Thursday, August 14, 2008

Practice Update: Lehigh Straps on the Pads

Lehigh just released an interesting report on their official website regarding Lehigh's progress during preseason practice, and I can say this: it didn't look like that when I showed up at practice the other day.

After getting permission to see practice from the athletics department this past Sunday I was in the area for Eagles practice and stopped to also see the Brown & White later that afternoon. The practice was already pulled into Rausch field house at that time since it had hailed just about an hour earlier in the Valley.

I took great pains to stay out of the way, and see exactly what was up. Since it was a split squad match (and I only saw the one of them), no real conclusions can be drawn. I did see sophomore RB Jaren Walker sporting his new #8 jersey as Lehigh go through some physical drills in "shells" (to the uninitiated, in helmets and about half the number of pads as normal).

The only real "news' I can offer from the practice was the presence of a walk-on in the QB derby. Yes, you read right. I spied a #16 in practice taking reps at QB who I later learned was a walk-on, freshman QB Thad Kosciolek. That makes the grand total of QBs in practice at five.

Coach Coen told me after the practice that the weather didn't "cooperate", but he was pleased with the work they were able to get done inside on Sunday and Monday (where once again the weather was bad).

Building on this, coach Coen reported this week that he's still looking at the team's overall conditioning, and he's looking forward to the heat to see how they troops' condition really is.

“I thought we ran the ball well today,” Coen said. “The defense rallied late and that’s usually the way the early part of camp goes, with some give and take on both sides.” He continued, “Our pass skeleton drill was up and down with some dropped balls but kids were making plays too.”

Coen said it has been tough to get a clear read on the team’s overall conditioning in the early going due to the favorable weather. “With such good weather, it’s tough to tell where we’re at. I’m hoping the temperatures pick up soon here. The double sessions will also give us a good read on what type of shape we’re in.” Coen added, “I think it’s clear that there is a noticeable difference in the strength in a lot of our kids. Many of these guys put in long hours of work in the offseason and it has shown.”

Although the team has had just five practices, Coen said it’s easy to see that the newest group of Mountain Hawks is not shying away from competition. “I’m very pleased with our freshmen. It’s a group of competitors. They’re still learning the system and thinking too much, but the effort they’re giving and how eager they are to get better has been very impressive.”


This is all music to my ears - the freshmen are entering the meat grinder pretty well early on, and the overall strength is up on the team. I see it in this way: coach Coen has set a bunch of goals for this team (like building strength), and the team is meeting the goals. Now, let's just keep those injuries away...

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Season Ticket and Tailgate Information

As August charges full speed towards the fall and football season, an important question needs to be asked: have you got your season tickets and tailgate plans in order yet?

Season tickets (I believe) are still available, as are individual tickets, though I don't think buying a season ticket guarantees you tickets to "The Rivalry" at this point. If you're a student, your big chance to get tickets starts on September 1st - and I'd suggest jumping on them since "The Rivalry" sells out very early.

Undoubtedly some of you have some sort of rig similar to the one on the left (the picture is missing, of course, the fully stocked bar). If so, you're prepared for any upcoming tailgate at home or away, and I congratulate you. (Of course, if you still need some tailgating gear, I'd encourage you to go to the LFN Tailgate store to maybe get that extra grill cover you might have forgotten.)

For those of you (like me) who might not have invested in ExxonMobil when gas was only 89 cents a gallon and can afford a rig like this, fortunately some of the official alumni clubs have set up official tailgate parties. The information on these is starting to trickle in now.

First comes this from the Lehigh Club for Philadelphia: a pregame breakfast tailgate at Flip & Bailey's (formerly the Wild Onion) September 13th, prior to the away game at Villanova. Starting at 10:00 AM, the price is $20 for adults and $10 for those under 21, and includes a fill breakfast buffet of "bagels, eggs, bacon, sausage and fresh fruit, plus unlimited draft beers (several to choose from) and Bloody Marys," according to the press release. Sounds like a fantastic time! You can register for the event at this link.

The other official tailgate party comes as a part of the extensive Young Alumni Reunion on October 3rd-5th. Lehigh will be hosting Cornell that weekend (the same opponent, incidentally, that Lehigh defeated at the opening of Murray Goodman Stadium 20 years ago this year 27-14), and the cornerstone event (as far as this crazy Lehigh fan is concerned, anyway) is the pregame young alumni tailgate. I mean, corn chowder, fried chicken, sandwiches and a PIE buffet? Not to mention a full array of beverages... That is sick... in a good way.

Tickets are $25, and game tickets are only $5 if you also buy in to another young alumni reunion event such as the Class of 2003 dinner or the Brown & White bash. In addition, there is going to be a party on Friday at the Bethlehem Brew Works as well. Time to get your liver in shape... now.

You can register at this link here. You can check out pictures of last year's event here as well, courtesy of the Facebook Lehigh Alumni group.

But back up to that pie buffet in the tailgate for a second. Seriously, is Paula Deen going to be showing up? That sounds right up her alley...

Monday, August 11, 2008

Q & A with... Lehigh RB Matt McGowan

Continuing my series of interviews I did for Patriot League media day, we continue with senior RB Matt McGowan, the Mountain Hawk running back that looks to be doing some inside running now that he's (finally) healthy.

LFN: Tell me a little about your background.

MMG: I played at Hazelton Area high school which is about an hour away from Bethlehem, had a pretty good high school career, chose to attend the University of Richmond on full scholarship.

LFN: Why did you choose to transfer?

MMG: It really didn’t feel like a good fit when I was there, so I chose to transfer to Lehigh after my freshman year. I really wanted to be closer to friends and family – it was pretty far to go to Richmond, a seven hour drive as opposed to only being an hour away from home.

I was recruited by Lehigh pretty heavily throughout my high school career with coach Lembo’s coaching staff before coach Coen was here, and I had good relationships with all of those coaches, so I always kept my mind open to Lehigh.

LFN: Let’s talk about your time at Lehigh. Last year you spent a lot of time injured. Everything feel better now?

MMG: Yeah, everything finally back to 100%. Everything’s going well. We’ve worked really well this offseason, it’s probably the best offseason this team has had. About 60% of the upperclassmen stayed over the summer.

LFN: Anything you’re planning to do to keep from reinjuring yourself?

MMG: I think the injury that I had has completely healed, but I’m going to do my best to keep stretching and keep flexible and if I feel anything I’m going to try to take it easy.

LFN: Describe your style as a runner.

MMG: Most people say I’m a bruising kind of back, but I don’t really look at myself that way. I like to say that I’m diversified – I can run inside the tackles, but I can also run outside too. I prefer to run inside, though – I’m more comfortable inside the tackles.

LFN: As a running back, you’re probably been following the progress of your offensive line…

MMG: Our strength and conditioning coaches have done a great job with everyone – it’s a noticeable size difference on our team and everyone’s gotten a lot quicker. Most of our offensive line has been here the entire summer working out, and guys have really, really worked their butts off.

LFN: Tell me a little bit about being a part of “The Rivalry”.

MMG: Playing in it is really as big a deal as everyone makes it out to be. I mean, it’s an unbelievable experience and one of the best things you’ll ever experience as a college football player. It’s hyped up so much throughout the season and offseason, and being that they beat us the past four years in a row, it makes the game that much more meaningful. It’s a motivating point.

LFN: Last year was the first graduating Lehigh class to lose all four years in “The Rivalry” since the 1950’s.

MMG: Trust me, we’re aware of that.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...