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Lafayette 49, Lehigh 27, final

Where to begin?

I'm tossed. Part of me wants to lay into Lehigh's inability to tackle today, and their inability to stop 3rd down conversions. Letting the Leopards drop 49 points on us is something that is incredibly disappointing, with an eye-popping 6-for-6 in the red zone. Not to mention the 466 yards of offense. It was a bad day for us in "The Rivalry" defensively, to put it mildly. I can't remember a day when our defense got such a butt-whoopin'. 1994 leaps to mind - of course, that was the last time Lafayette pounded us in Fisher by scoring more than 40 points. (That game was 54-20.)

Yet, it wasn't 1994. The team didn't simply turn over and play dead down 28-7. They came all the way back and rode the momentum back to 28-27. The team battled back, and that shouldn't be forgotten. Midway through the 3rd quarter, we all had serious hope. There is no doubt about that.

But that was the end of the line. In crunch time, the offense didn't make plays to keep up in the track meet, and the defense, well, was a matador. You don't win many games forcing only 4 incompletions all game while yielding almost 5 yards a carry and trying to arm-tackle 220 pound backs.

Losing to Lafayette is becoming depressingly familiar, and it was clear who the better team was out there. Hint: it wasn't the Brown and White.

There were heroic performances on Lehigh's side that should not go unnoticed. WR Frank "Al Del Greco" Trovato had a great game. QB Sedale Threatt, overall, had a very good day in spots. NT Eric Rakus came out spirited and played like a champion out there. RB Josh Pastore did yeoman's work out there returning kicks. If you look at the drives where we did well, the "O" line made some fantastic holes.

But something keeps rattling inside my head: "YALE". The same inconsistency that was present in the Yale game ultimately reared its ugly head in the most important game of the year. The similarities with both games are eerie. Stomping on the logo and saying, "Our House". Being annihlated off both lines of scrimmage. The only difference was that Lafayette's Brad Maurer is a better QB than Yale's QB Matt Polhemus and they were able to take control in the 3rd quarter and stomp on our throats.

I will hand it to Lafayette - they are a good team. Coach Tavani had their guys ready to play. They executed and made fewer mistakes. They studied the film, knew how to exploit our defense and did so. They were clearly better than us on this day, and our goal in this long offseason really needs to be how to catch them.

Yep, I can't believe I typed it, but there it is. We've lost three straight to Lafayette. I've got some news: We're no longer the hunted. The sooner we realize that we now have to be the hunter, the better off we'll be.

The I-AA Bracket
It' sort of anticlimactic, but I also wanted to put my predictions for tomorrow's I-AA playoff bracket. Lafayette wins the autobid from the Patriot, and my projection is that they will be playing in Amherst next weekend. I don't know if they'll be able to handle mighty UMass, but I think they will get the opportunity to find out.

Coastal Carolina at #1 Appalachian State
Eastern Illinois at Illinois State

Lafayette at #2 UMass
Portland State at Furman

Southern Illinois at #3 Montana
Tennessee-Martin at McNeese State

New Hampshire at #4 Youngstown State
Hampton at James Madison

Comments

Anonymous said…
Lehigh positives: Trovato, Maggs, rushing game (aside from Threatt's runs).

Negatives: Mistakes in bad places, poor tackling, giving up too much room on pass coverage, Threatt trying to do too much.

Lafayette: Proved it had better coaching staff and key players again. Not often a guy can go 20 of 24 in the air.

How it lost five in a row is beyond me.
Anonymous said…
yea how is lafayette 6-5? They looked like a 11-0 team today. Lehigh's defense was never really good but they were decent before today. unbelievable.
LU82Engineer said…
As along time season ticket holder this was a truly frustrating and disappointing year. The team gave us some hope with the chance for a Patriot League title and a spot in the playoffs. But to end the season like this, getting crushed by Lafayette, doesn't leave much to build on going into next yesr.

Our defense was completely dominated and the decision making by the coaching staff was questionable. No pressure on the QB and all those 3rd and long conversions, where were the adjustments? Was Lafayette that much better?

Some things are obvious, we need to big bigger on the OL and DL. We can't compete with teams that are bigger and stronger and have a bruiser in the backfield. We have many great athletes buy you can't teach size.

