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Weekend Practice, and Coaches' Clinic, Big Success

You might think that the following picture of football coaches might be from a Notre Dame, Army or Navy spring practice. Think again: this photo (courtesy of the Morning Call) is actually rising sophomore QB Chris Bokosky showing his footwork at Murray Goodman this past Saturday at the coaching clinic/spring practice at Lehigh this past weekend.

According to this article from the Morning Call, nearly fifty coaches came to hear coach Coen and Lehigh assistant coaches talk about coaching fundamentals, and in the words of coach Coen "[to get] better at helping their kids".

Here's some love from the article:

"The thing I want to get across is how important it is to create an environment where the kids enjoy playing the game. That's what I've tried to do here. At the youth level, there are kids who want to be there and others who mom and dad are making go. Those are the kids who need to be convinced that this can be fun. It doesn't always have to be war, or surgery."

All feedback from the youth coaches was positive.

''I grew up with [offensive line coach] Brett Sawyer and they do a great job. These coaches are incredibly accessible. They're willing to take their time and talk shop with you while never talking down to you. You can tell they have a passion for what they do. So much coaching at our level is keeping it fun and that's what the Lehigh coaches preach.''

For Lehigh, which is beginning the final week of spring drills, the clinic broke up the day-to-day grind and returned the coaches and participating players to their football roots.

''A lot of the coaching clinics are geared for a higher level and talk a lot about schemes, but we want to teach fundamentals here,'' said Scheier, Lehigh's receivers coach who is the clinic's director. ''We talk about blocking and tackling, throwing and catching.

Great stuff as the anticipation really starts to build for the Brown/White game this weekend (1PM start; admission is free). Some more hints on what to expect on Saturday and this fall as the Lehigh website posted an update from spring ball:

Throughout the spring the Mountain Hawks have continued to work on re-building both the offensive and defensive lines, as well as working on third-down and goal-line situations. “We began our goal-line situations yesterday (Thursday),” Coen explains, “I think the defense was better than the offense, and during our red-zone drills the opposite was true. But typically that’s the case. It’s important to continue to see improvements and get a lot of guys reps out there.”

Lehigh’s rising sophomore class, taking part in their first set of collegiate spring practices, have all adjusted well according to Coen, and several have stood out with their performance. “Our sophomore class of linebackers has pleased me with their development. Heath Brickner has done a very nice job throughout the spring and made a real push, as has Al Pierce. Matt Cohen continues to improve, and Tobi Showunmi has done some good things out there.” He continues, “B.J. Benning has worked his way into some playing time along the defensive line and Darrel Ray, who made the switch to defensive tackle, has done a nice job as well.

He adds, “We’ve seen very good competition at both the fullback and back-up quarterback positions, and I expect that to continue here through the last week. I would also like to see the lines gel some more and have another wide receiver or two step up.”

I don't think anyone who followed Lehigh last year could deny that the red-zone drills are a welcome sight - several games probably could have been won if we have put in six instead of three. But the real interesting information came about the defense, where it looks like we might have a young, talented front seven that is having a good spring. It's heartening that our sophomore "fab four" linebackers (Brickner, Pierce, Cohen, Showunmi) are meriting mention. Add to that junior LB Tim Diamond, senior LB Rashaun Gasaway, and 5th year LBs Rusty Campion and Travis Stinson, and that could spell a particularly fearsome mix at linebacker next fall. We should have more depth there than I can ever remember.

Also good to see another LFN fave, sophomore DT B.J. Benning, pushing for time on the "D" line with converted sophomore LB Darrell Ray possibly joining him.

I'm hoping to be at the Brown/White game this weekend. Should be exciting!


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