier this week, the Lehigh athletic department released the long-awaited spring prospectus, giving us a bit of a closer look at Lehigh's football team for 2006. The first pieces of the puzzle are being put together, and some interesting battles are shaping up - as well as a few surprises.

Here's my take on what I see as the three biggest surprises, and three things to take forward up to the Brown/White game on April 22nd (which, by the way, is free and open to the public).

Biggest Surprises
1. New faces at LB. Some of the talent and depth on the "D" line has made the change to outside linebacker. Rising senior DE Matt Mohler and rising junior DE Joel Kriss are joining a hot battle for the outside spot along with rising sophomores Tim Diamond and Ben Pravata. Mohler has more experience, but Kriss is very athletic, so it will be interesting to see who will be the starters - and you can't count out the X-factors, the sophs, as well. On the inside, rising senior Micah Greene seems to have the edge, with rising junior Calvin LaMont pushing him hard.
2. Wanted: One "O" Line Starter. That Petrucelli, Kehs, Reese and Russell are expected to pave the way forward in 2006 is not a surprise - it's that the battle for that 5th spot at guard is so wide open. Rising sophomores Kevin Bayani and Patrick Casey are being mentioned, as well as rising senior Colin Hewko, to fill the spot, but again it looks like it's going to be a big battle for that spot and the backup spots on the line.
3. Return Team Up For Grabs. The deafening silence on the return units leads me to beleive that it's anyone's game as to who is the leading returner candidates for 2006. The smart money would be on rising sophomore RB Matt McGowan for starters, but there are sure to be more names in the mix.

Things to Take Forward
1. Don't Worry About the Rock. You may have noticed RB Eric "TNT" Rath's departure and worried about who will be running the ball in 2006. With a plethora of options with rising senior Marques Thompson, senior FB Greg Fay, junior transfer Josh Pastore, and rising sophomores Matt McGowan and Rich Forman, we have a variety of styles and depth to the mix. Add in rising junior QB Sedale Threatt's ability to scramble and it's abundantly clear that rushing the ball may be an area of strength, not uncertainty.
2. Depth Abounds. You thought graduating all those wideouts was going to be a problem? Think again. Not only do rising seniors Lee Thomas and Frank Trovato return, but a corps of talented undereclassmen, led by rising junior Pete Donchez and rising sophomores Sekou Yansane and Ben Ivester, are waiting in the wings. Lehigh's depth year in and year out generally is an area of strength, and this year is no exception.
3. Attitude. Two straight losses to Lafayette is probably something that doesn't need to be mentioned here. But it will be interesting to see in the Brown/White game the focus level and the intensity of everyone from the coaches down to the scout team. It's the first time in years that Lehigh may not be favored to win the Patriot League. On April 22nd, we'll see if this group is looking like a team that can bring back a Patriot League championship, not just preseason accolades. A little humbler, a little hungrier. Will we see it?

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Coach Tavani on I-AA Waves

Earlier last week, Ralph of I-AA Waves fame and I interviewed Lafayette football head coach Frank Tavani about Lafayette's upcoming year, the happenings over in Easton, and, of course "the rivalry". It airs tonight at 9PM EDT, and you can listen to the show online by following this link.

Ralph and I are hoping to get other Patriot League coaches on the I-AA Waves radio show in the very near future, which will hopefully include coach Coen.

In regards to spring practice, I, like you, are anxiously waiting for the official Lehigh website to post their spring prospectus and to get a feel for how the spring is going. I beleive practices are going on as we speak.
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