After this year recruiting will be a problem, especially in the Lehigh Valley and surrounding areas. Not sure where we go from here but next year doesn't look too promising.
Anonymous said…
Lafayette has dictated the tempo of each LU-LC game since Tavani got his program turned around in 2002 (remember the 2003 game was only 16-10 going into the fourth quarter). By the late third quarter and into the fourth (especially the 2002, 2004 and 2006 games) Lehigh was ground down by Lafayette at the end. Lafayette must have viewed the game films from the Lehigh-Colgate game(specifically the fourth quarter). Those crossing patterns were eating Lehigh up alive that day. Lafayette did the same thing all day. I am far from an expert but on any third and long you could expect to see that crossing pattern.

How is Lafayette only 6-5? They were bigger and better than any opponent I saw (Lafayette,all the home games plus Villanova on TV).

All this carping about Sedale is unwarranted. He is a good quarterback and leader. I, for one, is glad he is the QB.
Anonymous said…
Lehigh was owned today. I say that was the upmost respect for a program that prides itself on talking about how it can beat anyone.
The Lehigh D only stopped Lafayette on two occasions, once on a forced fumble (Mauer's was unforced) and the other on a punt.
That all being said, Lafayette let Lehigh hang around until it was 28-27. It should have been 35-14 going into half but it was 28-21.
All of the mo' was going Lehigh's way until the DOINK heard round the world.
For some reason, the missed extra point took all of the juice out of a potential stunning comeback.
I'll give Lehigh some credit for the comeback but we all know who was the dominant team out there.

Tavani just knows how to win this game.
Now we wait to see who Lafayette is the sacraficial lamb for.
Anonymous said…
BTW: When does Coen get fired?
Anonymous said…
As for the commenter talking about the crossing pattern on third and long being there all day. That was simply nothing more than the safety being brought into the box to defend against Hurt.
When you have a running back that can burn the defense like Hurt did today, you have to give up something to stop him, and that was the safety brought into the box, thus leaving the middle of the field wide open all day long.
allen said…
The last thing you will see is coen fired. Not going to happen.
Anonymous said…
Message to Lehigh coaching staff and hopefully to a new defensive coordinator: Scrap the 3-4. You need to have exceptional LB to make it work. Yours aren't. I swear Lehigh's defense gets worse year after year. Time to make some major changes.

And please, will some other richer school hire Tavani away? Lehigh will never beat Lafayette while this guy is over there. Just looking at the guy irritates me, but he's so much more clever than both Lembo and Coen. He actually pays attention to game film.
Ngineer said…
I already gave my two-cents on the game in the comment to the LFN's prior post; however, if we are to compete, re-emphasis on the defense is a must. Championships come with defense. Major re-tooling and coaching needed. The tackling out there was atrocious, not putting any pressure on a good QB like Maurer will always kill you. Can't expect DBs to stay with good receivers more than 3-4 secs.
I said earlier in the week, that Lafayette was better than us on paper-and that was primarily due to the size of their OL. Huge holes and great protection. We lost the battle in the trenches.
Major off-season emphasis on defense is needed. We have decent core coming back on offense, but the defensive side will need major work--physically and philosophically. This was embarrassing.
Go Lehigh TU owl said…
This is by no means the end of the world. I think this year finally made it clear what needs to be done to turn the tide and that is to regain the advantage in the trenches. Lehigh's DL was simply overmatched and the result was no QB pressure, DB's having to cover too long in man coverage, and gaping holes for Hurt. This is not Coens faults nor is the players, Rakus and the rest out there were playing their hearts out and litterally getting the crapped kicked out of them. How many D guys did ya see beat up at the end of the day? This might not be a problem that will be fixed over night but i think the offseason will address it to some extent. There is still a lot of talent and heart on this team and i don't see any 3-8 the sky is falling 2007 season. The team needs to develop an attitude and identity. I think next years team will be better prepared after todays physical beating. REGAIN THE TRENCHES!!!!
Anonymous said…
I was at the game but didn't arrive until the opening kickoff so i knew nothing of the pre-game stupidity until I read the paper this morning.
How the hell are the Lehigh players so stupid to stomp on the Lafayette logo and declare this to be "their house?" No matter what their intentions are, they have to know that is going to insense the other team. Even if you went into the game thinking that the teams were evenly matched or even a little tilted towards Lehigh, why the hell would you want to give Lafayette anything else to get infuriated about?

