Friday, March 28, 2008

Lehigh Releases Spring Prospectus

Normally you'd see me more on top of the spring season right now, but our family is going through some interesting times (i.e. moving) that have prevented me from posting as much as I'd like. But with Lehigh releasing their spring prospectus and football coaching clinic applications late yesterday I had to blog something about these right away.

The Lehigh coaching clinic was a very successful part of last year's spring season. Fifty prospective football coaches showed up last year to get training from Division I professionals. Last year's instructor, Adam Scheier, then talked about what they emphasize here:

"A lot of the coaching clinics are geared for a higher level and talk a lot about schemes, but we want to teach fundamentals here," said Scheier, Lehigh's receivers coach who is the clinic's director. "We talk about blocking and tackling, throwing and catching."

This year, the clinic is Saturday April 12th and costs $20 to participate. On the release they posted the schedule:

8:00 am – 8:30 am Registration at Cundey Varsity House
8:30 – Welcome – Head Football Coach Andy Coen
9:00 – Defensive Staff - On Field Instruction, Offensive Staff – Classroom Sessions
10:45 – Offensive Staff – On Field Instruction, Defensive Staff – Classroom Sessions
12:30 - Lunch

After the clinic, you can also stick around to listen in on Lehigh's team practice in the afternoon as well. All in all, a great time that was a rousing success last year. Coaches last year would tell you that it was worth every penny!

As for Lehigh's spring prospectus, there were some surprises in store.

First was the absence of highly-touted sophomore NT Charles Brallier who has quit the team. (So my dream of Brallier anchoring the "D" line versus the run ended up being dashed.)

Second was some injuries on the linebacking corps (to sophomore LB Sean Linder and junior LB Tobi Showunmi ) which will limit some of the wide-open competition at LB this spring. That seems to make the battle for that fourth linebacker spot be between junior LB Al Pierce, senior LB Ben Pravata, senior LB Bradley Thomas and sophomore LB Troy Taylor, the surprise transfer member of the spring squad from University of San Diego and son of the 1961 MVP of the Lehigh/Lafayette game.

Junior DB Jesse Sanchez listed at safety rather than CB. I like Sanchez a whole bunch, and I thought he could play at corner, but it looks like we are going to go with two corners on opening day that haven't had a single start between them. The biggest battles in camp promise to be here. If I had to call a favorite, I'd probably put sophomore CB Casey Eldemire and senior CB Jarvis Lewis, but it's wide, wide open at this point. It will be interesting to see who suits up at corner on April 19th for the spring game at Goodman.

Super sophomore KR/PR/?? John Kennedy is listed as a possibility in the cornerback race as well - something also to keep in mind. Where will he end up playing? WR or DB?

On the offense, the "O" line looks to have a very interesting battle at center. With junior OL Ben Harden finally returning from injury last year, is he going to get the starting nod? Or will sophomore OL Ricky Clerge, who saw a lot of time last year? Or will sophomore OL Alex Schauder get the nod? The battle to replace John Reese promises to be very interesting.

Receiver will show that senior WR Sekou Yansane is recovering from offseason knee surgery, so we won't see him this spring. (You wonder how much that might have affected his play last year, too.) This will give a chance for senior WR Mike Fitzgerald and senior WR Nick Johnson to highlight, while giving a shot at the other receivers to shine. The eyes will be on all the other receivers that are healthy - all eight of them. (Might senior WR Ben Ivester be the guy that emerges?)

Finally, the all-important positions of holder and long snapper will be wide open for competition as well. It promises to be an exciting three weeks for the Mountain Hawks.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Sports Illustrated Opens The Archives

This will be a quick hit on a Tuesday, but it's cool enough to pass on immediately. Sports Illustrated just opened up their vault: namely, an online repository of every article written in the magazine in the last 54 years. After I stumbled across this, I couldn't help myself: I had to see for myself the Lehigh mentions in there.

I found 338 articles in there - more than enough for a (very) unofficial Lehigh football expert to get excited about.

For example, take this from an analysis of Colgate's 1977 squad getting "squeezed" out of a bowl - which mentions Lehigh hall-of-famer Fred Dunlap, Delaware and the Wing-T which he brought to Colgate:

A fullback at Colgate in the '40s, Dunlap was hired away from Lehigh, where he turned a 1-8 team into a 9-2 success that ranked in the nation's top five in offense and scoring in 1975. Dunlap also grew to understand the workings of limited-budget football: if you lack top-flight athletes, you stress a more subtle system of offense. Dunlap favored the wing T, a now-archaic attack once used with great success by a number of major teams. He had discovered its beauties at Lehigh practically every time he came up against Delaware, a Division II power that beat him eight of the 10 times they met. "Those game films used to disturb me," he says. "They didn't outhit us, or out-man us. Eventually I realized they simply outfinessed us."

Or look at this quote from Lehigh's AD in 1956 about his "biggest headache":

GENERAL P. L. SADLER, Lehigh University President, ECAC: Arranging satisfactory schedules for all sports, and particularly football, to satisfy our students and the alumni. We can't please everybody. Although we do our best, we hear in no uncertain terms from those who don't like our schedules. When we don't have a fair season, the headaches are bigger.


Granted, if you're a Notre Dame fan you're going to get an unparalleled college football history, but even for schools like Lehigh this is a great resource to add to the number of publicly availably free archives on the Web. You can bet the next time I work on a piece of Lehigh history I'm going to be hitting this archive.

Way to go, SI!
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