Skip to main content

Practice is going well for the Mountain Hawks

Looks like there is upbeat news from spring practice trickling out of the Lehigh website and the news outlets.

The Express-Times has a great article explaining the practice battles raging this year in camp. For you busy people out there, let me sum up the major concerns going into this weekend's Brown/White spring game, which will be our first peek at the 2005 Mountain Hawks.

1).Backfield. RB Jermaine "Sprint" Pugh and FB Dave Wilson have now graduated, and now we need to not only fill some big shoes, but also need someone who is competitive with the class of our division (who is 1-AA Walter Payton Award Winning RB Jamaal Branch from nemesis Colgate).

We are extremely fortunate to have RB Eric Rath returning this year. In 2001 as a freshman he was a sparkplug and rare impact-type player as he gained 566 all-purpose yards, and, among other things, blocked a punt and recovered it for a TD versus Penn. At the end of 2001, however, he had decided to quit the team. Last year, he got things together academically and decided (happily for us Engineers) to come back for his junior and senior seasons.

A knee injury has sidelined his for the remainder of spring practice, however. And it is this injury which illustrates Lehigh Football Nation's biggest concern this year: depth at this position. Behind him are two sophomores, RB Marques Thompson, and RB Pierre Bowers. One of these young men (or possibly incoming freshman Sedale Threatt) will have to step it up should Rath not be the featured back. (A third sophomore, Ryan Hluschak, brother of just-graduated Steve Hluschak, has quit the team.)

2) Linebacker. The coaches have singled-out linebacker as the main question mark going into the final week (judging by their official report from Coach Lembo). With the defense starting to "gel", it reamins to be seen who will be the starters. Senior Anthony Graziani, junior Owen Breininger, senior Jon Guynes, junior Randy Rovesti and senior Matt Purdy will all be battling for three or four starting spots. The competition should be intense. LFN feels like Breninger, Guynes, and Purdy are looking like the starters, though I was impressed with Graziani's play last year.

In addition, Breninger could double-up as a DL possibly, opening a spot for Graziani in the LB. It will be interesting to see among these five who will be the starters.

3) Special teams. The punt and kicking units are going to mesh over the next week, and we'll find out who the impact players can be there. Also, there's competition to replace departing K Matt Douglas, between Rutgers Transfer Justin Musilek, and Matt McNeils, a true freshman. My money's on the young man from Rutgers, and we'll see if he is more accurate than the departing Douglas.

4) Keating or Borda? One of these two young men will be the opening day starter. But who? Logic dictates Keating, who for two straight years has stepped up when starter after starter in front of him on the depth chart has been hurt, and has performed under pressure. But he has only fits of being an exciting player, Borda showed a hint of his talent (and terrific arm) last year, and it may be very difficult to keep him on the bench one more year. But is he too much of a gunslinger for the Lehigh system?

Furthermore, the QB position during the Lembo era has been defined by QB controversies and questionable handling. The Keating vs. Borda situation will bear watching in large part to see how coach Lembo handles his young passers.

Schwenk playing in Europe
Finally, it's time to say congratulations to Chad Schwenk for signing an overseas contract in Europe to play for the Hannover Musketeers. Living overseas is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and we here at LFN only wish Chad all the best.

Coming up soon: Brown/White game, and the NFL Draft.

Popular posts from this blog

Nick Shafnisky Is Pushing Hard to Get To Play at the Next Level in Football

"Don't take anything for granted, just keep pushing."
Those are the words of QB Nick Shafnisky, told to The Whitehall-Coplay Press all the way back in 2013, about his preparation as a high school athlete.
And they seem to summarize the Whitehall, PA native perfectly, then as now.
Dubbed the "Male Athlete of the Year" by that publication, the article goes on about Shaf's many exploits at Whitehall high school - leading the Zephyr football team to a co-Lehigh Valley Conference title, becoming the first player ever in that conference to rush and pass for over 1,000 yards, and earning the league's co-MVP award as well.
He also was a member of the Zephyrs playoff basketball team, and for good measure also helped set a record for the 4x100 relay team as well.
At Whitehall, and at Lehigh, coaches pushed him, but it was his own hard work that helped make him the best athlete he could be.
This weekend, Shaf, like every eligible college football player, will be …

#TheRivalry Flashback: November 21st, 1987: Lehigh 17, Lafayette 10

Since becoming an undergrad at Lehigh back in the late 1980s, I first heard about the historic nature of the football team and "The Rivalry" through the stories that fellow students would share.

I did not attend the final meeting between Lehigh and Lafayette at Taylor Stadium, which was the final time a football game would be played there.

Those that did attend said that was that it was cold.

"I remember it being one of the coldest games ever," Mark Redmann recollected, "with strong Northwesterly winds and the temperature hovering around 20.  By the end of the game, the stands were half empty because most of the fans just couldn't take the cold.

"Fortunately, several of my fraternity brothers snuck in flasks to help fend off the chill."

Dominick Bragalone Goes Into Monster Mode As Lehigh Is One Win Away From Title

It has been a most unusual season for Lehigh.

Starting the year off at 0-5 and getting swept in their out-of-conference schedule, the Mountain Hawks were in danger of having their season go off the rails.

But two things have come together over the last five football games that have put Lehigh on the brink of back-to-back championships.

The first is the late blooming of the Lehigh defense, which kept battling every week since the low point of the September 30th loss to Wagner to do the job in four of their five Patriot League conference games. 

The second is the development of junior RB Dominick Bragalone into a bellcow running back, a back who has to be in the conversation for Patriot League offensive player of the year.

In five Patriot League games, Bragalone has run for 863 yards in 5 games, rushing for 11 touchdowns and adding two more receiving touchdowns as well. 

The South Williamsport, PA native certainly wasn't unknown before this week - after all, as a freshman and a sop…