Just another moronic device from the Lehigh, we don't give respect to any team, playbook.
Whomever thought they should do that should be disciplined, whether it is player (cut) or coach (fired).
LU in NJ said…
>>>>>>>One of the key issues this year has been the 3-4 defense and a soft zone coverage scheme that, in effect, allows a team with a solid running and a controlled passing game to move down the field in a methodical manner.

If laf watched the 2nd half of the Princeton game they would see the model for attacking Lehigh's defense.

If a team makes mistakes/penalties, etc, Lehigh's defense will prevail (and many teams are incapable of consistent sustained drives for all four quarters).

laf took what Lehigh's 3 man d-line/soft zone defense gave them---power runs and controlled passing----and they took it over and over and over again to the point of domination-----while our coaches failed to make ajustments.

The sad part is Lehigh's coaches did not seem able to make ajustments after a game has started-----as witnessed by our weak 3 rd Q performance over most of the year.

Another facter that has bothered me all year was the frequent let-downs by the team----they would start out with intensity and then lapse into flat play for long stretches.

The coaches did not develop the consistent intensity that is needed to beat good teams.

All teams face turnover situations---but when it happened to Lehigh in the first half there was no rising to the occassion. The defense was flat and the team on the bench was flat and the coaches looked shell shocked.

I could care less about stomping on a team's logo---if it helps increae intensity and emotion then go ahead and do it----but back it up with 4 quarters of intense, tough play.

Coaches sometimes send subtle messages about toughness that speak volumnes.

Coen talked all year about establishing the run and having confidence in the run----and then when the laf game is on the line he decides to punt on a 4th and 1 at midfield------which indicated to me that he had no confidence in the team he coached and developed for the past nine mos. to pick up one yd.

A "control" rather than an "attacking" style of defense. Scraping the Air lehigh attacking offense for 3.7 yds and clump of mud offense. A coaching style that does not develop/demand four full quarters of intensity and toughness.

A coach who talks toughness and physical play and then hesitates when the game is on the line.

I hope this was a learning year for Coen, because, in my opinion, he showed very little of the attributes needed to win consistently at the elite I-AA level.
Hawkineer said…
"How the hell are the Lehigh players so stupid to stomp on the Lafayette logo and declare this to be "their house?"
This is B.S. I was watching this specifically because some of the recent incidents at other games. They did not stomp on the L in the middle of the field after warmups. The huddled around the 40 yardline well away from the L. Anyone saying they did so is flat out lying.
Anonymous said…
Except for Travato, a really subpar receiving corp during crunchtime. Threatt made me really happy with his determined 2nd qtr. TD, but not enough fire at times. He needs an OL that can protect him and let him do his thing.

OL and DL got dominated by bigger stronger Lafayette guys. Not much you can say. Need bigger guys.

Not enough fire coming from the DBs and LBs. Lehigh is just not that talented in those areas, but emotion can overcome a lot. None apparent yesterday. Overall, the team needs to stop the logo nonsense and start stomping some opponents in the 4th quarter. Classless exhibition yesterday, and not what LU is about. Leave that to the Towson's of the world.

Here's hoping that Coen learns his lessons well in the offseason.
Ngineer said…
I was there pregame. Couldn't hear what the players were chanting when they huddled up near midfield, but I saw nothing about 'stomping on the logo'. However, IF they were chanting the 'out house' crap, then they should be chastized. We had the same issue at Georgetown with a pregame incident arising out of smack talk. Coaches need to address this--we have NOTHING to be arrogant about. We're the ones looking up now. It always seemed to me the ones who have to talk smack in order to 'get up' are really insecure about their own abilities. Sort of like the bully on the playground--all talk, no action. Let's let our play speak for itself. A little humility is in order at this point...
Anonymous said…
Was at the game, putting up with the usual obnoxious behavior by Laf students. Their alumni were much better behaved than usual, perhaps because they weren't there in high numbers - I counted more Lehi alums outside the 30-yard lines. Shows me that, at a time when the team is struggling for its identity, our alumni support them as strongly as when they are on top. Way to go alums!!!!

