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The Rumor Mill; My take on the two-deep

Look at all these rumors
Boy, I go away on vacation for a few days, and a veritable torrent of Lehigh press and rumor hits the internet.

First the press:
Goodman Stadium hosts second pre-season scrimmage (Lehighsports.com)
Chairback seats remain for season opener (Lehighsports.com)
Bergen earns third pre-season All-American honor (Lehighsports.com)
Bergen named to Walter Payton Award watch list (Lehighsports.com)
Lehigh has ground to make up (Express-Times)
Hawks take lunch-pail approach (Express-Times)

As usual, LehighFootballNation has this in a nice digestible format for you:

"When the team clearly picks captains who are at cerebral positions, where their names are not in the paper every day, that speaks volumes about what the rest of the players value," head coach Pete Lembo said....It shows the Mountain Hawks are willing to choose substance above style, selfless comraderie ahead of self-centered desire and a team concept over All-America quests... Basically, it says Lehigh is ready to get down and dirty in its quest to reclaim a Patriot League title.... "Four outstanding captains," Lembo said. "These are all players who have played for us many years in the past. It's neat to see these types of players get that kind of recognition from their teammates. They've embraced all the values we believe in as a program... The team goals come before individual goals."

This quote indeed says a lot about what the 2004 Lehigh team will look like. It will feature a hard-hitting defense, and a big, experienced offensive line that should beat up the opposition. And it will not be based around any one player or talent - the emphasis will be on: team, team, team. Lehigh Football Nation is realy liking what he's hearing in this department.

It is clear to this partial observer that Lembo seems very pleased with his troops this year. Even in the press reports you can hear a skip in Lembo's step.

Can Bergen live up to the hype?
With the dizzying array of pre-season awards and nominations, something bearing watching in the beginning of the year will be how TE Adam Bergen lives up to the hype of being a pre-season All-American, Payton nominee, pre-season first team All Patriot League. There's nothing I've ever seen in "All-American" Bergen that leads me to believe that he isn't up to the challenge. But I'll be watching him carefully over the course of the season.

The big rumor
Of course, with the season only 5 days away, Lehigh fans are abuzz over the home opener; what the team will look like; and how the team will perform against the likes of Stony Brook, Villanova and Liberty. But the big question mark remains from the entire offseason: which QB will be the opening-day starter? Keating or Borda?

On the bulletin boards, the hot rumor is that Borda was selected as the starter against Stony Brook, based on his performance during last weekend's hot and humid practice. Further reinforcing this story was the following mention in one of the Lehigh press releases (emphasis added):

In addition to Bergen, five other Mountain Hawks were named to the I-AA.org Preseason All-Patriot League teams. Senior center Justin Terry, junior defensive tackle Royce Morgan, and senior PUNTER Kyle Keating were all named to the first team.

No mention of QUARTERBACK Kyle Keating... only PUNTER Kyle Keating. Could it be the decision has been made to go with Mark Borda as the starter for Saturday?

Despite these hot and humid rumors, it is Lehigh Football Nation's opinion that Keating will be named the starter for Saturday's game. He is the senior, and in my opinion earned the starting role for 2004.

My take on the two-deep
As promised, here's my take on the two-deep entering the 2004 season, scooping Lehigh and Coach Lembo by maybe a day.

My offense features Kyle Keating as the starting QB, with Mark Borda as the backup. I just can't see taking the reins away from Kyle when he did nothing to lose it late last year. At running back, unsurprisingly, I have sophomore RB Eric Rath first on the depth chart, followed by sophomore Marques Thompson. (Keep an eye out for freshman RB Richard Forman too, just missing the depth chart as well). Other unsurprising picks include "All-American" Bergen at TE, and team captains C Justin Terry and OG Jason Morrell as starters.

WRs were a difficult choice. Junior Gerran Walker was not a surprise, but I found myself mixing 2-6 quite a bit. Senior Aaron Argenta cannot be ignored, but it seems like he may not be a starter. Juniors Winfried Porter and Greg Petrosky have some very good talent, and I see them having edged out the 2 seniors for starting spots.

Some freshmen that made my two deep include OG Jimmy Kehs and WR Lee Thomas.

Quarterback: Kyle Keating; Mark Borda
Running Back: Eric Rath; Marques Thompson
Fullback: Greg Fay; Jason Beck
Tight End #1: Adam Bergen; Peter Morelli
Tight End #2: Landon Maggs; Steve Burant
Tackle: Rob Sandie; Shaun Strickland
Guard: Adam Selmasska; Jimmy Kehs
Center: Justin Terry; Eric Anderson
Guard: Jason Morrell; Darius Cubbage
Tackle: Tom Toth; James Petruccelli
Wide Receiver #1: Gerran Walker; Adam Kovacs
Wide Reciever #2: Winfred Porter; Lee Thomas
Wide Receiver #3: Greg Petrosky; Aaron Argenta

On defense there were some more tough choices. The LB choices were especially hard. I ended up taking Anthony Graziani as a starter since he impressed me a lot last year. Other no-brainer starters include: DE Tristan Lawrence; DTs Royce Morgan and Will Mitchell, and DBs Karrie Ford and Kaloma Cardwell. It looks to be a solid unit, but I'll feel better after I see them versus Stony Brook.

Some freshmen to make my 2-deep are DE Joel Kriss, DB Andrew Nelson and DB Rusty Campion.

Defensive Lineman: Tristan Lawrence; Tyrell Jenkins
Defensive Tackle: Royce Morgan; Nick Oakley
Defensive Tackle: Will Mitchell; Chris Zambrano
Defensive Line: Tom Alfsen; Joel Criss
Outside Linebacker: Rob Guynes; Randy Rovesti
Inside Linebacker: Owen Breninger; Mike Horvath
Inside Linebacker: Matt Purdy; Jason Murray
Outside Linebacker: Anthony Graziani; Micah Greene
Cornerback: Neal Boozer-Gallman; Andrew Nelson
Strong Safety: Karrie Ford; Rusty Campion
Free safety: Kaloma Cardwell; Michael Moore
Cornerback: Duane Smith; Calvin LaMont

Whew! That's it for me tonight, folks. Be sure to let me know what you think of this fan's take on the situation.

Later on this week: Patriot League Preview; and Lehigh vs. Stony Brook

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