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Sunday's Word: Trust

Well, kids, this weekend we didn't only learn coach Coen's message to the team this week, we also learned about the strange world of I-AA football.

Coach Coen's pregame speech this Saturday involved trust. Trust in each other, trust in the program, trust in the coaching staff and everything will turn out alright. Awfully hard to argue against it last week. As a result, Lehigh got the sort of big-ticket win they have been looking for with a 31-28 win over Villanova, where a lot of kids did a lot of things right. It was far from perfect, but coming back from three deficits and coming on top showed a lot. A lot. The CN8 announcers were thinking Villanova would blow them out midway through the second quarter - Lehigh proved them wrong.

Elsewhere around I-AA, we also learned to trust that it's early in the year, and strange things happen in college football.

Fordham, who looked so bad against Monmouth in Week 1, turned around and beat Albany, who beat us last week. (No team needed that win more last weekend than Fordham.)

Most folks thought I-A Northwestern would pound the A-10 favorite, New Hampshire, this weekend. UNH didn't just beat the Big 10 school, they CRUSHED them, 34-17.

Montana State, who shocked I-A Colorado of the Big 12 last week, then inexplicably failed to show up against D-II Chadron State, losing 35-24. Of the (I think unprecedented) eight I-AA schools that lost against D-II competition, the other shocker was Northern Iowa getting upended by D-II North Dakota 35-31 as well.

If you add to this mix Monmouth's decisive win over full-scholarship Morgan State of the MEAC 26-9, and Central Connecticut State's shock win at Georgia Southern 17-13, and you begin to see that nobody is safe from an upset. You tend to forget about an upset to Albany when you see two Top 10 teams losing to D-II schools, and another Top 25 school beaten by a NEC team offering just about the same number of scholarships.

The story in I-AA is that scholarships don't matter. You have to come to play every week, or you'll be next. Don't look at D-II or NEC teams and say they're inferior. They're not. They can and will beat you. Trust that every week, you have to come to play.

For Lehigh, the key is to continue to improve and not let the Albany game impact anything. Next week is Princeton, and undoubtedly you will discover, like I have, that this is an excellent team that beat Lafayette last year and has the talent to not only win the Ivy but to beat Lehigh off the line physically as well. They will be a new challenge next week. The trick will be to not get such a big head after Villanova that they make Princeton next week into, if you will, Chadron State.

If we're to win championships, we've got to look even better next week against Princeton. Celebration time for the Villanova game is over. Preparation for Princeton begins now.


Anonymous said…
Amen Brother, Amen!
Drunken Engineer said…
I'll drink to that!!!!

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