After practice Coen offered his thoughts on several Mountain Hawks that have left an impression during the 2009 camp. He started by pointing out a pair of players from the freshmen class, one from each side of the ball. “Freshman TE Jamel Haggins without a doubt on offense has been impressive,” Coen commented. “He’s big and physical, he’s catching everything thrown at him; he’s done a great job at tight end for us.” Coen continued, “On defense freshman CB Bryan Andrews continues to do a nice job. He’s a very good athlete with solid ball skills; he had a nice interception and runback the other day during our scrimmage. He’s still learning the position but he’s making a serious push for playing time.”These reports always seem pretty rosy, but I am detecting a real spring in coach Coen's step with the emergence of all these players. You can never have too many running backs, and with Campbell and junior RB Jaren Walker in the backfield both apparently doing very well, hopefully what might have seemed like a potential weakness going into the fall may very well end up being a strength if Campbell indeed has emerged.
Asked to single out a pair of upperclassmen who are making their case for increased playing time Coen was quick to note that junior RB Jay Campbell and senior DL Steven Brown have stood out. “Jay Campbell has done a nice job going all the way back to the spring really,” Coen said. “He’s a little bigger than last year, a little more physical and he’s been consistent throughout camp.” He went onto add, “Like Jay, Steven Brown also had a solid spring. It’s great to see him stepping up as a senior and now that we’ve found the right position for him, he looks right at home.”
Haggins' emergence at TE is pretty exciting as well. It sounds from the release that he's at least the #2 TE behind junior TE Alex Wojdowski, a pretty darned good red-zone pass catcher in his own right. Also worthy of mention is sophomore FB Bryce Arruda, who got some action this week with a touchdown grab. Could we see more action towards the "H" backs during the regular season? If Arruda, Wojdowski or Haggins emerge as pass catching threats, that could be great news for the Lehigh offense.
Likewise, Steven Brown gives us enviable depth on the "D" line going into the year. While traditionally in the 3-4 the linebackers are the ones that are the focus, our starting "D" line (senior DE B.J. Benning, senior DE David Brown, and junior DT Phil Winett) could see Steven Brown switched in as well.
The only down news is that senior LB Al Pierce, one of the unsung heroes of last year's win over "that school in Easton", is nursing a hamstring injury that doesn't sound too good:
Pierce tweaked his hamstring about a week ago in practice and remains out during the football team's final few days of training camp. The Mountain Hawks scrimmage on Saturday before hosting their annual media day at 1 p.m. at Goodman Stadium.
"He's kind of week-to-week," coach Andy Coen said. "He's doing everything he can. I don't think it's like what we dealt with (Matt) McGowan a few years ago, but he (Pierce) pulled it pretty good."
The good news is that senior LB Troy Taylor should be able to step right into Al Pierce's spot if he happens to be out for any extended period. Taylor really was a great special teams hawk last year, and he has always had starting talent.
Finally, Andrews' emergence in the defensive backfield also gives Lehigh great depth in a position where you can never have enough speed and depth. Is all this pointing to a special Lehigh season?
Hoping to be at Lehigh media day tomorrow. In any event I'll file a report on the proceedings.