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Something exciting here at Lehigh Football Nation; Press Reports on Lehigh/Villanova; PBS Special; Tailgating

Premiering duing Lehigh/Villanova
We have an exciting announcement for this weekend's game versus Villanova! I have set up Blogger.Com's version of Audioblogger on LehighFootballNation. During the game I will "call in" my blog postings, summarizing the game so far at that point. The plan is to call in the posts at the end of each quarter, with my observations.

Athough not a play-by-play, it will be a first-hand, audio account by yours truly. The postings are .MP3 files, playable on your computer.

So if you're unable to go to the game, tune in here to get in insider's scoop!

Press Clippings on Lehigh/Villanova
Much ink has been spilled this week over this marquee matchup of ranked Eastern 1-AA teams, set to start at Murray Goodman at 1PM tomorrow.

Morning Call:
Lehigh Still has a Long Way to Go
Graziani is just now getting his turn
Philadelphia Inquirer:
Wildcats' young offensive line could be a concern at Lehigh
Express-Times:
Early Showdown in Division 1-AA
Brown & White:
Next Challenge for Hawks: Villanova
No David and Goliath

The Morning Call Article on "Graz" is worth a second look. After battling for the starting spot in the spring, he looks to be a fixture in the front seven this year hopefully.

Your intrepid reporter has digested out the important bits and reprinted them here for your enjoyment:

''Considering how close the competition for quarterback was through the preseason, several media types and probably more than a few in the crowd of 7,116 thought that Lembo would lift Borda at halftime on Saturday...."

[Yes, that includes us here at LFN.]

"We’ll all know after Saturday if our small private school can hang with the big boys in Division I-AA. But right now, just the numbers are intimidating enough to make any Hawk’s Nest junkie drop their pompons in disappointment."

[He could be talking about LFN here, no doubt... but I will be at the game, virtual pom-pom's and all.]

''We were out of sync a lot and that made Mark's job a lot tougher,'' Lembo said. ''There were times when we probably should have gotten rid of the ball quicker than we did and there were other times when protection broke down and routes weren't run the way we wanted them to.

''I'm sure that when we look at the tape and find that whether it's Borda, our strong side tackle or our Z-receiver that everybody made their share of mistakes and we have a lot of work to do.

Lembo said he never considered a change. ''I wanted to see what he could do,'' Lembo said. ''You're not going to come in and set the world on fire in your first game. I don't want Mark looking over his shoulder and worrying about making mistakes.''

''I would have expected a better performance from our offensive line, especially in some one-on-one matchups,'' Lembo said. ''But their defensive line was very good, too. That's a Patriot League-quality unit with a lot of experience. I guess time will tell whether we didn't play that well up front or if they really have some legitimate guys.''

'Borda accepted blame for several of the sacks and other hits he took during his release.''A couple of those I probably hung on the ball too long trying to make sure the receiver was there,'' he said. ''Some other times maybe someone came off the corner and I didn't see them. I'll watch the tape and I'll try to get it squared away.... We stuck with it. We have a lot of senior leadership on this team and they didn't let you think about getting down on yourself. They gave speeches at halftime and told us to keep our heads up because Stony Brook came to play.''

''Mark's good in that he doesn't get too high or too low,'' Lembo said. ''I give him credit for being patient with himself and the rest of the offense. Other guys got frustrated, but not Mark.''

''My feeling is that if we had just run the ball on every down, we probably would have had more yardage and more first downs,'' Lembo said. ''But it was important to give Mark a chance to take reps behind center and sprint out and do some things. It was a learning experience.''

“While the game plan changes week to week based on the opponent, the methods of preparation and attention to detail does not change,” Lembo said. “Our offensive personnel understand that we must execute better. I am confident they will focus and work hard to improve as the season progresses.”

“On defense, we can’t give up any big plays and we need to cause some turnovers. Offensively, we have got to move the chains and be productive in the red zone,” Lembo says. “We must eliminate the penalties we had last week because Villanova can really tee off in long yardage situations.”“A big play or two on special teams would help our cause, too,” Lembo said.

Lembo on Villanova:

"It's neat to have two schools this highly ranked,with such great traditions and located just an hour apart getting together,'' Lembo said. ''They're a very good football team. I'd compare them to UConn in terms of talent level of a recent opponent, especially on defense. We're going to have to play a very, very good game and make few mistakes to beat them. They were sensational defensively against Bucknell.''

"From what I've seen on tape, I think this defense is one of the top couple units in the country," Lembo said. "I think many of their players are comparable to the guys we saw at UConn last year and Furman a couple years ago."

Some serious respect from Lembo on the Villanova defense. Clearly the challenge is for our "O" line to contain them.

Interesting notes from Andy Talley:

Villanova coach Andy Talley said that he was pleased with how his offensive line looked in last week's season opener, but that given all of the new faces thrown out there against Bucknell, the Wildcats kept their play-calling conservative.

"You didn't really see a wide open, go get 'em offense," Talley said this week.

That will change tomorrow at Lehigh, Talley suggested, because it has to. Lehigh also knows how to score. Villanova's line was a concern going into the season, and now it is a bigger one.
"We are a little uneasy up front," Talley said.


