Friday, April 11, 2008

Exclusive Spring Football Update

The landscape for spring football was quiet... too quiet. So I decided to get an update on the goings-on this spring. Here's what I found out, directly from coach Coen.

LFN: Everyone wants to know how the QB position is shaping up. Is there any separation happening between the candidates?

Coach: It's been fairly competitive. We have only had a few nice weather days so it really hasn't been ideal conditions for QB's, but we are moving in the right direction. I believe all three are better then they were in the fall.

LFN: How is the "O" line shaping up?

Coach: The group is doing OK. This is a spot were we have had a few dings. I think we are learning, but we need to get better the last 5 practices.

LFN: How's the DB situation?

Coach: I have been pleased by this group. Corners are doing a nice job (John Kennedy, Jarard Cribbs, Femi Ajewole). Our safeties also (Quadir Carter, Brendan VanAckeren, Steve Santora, and Jesse Sanchez), a very solid group. John Veniero and R.J. Overton are freshmen who have also done good things.

LFN: Finally, have any kids stood out and impressed you in these first two weeks of camp?

Coach: I've been very happy with the effort from everyone. Defensively, LB Al Pierce has been very impressive as has DL John Warren. It's great to see these guys step up. Offensively, WR Craig Zurn has done a nice job as has Keith Schauder, a freshman OL who was medically redshirted last year.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Around The Horn, Spring Practice Style

It's funny. My family and I are moving in less than a week. Stuff still needs to be packed. Arrangements made. Closings to attend. You'd think that nagging voice inside my head would be reminding me about all the stuff we need to do to move.

Instead, the nagging voice says, "Gee, Chuck, you haven't posted anything about spring football in regards to the rest of the Patriot League!"

Yeah, that's me. One crazy fan.

Every Patriot League school has opened spring practice to ready themselves for the 2008 season. I've already done a pretty good job covering Lehigh - now it's time to cover the highlights around the League as well.

What's pretty clear after looking around the league: Lehigh is going to not have an easy time getting back to winning championships. The competition next year is going to be fierce.

Without any further ado...

  • You really, really hate to read this right from the spring report of Fordham, last years' league champion. "Unlike previous years, the Rams don't have many holes to fill this spring as they return ten starters on offense and eight more on defense from a team that won the Patriot League championship with a 5-1 conference mark and finished 8-4 overall." Eighteen returning starters, with key playmakers junior QB John Skelton and junior LB James Crockett among them? Forhdam is going to be awfully, awfully hard to beat next year. The other big bit of news was the release of their 2008 schedule, which features six home games (including a home opener versus Rhode Island of the CAA) but, much to the lament of fans, no rematch versus recent rival Albany.
  • Holy Cross also boasts eight returning players on offense, including seven seniors. Senior QB Dominc Randolph is the linchpin of the offense while the biggest question seems to be which of the "smurfs" will be replacing WR Ryan Maher and Thomas Harrison in the receiving corps. Defensively, senior CB Kyle Mushaweh seems to be a frontrunner to be the leader on defense which finally seems to be getting some bulk up front with 315 lb junior DT Don Metheny. The big question on defense is similar to the offense: who replaces their speed at corner, where the Crusaders lost DBs Casey Gough and Obi Green to graduation?
  • He's... back. Although it's still unclear if or what his punishment is going to be, Colgate senior RB Jordan Scott appears to still be with the team and is for sure practicing this spring. Last year's all-Patriot League first team runningback was suspended in the fall for his role in a bizarre incident on-campus which led to his suspension. His court hearing was set for April 7th... which came and went without any new word on his legal status.
  • Amidst the distraction of Scott, and Sports Illustrated sportswriter Pete King speaking in Hamilton to the Raiders (note to Pete: call me), Colgate released their spring prospectus as well. Like Holy Cross and Fordham, the Raiders boast a slew of returning starters (9 on offense, 7 on defense) but look closer: WR Erik Burke, C Matt Sullivan and super ILB Mike Gallihugh are three of those seniors to replace. Junior ILB Greg Hadley seems like the odds-on favorite to replace Gallihugh as the heart of the Raider defense.
  • Interestingly, "that school in Easton" made an early move in announcing their 2008 captains: senior LB Andy Romans and senior FB Joe Russo. Romans was clearly a no-brainer - he was bar none one of the best LBs in the Patriot League last year, with 113 tackles and 3 forced fumbles - but Russo was somewhat of a surprise with the emergence of junior QB Rob Curley last year. "We made a change and made the selection earlier than normal because I felt it was important to have the leaders to pull us together at the start of spring practice, rather than at the end of it," said Leopard head coach Frank Tavani. They haven't released the spring prospectus yet, but it's clear that the health of senior RB Maurice White is a major focus this spring for Leopard fans as well as the replacement for LB Greg Plumby at linebacker.
  • Bucknell's spring practice release says it all. "Will the offense seamlessly adapt to new offensive coordinator Harold Nichols? Who is going to replace the four graduated starters on the offensive line? How will the position battles on the defensive line and linebacker shake out? Can former freshman sensation junior LB Sam Nana-Sinkam return to form after missing all of last season with an injury?" Good questions, all - and I'll add a few more. Like: who's the QB? Junior QB Marcelo Trigg will play all spring, but when junior QB Andrew Lair returns in the fall from semester abroad he'll be in (another) QB free-for-all in Lewisburg. Here's another: with DE Josh Eden taking two years off on his Mormon mission, who's going to emerge on the Bison "D" line?
  • One area where Bucknell won't have any questions is about their schedule, which was just released. They seem to be developing some local rivalries with Robert Morris and Duquesne, while playing Cornell and Marist out-of-conference - not exactly a murderer's row. (Granted, they did play Richmond last year.)
  • Unsurprisingly, Georgetown doesn't have much on offer about their spring season - or even their recruiting class, though this weekend is their spring game followed by a party sponsored by the Georgetown Grilling Society. It seems like a good bet that the Hoyas will be plugging a lot of holes with football players after their struggling 1-10 season last year, but sophomore LB Nick Parrish and junior OL Kelvin Moses will definitely be playing a big part this weekend.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Has a Harvard AD Ever Done This?

One football alumnus goes to show that Lehigh alumni aren't just big names on Wall Street (Lee Iaccoca '45) and on the movie screen (Donny Most '72, whose acting career includes one of my 3AM pre-Greeker run favorites: Stewardess School). Joe Alleva ('75) is now commanding one of the most powerful college athletics programs in the world.

This weekend, Joe was anointed the Tiger's next athletics director by the LSU system president Dr. John Lombardi.

Joe had worked for Duke since getting his double degree from Lehigh in 1975 and his MBA in 1976.

“Joe Alleva brings a wealth of experience and accomplishment to LSU,” Lombardi said. “I’m confident we’ve found a new leader for LSU athletics who exemplifies the vision and integrity needed to lead our sports programs to new heights, a champion of student athletes who believes in the highest standards of competition both on the field and in the classroom.”

Best of all, he's a through-and-through football guy:

“It’s interesting and really exciting (to be at a football oriented
school). I’m a football guy, played football and I love football, and one of my previous disappointments at Duke was the fact that we never could get the football program going. I met with Coach Miles today and I told him I’ll do anything I can to help you and keep winning championships. That’s what I’m here for – to help him win championships and help all of our coaches win championships.”


I can see it now on the 2010 shedule: Lehigh... at LSU... in football. Before this weekend, it was a fantasy. Now? It actually could happen. Talk about a game that Lehigh football players would talk about their whole lives...
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...