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Princeton 14, Lehigh 10, final

I didn't watch this game yet. It's likely I'll be watching it at some point tomorrow - all I have seen is the box score as of this point. I was at the 37-7 drubbing for Fordham by Columbia instead.

But that won't stop me from making a few observations.

1) Now, Bucknell (very surprisingly) is beating Cornell right now 20-3, but the Ivies spanked us this week. At best the Patriot League will be 2-5 against the Ivies.

Guess what that means? The Patriot League, as a whole, is simply not a great league this year. Look at the facts. Two wins against lower-tier Ivy teams. One A-10 victory by Lehigh against Villanova who is now sitting at 0-3. The PL will have (at best) six out of conference wins. One against 0-3 Villanova, three NEC wins, and (at best) two weak Ivy wins. We are going to be a one-bid conference come playoff time, and that team will probably be playing Thanksgiving weekend at New Hampshire.

2) I was trying to say that Princeton is a good team. Unfortunately, now we know for sure. But it looks like we thought we could run over Princeton. At the end of the first half, 21 seconds, rather than go for the FG, we try to get 4th-and-1. We didn't get it.

Then, in the beginning of the second half, Hughes did a "typical Hughes drive". He went with the passing game and got a quick TD. Then, they got a big INT after our drive, and then drove the length of the field to score. 14-10.

The 4th quarter sounded crazy with tunovers. We couldn't capitalize on turnovers, and we made penalties that killed ourselves. The trend is becoming: we continue to make killer penalties and turnovers that kill us in big spots.

3) The era of expecting 11-0 and 10-1 records every year is over. It's not coach Coen's fault, or Lehigh's fault, or grant-in-aid's fault. All up and down I-AA, the old saw "any given Saturday" holds very true. We've been spoiled as Lehigh fans in the Higgins and Lembo eras, expecting 11-0 and 10-1 every year. Simply, the world has changed. The Ivy league and NEC have gotten better. It's not a scholarship thing - do you honestly think the NEC's first scholarship class of 8 athletes made one whit of difference? - it's just the reality that the have's and have-nots have become much closer.

Albany is up 17-3 on full-scholarship Delaware at halftime. The Ivies don't have scholarships, but are attracting better and better athletes every year. Lehigh used to dominate them - those days are over.

4) Give this team some time. I don't like this loss any more than you, but the team you're seeing now will not be the team you see in Patriot League play. Coach Coen needs the time to make it happen, and we're going to have to give them time to work it out.

Tune in tomorrow. I'm pretty disappointed in the loss - believe me - but I think we need to face some facts about the Patriot League, our expectations, and our beloved Hawks. It's time to let go of the past.


allen said…
what you say about the world changing is absolutely true, the competition is much tougher. But the fact remains that without the stupid penalties and the missed field goal, Lehigh probably would have won.
hawkineer said…
The only point that I do agree with is that the P.L. is very poor this year. It will be a disaster for whoever has the "pleasure" of travelling to Durham in November.

However, it is important to remember that the P.L. has never been a very balanced league. So days like this were not unheard of in the past. The difference is that the upper echelon of the P.L. owned the Ivies. Colgate and Lehigh went years without losing.

It also important to remember that many of LU's games against the Ivies during the glory years were difficult (OT win against Princeton, 48 yard FG to beat Columbia, comeback wins to beat Harvard/Yale).

Therefore, there is certainly not enough evidence to support your overall premise regarding the rise of the Ivies.

LU hasn't lost to an NEC team until this year or to an Ivy since 2003. Even that loss was to a very good Penn team. All of a sudden they are recruiting equivalent athletes and the playing field is getting more level. I think a better argument is that LU's program has taken serious steps backwards this year and is now equivalent to a mid-pack Ivy League team. Quite frankly, any of the recent LU teams would have easily handled this Princeton team today. They were not that "good".

I would suggest that you watch the replay before drawing conclusions. After doing so, a more rationale conclusion is that LU is just not as good as they used to be. PERIOD.
Ngineer said…
Good teams don't make the mistakes I saw out there today. Yes, there is some talent. But talent, without discipline, gets thrown out the window-just like in life.
There were absolute brain cramp type penalties taken that literally killed scoring drives. The erratic play is troublesome. You never know what to expect. This was the THIRD game of the season. I just got the sense that the early success came too easily and, mentally, we didn't take Princeton seriously, thinking we were alot 'better'. Well, individual talent-wise we may be. But not as a team. Princeton made some offensive adjustments at the half that we were unable to handle until two long TD drives were over. As was pointed out, a lot of Lehigh's success against the Ivies over the past 10 years was in very close games. Now we're losing those close games simply because of all the mistakes. Leo has now missed 3 short field goals in two games--and today's were critical. Does he not have any competition? Thomas our #1 receiver and returning senior made two HUGE motion penalties that were devastating. At WR I see no reason for this to happen. He can see when the ball is snapped. To me, it's a lack of focus and coupled with the drops last week at 'nova I'm concerned something's going on there that the Coach needs to address.
Luckily, it appears to be a year where we're not alone in having a lot of kinks to work out. We're not very good right now, but neither are a lot of other teams. Lafayette, after looking like a steamroller at Bucknell, laid a huge egg in their new digs today.
It will take winning the championship this year for anyone to make the playoffs.
This was more disappointing than Albany, because the weather clearly hurt us more than the Danes by negating our speed against their size. Plus, Albany is beating Delaware in the second half. Even if UD comes back, it shows UA aint chopped liver. But today we went against a team with a very inexperienced front-yet in the fourth quarter they jammed it down our throats for three first downs when we knew they were going to run and we couldn't stop. I gotta stop....
Anonymous said…
>>>>>>>I listened for 5 years as any number of fans hammered Lembo for every possible shortcoming-----including the unpardonable sin (to some jaded fans) that our winning margins weren't large enough.