Talley is uneasy because his most experienced lineman, senior tackle Mike Roseman, has an unexplained medical condition that has him overheating as soon as he starts practicing. Two other starters are back, but one has moved from tackle to guard. A redshirt freshman just back from an injury will start in Roseman's place tomorrow, after a walk-on started against Bucknell. One true freshman already has been thrown out there as a backup.

The Wildcats used more play-action than usual, Talley said, and kept their backs in more to protect Burroughs. Lehigh does more stunting than Bucknell, which won't be anything new to the Wildcats veterans. They see it all the time in the Atlantic Ten.

The view from the nest here is very interesting. Is Talley really going to open up the offense against the Engineers? He may have to, if he is genuinely worried about his offensive line. My take on it is, although the Wildcat "O" line is inexperienced, they had a very good day overall against Bucknell last week (despite some lapses). Talley appears to be concerned about Lehigh's potent front seven.

If I were Lehigh, I wouldn't fall too much for this smokescreen. The "D" line will still have to work hard stop the Villanova offense.

"This is a game that is (between) two very fine academic institutions," Villanova coach Andy Talley said. "It's also terrific for Eastern Pennsylvania football and Pennsylvania football, in general. You have the best I-AA team with the best winning percentage in Lehigh against little, old Villanova, just trying to make it's way up to the stadium and seeing whether we can play those guys."

Don't buy that.

[You're not kidding - LFN.]

Finally, some player quotes from Media Day:

“Obviously we are excited about the opportunity to play a highly nationally ranked team,” [Jason] Morrell said. “The atmosphere at Goodman Stadium should be amazing on Saturday. As far as the mindset going into this week of practice, we are as focused as we are every week; at the same time we realize the importance of this game and understand we need to work much harder than last week in order to compete with Villanova.

“I know that the Lehigh faithful are going to be extremely fired up for this game as we will be. All I would say to the fans is that their involvement in the game is crucial. When 13 or 14,000 people are cheering their hearts out, it gives us a huge advantage as well as getting the team intense and excited.”

"We do have an offense," snapped [Jon] Guynes, Lehigh's tough two-year starter at outside linebacker. "Our offense has been very good in the past. It was Borda's first start and everything. There's an upside to our offense.

"We know our quarterback's going to get that rust off this week."

"For being one of the top teams in the A-10 and ranked among the top 10 in the nation, it's kind of a playoff-caliber game," Lehigh linebacker Anthony Graziani of Pen Argyl said.

"Their skill players are some of the best we'll see this season... "We're going to have to contain them... I know Villanova's defense may be ranked No. 1 in the country right now," Graziani said. "It's definitely a little bonus to us to try to outplay their defense."

"No offense to Coach Lembo," Guynes said, "we always feel like defense wins the game anyway. "We're not going out there saying it's our defense against their defense for macho reasons. They have a lot of speed and talent on offense. We have to go out from the first snap and be physical from the first play of the game."

"Graz"'s comments are pretty standard from Mountain Hawks over the years. OG Jason Morrell's comments seem poised to get a Lehigh/Colgate or Lehigh/Lafayette atmosphere in Murray Goodman this Saturday (which hopefully will be the case).

But LB Jon Guynes, sure, um, has a way with words. Pretty outspoken! Defending the offense, and the defense usually "wins the game anyway"... sounds like the ultimate outspoken general... from World War II.. George S. Patton!

How does Jon "Patton" Guynes sound?

Action item and Must-see TV
WLVT
If you live within the broadcast signal of PBS station WLVT, this Sunday there is a bit of must-see TV at 7:00PM. It's a show called "The Lehigh-Lafayette Legacy" From the WLVT website, it's "a chronicle of the nation's most played college football rivalry. This new documentary features personal stories from players, coaches and families who have left their mark on this historic rivalry."

In addition, if you wish to contibute to WLVT online, click on the link above. It takes you to the WLVT webpage, with a Lehigh/Lafayette scoreboard! You can contribute money, and it will show up on the scoreboard. Make sure Lehigh beats Lafayette.... [again].

On LehighSports.Com there is the official release from the university on this documentary:
Documentary to profile Lehigh/Lafayette rivalry

Finally, a word on... tailgating
The Brown and White had this piece the other day concerning the tailgating practices of... some... Lehigh students this past weekend.
Tailgating signals the beginning of football

If this piece doesn't bring you back to your wild, carefree of Lehigh tailgating, really, nothing will. And was that guy really shotgunning a Coke? Somehow, I doubt it.

However, on line in the piece bothered me:

Next weekend, the drama continues before a home game against Villanova University. Tailgates should be crazy once again. Maybe this time, my friends and I will make it to the game.

Lehigh Football Nation has a name for fans like you, the Pat O'Brien's of the football world. "Gigli's". Yes, named after Ben Affleck's academy-award winning movie, these Affleck wannabes "go" to all the sporting events, but don't ever quite actually make it into the stadium. As long as they're seen, that's all that matters.

Enough words hyping up the game!
Bring on Villanova!

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