Skip to main content

Is It Spring Football Time Already?

Could it already be that time of year? With ice still on the ground, grass still not even close to being ready, bulbs not close to being in bloom? Incredibly, it is. Tomorrow, spring practice starts for the 2007 Mountain Hawks. Every year it's the first peek at what we can hope for in the 2008 season, and (as always) it's the first time the hard-core fans can really start to speculate in earnest how good this football team can be.

Except for the Brown/White game (which is free and open to the public) and the Youth Coaches Clinic on April 14th (where the Lehigh coaching staff offers a coaching clinic ($20) for folks who are interested in football coaching at any level), practices are closed and can only be attended if you have special permission from the athletic department. This year (weather permitting) I hopefully my family and I will be going to the Brown/White game - barring that, I may try to arrange to pop my head in on another practice. We'll see.

The entire schedule is posted in the link above, but I'll also post it here (all dates and times are subject to change do to weather, field condition, etc.):

Thursday, March 22 – 7:30 PM (Ulrich Practice Field)
Friday, March 23 – 9:30 PM (Ulrich Practice Field)
Saturday, March 24 – TBA
Tuesday, March 27 – 4:15 PM
Friday, March 30 – 4:15 PM
Saturday, March 31 – TBA
Monday, April 2 – 4:15 PM
Friday, April 6 – 4:15 PM
Saturday, April 7 – TBA
Tuesday, April 10 – 4:15 PM
Thursday, April 12 – 4:15 PM
Saturday, April 14 - 2:45PM (2007 Spring Lehigh Youth Football Coaches Clinic)
Tuesday, April 17 – 4:15 PM
Thursday, April 19 – 4:15 PM
Saturday, April 21 – Brown and White Spring Game, 1:00 PM (Goodman Stadium)

Most fans seem to be unaware that it's usually the hard work and preparation that starts this week that sets up a successful football season.

What do we have? Who's a lock for a starting position? What positions offer possible battles? Here's my take on the class of 2008 going into the spring football season.

Without a doubt the toughest shoes to fill are in the defensive front seven. Probably the biggest impact players gone are NT Eric Rakus and LB Micah Greene, but other solid performers for us like DT Royce Morgan, DL Paul Fabre, and LBs Matt Mohler, Chris LaMont and Rusty Campion. That's six starters, and one guy (Morgan) who split so much time that he could almost also be considered a starter!

On offense, the biggest losses are RB Marques "Double Deuces" Thompson, our leading rusher from last year, and WRs Lee Thomas and Frank "Al Del Greco" Trovato, our two leading receivers from last year (and our lead punt return specialist). We also are losing at least three "O" linemen that did tough work last year in T Jason Russell and Gs Pete Morelli and Jim Petrucelli, as well as TE Landon Maggs and FB Greg "Grandpa" Fay. Overall, we're replacing potentially 13 starters on both sides of the ball, including some players who have given us a lot of production last year.

Returning for us is senior QB Sedale Threatt, who (like last year) is penciled in as our starting QB (barring injury, of course), and junior WR Sekou Yansane who was starting to emerge as a speed threat on the outside, while senior WR Pete Donchez and junior WR Mike Fitzgerald also return to the receiving corps.. All-Patriot lineman Jimmy Kehs returns in his fourth year at tackle, and returning at running back are a slew of running backs: senior Richard Forman and juniors Matt McGowan and Josh Pastore.

Defensively, the strength is in the defensive backfield, where senior FS Ernie Moore, our leading tackler, returns along with seniors Julian Ahye, Daynin Blake, and Aaron Gilliard - a veteran bunch. After that, though, it's real interesting, with only one junior from the front seven returning: junior DL Brian Jackson.

Punting and kicking duties are also a lock: first team all-Patriot junior P/K Jason Leo returns - although it's possible that he may specialize in one or the other (probably kicking if I had to guess).