All three games were winnable, yet we're 1-2.

The mistakes have been numerous, especially undisciplined penalties, clock mgmt and play calling were highly questionable today, the team was terribly flat starting the 3rd Q and the defense came up short in the last two minutes at gut check time.

This team is very similar to the team the last half of last year---after Bordna was hurt-----but the results are dismal so far.

Let's be honest, right now this isn't a very well coached team.

Princeton made offensive ajustments at halftime and it looked like Lehigh took a nap and came out flatter than a pancake.

I truely hope things improve and this is simply Coen learning the demands of head coaching.

It's nice that the kids like him,------- but it would be better if the kids played hard nosed, disciplined, focused, football for four full Quarters.

Right now the coaching staff is not coming close to getting maximum performance from this team.

I'll give Coen some leeway for a transition period, but he should be held to the same overall criteria as the previous coach---who certainly wasn't perfect but he knew how to win 75% of his games.
Anonymous said…
Just curious - why do you call Cornell a "lower tier Ivy"? They were picked for 4th in the official Ivy poll(ahead of Princeton I might add). They return 13 starters from a 6-4 team (4-3 Ivy) that finished strong, including a dominating win at Penn in their finale. Can you consider the possibility that Bucknell played well?
Go Lehigh TU owl said…
I was never a pro-Lembo or anti-Lembo guy but i always thought he deserved more respect than he got. I also said "be careful what you wish for" because things might come back and haunt you. The only thing that turned me somewhat off of him is the rumors of the players disatisfaction with him. With that said his teams were always prepared to play with the exception of the 2004 Lafayette game. That's one game in 5 years. Three games into the 2006 season and there's been 2 games already when the team looked lost and un-prepared. Even so i believe Coen is a good coach and is not "over his head". He needs to assert leadsership and discipline to this team first and formost. You can't beat yourself as much if not more than your opponent is. It is my belief execution falls on the players and penalties and game management is strickly on the coaches. Lembo couldn't break up that pass in the Lafayette or HC game or kick the extra point against Delaware but he made sure penalties and such didn't cost them the game. Coen needs to get down to the nitty gritty over the next two weeks for this team to have a chance against Harvard. Get the entire team on the same page and stress smart fundamental football first and foremost. He also needs to get on his players. Go over to the bench and spit in their face if he has to, show some emotion on the sideline. People got on Lembo because he wasn't fire and brimstone but atleast he interacted with the team throughout the course of the game. This is obviously a much larger learning curve for Coen than anyone could have expected. Before you can run a 4.3 40 you first need to learn how to crawl.
Anonymous said…
I saw the game in person. I have to agree with the commenters on all points.

Many seniors are starting on this team, so they need to step up and take leadership roles. That is Coen's prime responsibility now - to motivate the student leaders to take charge of the team's spirit. The frequent and stupid penalties show me that the players' heads aren't in the game for the full 60 minutes. They seem to lose their focus easily. Although the coaches can be in their faces on the sidelines, the players still have to get the job done while on the field. This I don't see happening yet.

Yes, Coen was outcoached by a savvy veteran (Roger Hughes). Wait until he runs up against Biddle, Tavani, Siedlecki and their staffs. But we have to be careful putting too much blame on the rookie coach. The players have to come through when called on.

I think Coen's primary focus this year will need to be on mental preparation and game management rather than Xs and Os expertise. I doubt that he expected that when he took the job. Whether this is a new problem or something latent from past years that has just exposed itself, I'm not sure (I'll keep my suspicions to myself). But it is something the captains and Andy will have to work out within the "open date" break.
Anonymous said…
the bottom line of that game was that it is totally unacceptable for lehigh to be 0-2 at home. They have lost to two teams that in the past they would of won by 3 touchdowns. I understand that this isnt the great lehigh of the past but, lehigh still needs to win all non conference games execpt to top Ivys and A-10 teams. Ill give Coen a little bit of break. He cant blame this one on the weather like Albany. Lehigh got totally outplayed from the 2nd quarter through the 4th. I think some chances need to be made. Coen needs to bench some players that havent been focused. Make them understand that they must preform well to start. Also, where has Breddan Thomas been? I have seen him on kick returns and 3 offensive plays a game. He is one of lehigh's best all around players. HE MUST PLAY SOMEWHERE. I dont care if it is at corner, saftey, wr, some where. I want to see more of Pastrone. He was recuirted to play at kent st for a reason. All and all lehigh is 0-0 in the catorgy that matters the most, conference record. If coen can wint he PL ...I dont care bout these 2 games. BUT, he doesnt, we got problems.
Anonymous said…
I cannsee ue dinet go too lehigh

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