(Photo Credit: Bill Adams/The Easton Express-Times)
The spring game is, essentially, a scrimmage to allow football fans to take a look at what next year's team might look like that will be flying out to Des Moines, Iowa on Labor Day weekend this September. (Might sophomore WR/RB Marcus Dormevil, pictured here fighting for positive yards, be one of those players?)
Hopefully you read my take on everything, but what was the review from the rest of press who spent some time on a Saturday morning to see what was going on? Below the flip you'll get the full story as seen by Lehigh's official release, the local media, and even some fans. (more)
Official Release: Defense Edges Offense in Annual Spring Game
“It played out for the most part the way I thought it would with plenty of good competition on both sides of the ball,” Mountain Hawks head coach Andy Coen said afterwards. “The defense created turnovers, some of which were off of bad decisions by the quarterbacks, but we’ve been preaching to the defense all spring about taking the ball away and keeping it and today they were able to do that.” He continued, “I thought offensively the flow went smooth with (Offensive Coordinator) Dave (Cecchini) calling the plays live for really the first time. A lot of positions are still up for grabs on both sides and now it’s up to the kids to work hard during the summer and come back to campus ready for football in August.”
All four quarterbacks on the Lehigh roster saw action on Saturday, including senior QB J.B. Clark who completed six-of-ten passes for 53 yards and one score. “I thought overall there were some things that I could have done better and the offense as a whole could have improved on,” Clark said afterwards. “We still have a long way to go before September, a lot of work to get done, but it felt good to get out here today. I think we had a good spring but there is definitely room for us to improve between now and the next time we get out here.”
Morning Call: Some Good, Some Bad At Lehigh's Annual Brown and White Game
Junior SS John Littlejohn, looking to get some time in a deep, experienced secondary, can take his scoring interception return as something to build on as he looks ahead to the start of fall practice.
"Sophomore WR Jimmy Jefferson got a hold of my legs and arm and I bobbled it. Then I looked to the left side and I saw my mom. There was no way I was going to disappoint her.
"We had to break out and get turnovers today because that's the only way for the defense to score, and that was my first interception of the entire spring,'' Littlejohn said. ''We have a lot of playmakers on defense. We don't feel like we have any weaknesses. Everybody is going to work hard in the summer and come back stronger.''
Easton Express-Times: Spring Game Gives Coach Coen Hope for 2010 Season
Clark had a hot hand on the first series. He completed his first five throws, capped by his 20-yard TD pass to Drwal in the deep right corner of the end zone.
"That was good to see," Coen said. "You always want the offense to get off to a fast start."
"We had run a slant (prior to the TD) on third down," junior WR Jake Drwal said. "Then we set them up with a double move. J.B. threw it up and I made the play in the back of the end zone. It felt great. It was good J.B. had the confidence in me to throw it."
"We need to make big plays," Clark said. "We didn't make enough of them last year."
In addition, Lehigh's official release has a video recap with thoughts from commentators Mike Yadush and Matt Kerr, and WFMZ also had a wrapup of the game on the nightly news with interviews of coach Coen and the team captains for next season, which were announced prior to the spring scrimmage: senior OL Will Rackley and senior LB Al Pierce.
The consensus seems to be that there was plenty to feel good about, whether you're a coach, player or fan. Clark's opening drive, Littlejohn's interception, and Lum's solid performance seemed to be the primary focus of all the reports. The defense, unsurprisingly, was ahead of the offense but aside from the (as expected) solid play at linebacker sophomore DE Sajjad Chagani and junior DE Andrew Knapp got props as well.
Also mentioned by Keith Groller of the Morning Call was a mention of senior DB Shane Ryan, a former walk-on who has seen his hard work pay off. Not only with his interception in the spring game to give the game to the defense, but also with the Jim Gum Scholarship Award, which he was awarded right before the game on Saturday. You can't imagine a better recipient of the award, either, an academic all-star and a double major in civil engineering and architecture who makes you wonder if he ever sleeps at night:
Coen said: ''Shane's a great kid. He's a tough, hard-nosed kid. He's not the fastest kid in the world, but usually he's right where he needs to be.''
''I'm proud to be from the coal region [Minersville],'' he said. ''Here at Lehigh we have a number of kids from that area like senior DE Ben Flizack and senior WR Craig Zurn [both from Jim Thorpe], and sophomore RB Zach Barket [from Schuylkill Haven]. We have good football up that way. We have tight-knit, family-oriented communities. I played against those guys in high school, but we're like brothers now.''