The biggest battles will definitely be in the defensive front seven in September. On the line, the junior Brian Jackson has the inside track for a spot, while it will be interesting to see who emerges from a slew of linemen: B.J. Benning, Frank Giacalone, Joe Dancho, Paul Bode, Keith Johnson or Ted Smith.

Linebacker is another area where competition should be fierce. Sophomore LB Matt Cohen seems like a good bet to be in the mix, as well as senior LB Justin Weaver, but you can bet Tobi Showunmi, Tim Diamond, Heath Brickner, Brian Tucker, Dan Parris and Brad Thomas could be looking for spots as well. I can't recall the field ever being so wide-open.

The offense seems largely set, but there are a few places to look for battles: for example, who will be the go-to running back, Matt McGowan or Josh Pastore? Who will be the go-to receiver, Pete Donchez or Sekou Yansane? Who will be the big fullback: Adam Watson or John Piascik? Will Kevin Bayani or Patrick Casey crack the "O" line?

Aaah, spring.


Anonymous said…
I can't be positive, but I thought I heard at the banquet that Rusty Campion was going to have another year....maybe he had an injury year?
Anonymous said…
apparently, Rusty Campion, John Reese, Kyle Adams, Travis Stintson, and Brannan Thomas will all be back for 5th years.
Anonymous said…
Excellent reporting as usual.
That's my boy!
Hugs, Mom

Popular posts from this blog

Nick Shafnisky Is Pushing Hard to Get To Play at the Next Level in Football

"Don't take anything for granted, just keep pushing."
Those are the words of QB Nick Shafnisky, told to The Whitehall-Coplay Press all the way back in 2013, about his preparation as a high school athlete.
And they seem to summarize the Whitehall, PA native perfectly, then as now.
Dubbed the "Male Athlete of the Year" by that publication, the article goes on about Shaf's many exploits at Whitehall high school - leading the Zephyr football team to a co-Lehigh Valley Conference title, becoming the first player ever in that conference to rush and pass for over 1,000 yards, and earning the league's co-MVP award as well.
He also was a member of the Zephyrs playoff basketball team, and for good measure also helped set a record for the 4x100 relay team as well.
At Whitehall, and at Lehigh, coaches pushed him, but it was his own hard work that helped make him the best athlete he could be.
This weekend, Shaf, like every eligible college football player, will be …

#TheRivalry Flashback: November 21st, 1987: Lehigh 17, Lafayette 10

Since becoming an undergrad at Lehigh back in the late 1980s, I first heard about the historic nature of the football team and "The Rivalry" through the stories that fellow students would share.

I did not attend the final meeting between Lehigh and Lafayette at Taylor Stadium, which was the final time a football game would be played there.

Those that did attend said that was that it was cold.

"I remember it being one of the coldest games ever," Mark Redmann recollected, "with strong Northwesterly winds and the temperature hovering around 20.  By the end of the game, the stands were half empty because most of the fans just couldn't take the cold.

"Fortunately, several of my fraternity brothers snuck in flasks to help fend off the chill."

Dominick Bragalone Goes Into Monster Mode As Lehigh Is One Win Away From Title

It has been a most unusual season for Lehigh.

Starting the year off at 0-5 and getting swept in their out-of-conference schedule, the Mountain Hawks were in danger of having their season go off the rails.

But two things have come together over the last five football games that have put Lehigh on the brink of back-to-back championships.

The first is the late blooming of the Lehigh defense, which kept battling every week since the low point of the September 30th loss to Wagner to do the job in four of their five Patriot League conference games. 

The second is the development of junior RB Dominick Bragalone into a bellcow running back, a back who has to be in the conversation for Patriot League offensive player of the year.

In five Patriot League games, Bragalone has run for 863 yards in 5 games, rushing for 11 touchdowns and adding two more receiving touchdowns as well. 

The South Williamsport, PA native certainly wasn't unknown before this week - after all, as a freshman and a sop…