Sunday, April 22, 2012

Brown 43, White 43, Final

(Photo Credit: Kevin Mingora/The Morning Call)

Head coach Andy Coen said after the Brown/White game had you called him up last night, he would have wanted a result like the 43-43 score that he (and Lehigh Nation) got on this picture-perfect morning for spring football at Murray Goodman stadium.

After the defense dominated the proceedings early, the offense, led by team captain senior QB Mike Colvin, rebounded from three early picks to connect for a touchdown to set up the tie, and coach Coen saw the White offense finally take from the Brown defense, sending all the Lehigh folks home fairly happy but with an eye on all of the work that still needs to be done.

After announcing the team captains for the 2012 football season, senior NG Sajjad Chagani, senior QB Mike Colvin, senior FS Billy O'Brien, and senior WR Ryan Spadola, the awarding of the Jimmy Gum scholarship took place on the home sidelines where senior RB Zach Barket was honored as the recipient of the grant for this year, talking to the Gum family.

"I think it's rewarding for all the hard work we've put through in the winter," Colvin told me of his captainship after the game.  "It's rewarding to see that my teammates believe that I represent this team well enough to be named the captain.  It's a great tradition at Lehigh of team captains, and I hope to represent this team the best I can and hope to lead this team to victory in the fall."

Shortly after team captains and the Gum scholarship recipient were announced, Colvin took the field against the first-team defense - and on the first drive of the game fired a pass over his receivers' head, where an alert senior CB Courtney Jarvis nabbed the first turnover of the game.

It would be the first of four big picks on the morning - two that were grabbed by senior CB Gabe Johnson and brought back as pick sixes, one from Colvin, and the other from junior QB Brandon Bialkowski.

"I'm not sure he saw me,and I just reached up and got it, and followed my blockers," Johnson said of his first pick after the game.  "I was exhausted - 91 yards, running across the field.  When I chest-bumped [coach Weaver], that made it worse!  He wanted the chest bump, and when I jumped, that took it all out of me."

After Bryant transfer junior LB John Mahoney reached high to nab a Colvin ball for the third interception - to their credit - the offense settled down, went to work and managed to break through for three touchdowns.

"They're a tough defense," Colvin said after the scrimmage, who unofficially ended the morning for 10/17 passing for 81 yards.  "I wanted to perform a little better. Three interceptions is unacceptable for my position, but we also made some good plays and some good decisions and good reads. We had some good and bad, but the bad is going to stick out a little too much in my mind."

Colvin's touchdown pass came from a familiar position - first and goal, a spot where he'd frequently find himself in seasons past in the Wildcat formation - where he avoided a strong pass rush and found junior TE Max Anderson open for the first touchdown of the afternoon.

The biggest receiving standout on the day was junior WR Lee Kurfis, whose three catches for 43 yards led all comers.   In live action and in the pass skeleton drills - alongside Spadola, who didn't participate in the scrimmage portion - Kurfis looked particularly strong, something that Coen mentioned in his postgame video recap as well.

The skeleton drills also allowed all the quarterbacks to show off their arm strength, too  - and Bialkowski and sophomore QB Gerald Poutier showed that the battle to be on the depth chart in September will likely rage on through the summer.

Another great moment came when junior RB Cody Haupt lowered his shoulder on a run into junior DB Rickie Hill, removing his helmet.  Haupt had 4 rushes for 30 yards on the afternoon, but none more impressive than the 9 yard one that separated Hill's helmet.

Leading all rushers was junior RB Keith Sherman, who ripped 4 very impressive rushes for 41 yards.

"In spring, I want to see good give-and-take," Coen said - not seeing one side completely outclass the other, but to see good things that can be building blocks for another successful season.

If that was the ultimate goal, the spring game was a success - but Coen emphasized one more thing as well.

"I don't think we're anywhere near where we want to be as a football team," he said.

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