As for the team, the running game struggled because the OL is better skilled at pass blocking, a leftover from the Lembo era of pass-pass-pass and occasionally run outside to keep the linebackers honest, then pass some more. The blockers must pick up a whole new skill set, and obviously they are still having troubles doing so at a level to handle a large line like Laf's. Next year will be better with more experience and practice.

Threatt was good, came out in his zone, better than in prior games and not trying to take the world on his shoulders. The receivers were better than I expected (Thomas and especially Trovato showed their talent, and Fitzgerald has a future with this team). Must remember taht laf's secondary is quick if not particularly skilled, and can often get to the ball faster than our receivers (case in opint - the interception that ended the game with 2 minutes remaining).

I like the 3-4 defense for one reason: it's so hard at this level to recruit competent DLs. You're lucky anymore to get three good bodies out there. Lehi has Rakus and then a big dropoff in performance (recognizing that Morgan isn't the same since his injury and is playing on sheer guts and know-how).

No, my complaints are with the LBs, who did nothing as a group to show me that they were quality 1-AA players - much too flat-footed and slow to react to a speedback like White or a shifty runner like Hurt. The DBs were inconsistent - Austin made some great plays but also a couple of misses.

Not upset with the sets - Dennis K. is a smart fellow and is doing the best he can with less-than-perfect material. I saw yesterday a significant difference in natural talent between the offense and defense - an ugly reminder of the Hank Small era. That's why, in my opinion, we can score 4 touchdown and still get decisively beaten.

Coen is stuck with what he inherited on this team; all his coaches can do is try to get the best out of the material they were handed and recruit like mad to get some better players in here.

And for you Lembo fans --- 10-49 yesterday is worse than 27-49.
Anonymous said…
I really don't want to nitpick, but I'm not sure the previous poster knows who Fitzgerald is. He dropped two easy balls yesterday in crucial situations and has done it throughout the year. The fact that Sedale oftens flings the ball waaaaaaay too hard can excuse some of the drops but a big-time receiver would catch a few of them.

And as far as Sedale goes, the guy has a serious case of happy feet out there. Someone needs to teach this guy how to look for this secondary and tertiary options before he takes off running.

Unlike most of you I'm not all that excited about next year or even the year after. Because Lehigh took so damn long to name Coen as coach they pretty much threw away their 2010 recruiting class. This Spring is when Andy will finally get to select the guys he really wants instead of picking from the letovers.
Anonymous said…
Fitzy broke his finger...try catching a Sedale rocket with 9 fingers...4 on your dominant hand. Fitzy is fantastic and all the naysayers will be loving him the next two years.
Lehigh74 said…
This post is a response to LU in NJ and his consistent harping that all Lehigh needs to do to get things turned around is to go back to, "Air Lehigh". Although, I respect your opinion,I couldn't disagree with you more. Do you remember when Hank Small was head coach? He had a brilliant offensive mind when it came to designing a passing offense. During his years as coach we could pass with any team in the country. Did we win? The answer is no. Football games are won in the trenches which is why Lehigh lost to Lafayette. Finesse is nice but it doesn't win football games. Since he became head coach Andy Coen has preached that Lehigh needs to get stronger and tougher and frankly I think the man is right. Let's see what he can do on the recruiting trail. If Tavani can turn around a moribund Lafayette program, Coen should be able to turn around a not so moribund Lehigh program.
LU in NJ said…
>>>>>>>Well, Air Lehigh wasn't perfect, but it proved to be a great offense the last eight yrs as Lehigh had it's best yrs in the history of the school------and, as I mentioned, I also prefer an attacking defense.

There is nothing "soft" about an offense that spreads the field and throws the ball 45% of the time----thats right, check the stats and you'll see Air Lehigh ran more than passed.

Lehigh din't win a min. of 8-11 per season the last eight yrs by being soft----they ran the ball 55% of the time and they played solid defense-----they even held I-A Conn to under 49 pts.

