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Press Roundup; Field Condiitons

Word is from Goodman that the field will be soft, but it won't be the chewed-up mess that some fields around the Northeast will be dealing with. At Lafayette, Delaware, UMass and undoubtedly other venues around I-AA, there have been questions as to the conditions at their fields and stadiums.

Delaware had to cancel a home date with Richmond, while UMass's game versus James Madison came very close to cancelling theirs. Lafayette's field was also pretty ripped up, and may be in bad shape for the Harvard game. However, Lehigh's muddy field from last week has been "rolled out", worked over and will be in decent shape (all things considered) this weekend.

Gametime tomorrow may even dry out a bit, should Bethlehem get some sunny weather and some wind. That's the current forecast for the Lehigh Valley - now, let's keep our collective fingers crossed that it holds.

Here's your press roundup for tomorrow.

Allentown Morning Call:
Lehigh Trying To Look Ahead
Easton Express-Times:
Mountain Hawks Ready To Take On All Elements
New Haven Register:
Yale's Stingy Defense Garnering Rave Reviews

"This is a really, really good Yale team," Mountain Hawks coach Pete Lembo said. "They're a handful of plays away from being undefeated."

Just like Lehigh.

"I’ve watched a lot of film [on the Yale defensive front] and remember many of them from last year. They have a very physical front seven and very physical defense overall. They’re very big, very strong and run to the ball well. Certainly their results are very good."

"So far we’ve done what we thought we could do," Yale coach Jack Siedlecki said. "The two defensive ends (senior Brandon Dyches and junior Brendan Sponheimer) are very active and have made several plays for losses. I think people really have to spend a lot of time developing schemes for them to determine how they are going to stop them."

Dyches, who was referred to as "scary" by Dartmouth coach Buddy Teevens prior to last week’s game, leads the team with six tackles for losses and five sacks. He is third with 26 tackles.

"This is a fun defense to play in," said Sponheimer, who has the option to apply for a medical redshirt year. "We really try to hide who is going to drop back and who’s going to rush. It really allows you to play aggressive."

"Brandt is really a guy as active as they are, so if they double up on Brandt, you’re going to get someone free on the edge," Siedlecki said. "If they double up on the edge, Brandt will be free in the middle."

"One of the first things you notice is that the running back is not making it past the first or second level," Yale senior cornerback Matthew Baker said. "That means you don’t have your safeties and corners coming down to make a lot of tackles, or at least not having to make the tackles on their own, which means they’re a little bit more fresh going into the third and fourth quarters.

"We don’t have to worry so much about running backs bouncing off to the outside. "When you don’t have to blitz to get pressure on the quarterback, it makes it a lot easier on coverage because you can drop more people back into coverage."


"Our goal going into the season was to make the national playoffs," Graziani said. "If we would go 9-2, we'd have the hope for an at-large (NCAA) bid. We don't think our chance of winning the league is gone at all. Last week is over with. We have six games left. Those games are more important than any of the games we've played this season. We know our backs are up against the wall now."

"I'm not going to lie, I think about it a lot," senior cocaptain and linebacker Anthony Graziani of Pen Argyl said. "We feel we're one of the best teams. Our record doesn't show that. We're 3-2. With four or five (more) plays, we would be 5-0."

"Going back to the Delaware game, there were four or five plays in the fourth quarter where if we would have made just one of those we would have won the game," said Graziani, the squad's leading tackler and a returning All-Patriot League player. "Against Holy Cross, we didn't seal the deal. Two plays lost us the game."

Coach Lembo said, "It is what it is... You can't change it. You can't go back and play the game again. You can't say 'What if we were on a dry field?' and all those kinds of things. Just as I said last week after we beat Harvard, you can't dwell on a game like this. You have to move on."

"Our defense, by far, played its best game of the year[against Holy Cross]," he said. "We tackled better and ran to the ball really well. We shut down the run against a team that has run the ball well all season. We held them to half of what they've rushed for all year.

"On offense, we ran the ball twice as well as we've been averaging all year and we did it without [fullback] Greg Fay playing [back injury]. Our tailbacks [Eric Rath and Marques Thompson] had their best games of the year. It's important to build on some of the good things and continue to do them well."

"We definitely don't have room for another loss," said Porter, whose 91-yard touchdown catch at Harvard two weeks ago was the second-longest pass play in Lehigh history and had the Mountain Hawks flying high at the time. "If we want to get a national bid, our fate is in our hands."

"I think we're definitely suited for any type of weather," Porter said. "In due time, we'll prove that."


Lembo, concerning Mark Borda's health: "He'll start. I don't think he'll be 100 percent," Lembo said of Borda, by far the league's leading passer while averaging more than 258 yards a game. "He took a real good shot. He had a good day of practice (Tuesday)."


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