Regardless of my personal preferences, the facts are that the Air Lehigh offense was one of the most consistently prolific offenses in I-AA history.

Coen can change it if he wants to, but the switch this yr to 3.7 yds an a clump of mud was not encouraging---we scored far fewer points than past yrs and lost more games.

Of course I want a tough, hard nosed team, but after preaching and coaching for a year, Coen hesitates and then elects to punt from midfield on a 4th and 1 with the game on the line.

He had a full year to get this team ready, both physically and mentally, to gain that one yd vs laf with the game on the line and, in my opinion, he failed by electing to punt. If your not confident you can gain a yd, then run play action and throw the ball off the fake. But, to me, punting was a vote of no-confidence by the coach in his kids and his system.

Coen is a work in progress. He had definite ideas, which he implemented, and many people are still touting his coaching ability.

His run oriented offense and 3-4 soft zone defense produced a 6-5 team with an experienced, senior dominated team, so I'm not convinced Coen has all the answers.

I'm a realist-----Air Lehigh worked.
hawkineer said…
Some feedback to LU in NJ, we get it - you miss Air Lehigh, you hate 3.7 yards and a clump of mud/dust, Coen's no good, team's no good, defense is soft, gas costs too much, global warming's a problem, yada-yada-yada. Why not just reference your other twenty posts stating this all year on this blog or on the voya board? Geez, try working on another original thought or angle.
andy said…
anonymous 3:19:

"Was at the game, putting up with the usual obnoxious behavior by Laf students. Their alumni were much better behaved than usual, perhaps because they weren't there in high numbers - I counted more Lehi alums outside the 30-yard lines".

A little bitter are ya, pal? Counting alumni? I guess you couldn't bear to watch what was happening on the field.

"Coen is stuck with what he inherited on this team; all his coaches can do is try to get the best out of the material they were handed and recruit like mad to get some better players in here".

Yeah, that's some "strong alumni support". I'm sure the kids appreciate it.

Several classy LU fans left congratulatory comments on the LC board. They were appreciated. Unfortunately, the image LC alums have of Lehigh "fans" is that of pompous, front running, sense of entitlement, sore loser types like you.
Anonymous said…
the area we hurt the most was at the D-back postions.They would let the receivers make the catch and then make the tackle--never made any plays on the ball-- very weak
Anonymous said…
Again, in reponse to the immediately preceding post, once you start running effectively, as Lafayette did, you can't defend the pass as well because you are putting one more into the box. Thus, the players could only be tackled, not the passes to be defended.
Anonymous said…
Response to LUinNJ:

If you had any idea about the game of football, you would have immediately realized that the reason Andy didn't go for it on 4th and 1 at the 48ish, is that he had no confidence in the defense. Make no mistake, I thought he should have gone for, but when your defense can't put in a stop, it becomes very risky to turn the ball over in your own territory.
LU in NJ said…
>>>>That is an absurd comment----If Coen has no confidence in the defense he developed and coached for the past year then he sure as heck should have tried to keep the offense on the field----especially since the offense had already put 4 TDs on the board.

We were down 8 pts at the time----and we sure weren't going to catch-up by punting the ball away.

It was a critical point in a still winnable game. Time to either step up and show that all Coen's talk about developing a physical team was ready to pay off or, to be imaginative and run a play fake with Sedale running a bootleg and/or passing the ball.

Lehigh needed to be aggressive and keep the momentum going on offense if we were to have any chance to win that game.

Instead, we put our tail between our legs and punt so we could put our defense back on the field.

The offense was playing well and the defense wasn't----it makes no sense to pull the offense off the field and turn things back over to the defense in that situation.

And we all saw how that strategy worked out.
Anonymous said…
LU in NJ - you're an idiot. Go away.
Anonymous said…
responding to LU in NJ
this isnt the Colts or some great offense. Picking up 4th and 1 is no garentee. Lafayette's DL was much better than our OL so therefore Lehigh would prolly of had to throw for it. Coen made the correct call by punting. The defense got them in 3rd and longs (3rd and 13 i think on that drive), just Mauer and crew converted.

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