Skip to main content

News, Position Battles, and Injuries

The biggest news out of this weekend was not the issuance of my new T-shirt line for the Lehigh/Villanova game, the new poll for Murray Goodman's 20th Anniversary (scroll down on the left-hand side) here on the blog, or the impending issuance of the College Sporting News football preview issue.

Without a doubt, the big story was concerning the injuries after the first week of practice - some minor dings, but at least one big one that shakes up the depth chart.

Placed innocuously in Keith Groller's latest blog posting on the Morning Call, he drops this bombshell:

Most notable were injuries that sidelined both tailbacks Matt McGowan and Josh Pastore. McGowan's injury was more serious, a torn hamstring. It's expected to keep him out of the Sept. 8 opener against Villanova and could hamper him for weeks beyond that. The former Hazleton star was set for a breakout season and this injury is not a good way to get things started.


So starting tailbacks #1 and #2 were held out this weekend. Pfffffff. That sure doesn't make me feel good. I was counting on McGowan (who transferred here from Richmond) to be a major factor in this year's offense after sitting behind RB Marques "Double Deuces" Thompson last year. That's not to take anything away from (now likely) starter junior RB Josh Pastore (who transferred here from Kent State) who also has the capability to be a good starting back, but McGowan's rushing will be missed - and it without a doubt shakes up the depth chart.

We do have a decent #3, it must be mentioned, in senior RB Richard Forman, and I've often wondered how he could do given the chance, but after that there are (count'em) three freshmen on the depth chart: RB Kwensi Kankam, RB Jay Campbell, and RB Jaren Walker. (Sophomore RB Sean Parrott, who had a nice spring game, quietly is not listed in the current roster.) In the official wrapup of the week's practice, coach Coen singled out Walker as one of the kids that did well during the first week:

Coen mentioned several freshmen that have stuck out thus far, including offensive lineman Will Rackley, running back Jaren Walker, wide receiver Travis Artim, and defensive back Jerard Cribbs. Walker looked impressive throughout Saturday’s scrimmage, bruising his way to positive gains all afternoon long, while Rackley has more than held his own going against the upperclassmen defensive linemen.

And from Keith Groller's blog:

Coen ticked off the names of several freshmen: DBs John Kennedy and Jerard Cribbs; WRs Travis Artim and Craig Zurn (from Whitehall and Jim Thorpe respectively), RBs Kwesi Kankam and Jaren Walker, and offensive linemen Ricky Clerge and William Rackley who have all played well and appear ready to contribute immediately.

Which leads to another interesting position battle where a freshman could, just could, make a difference: the right side of the "O" line. Freshmen OL William Rackley (6'3, 270) and OL Ricky Clerge (6'3, 285) evidently made some noise and makes you wonder - could they challenge for a starting or backup spot? There's a logjam of other players there competing for time, notably sophomore OL Frank Giacalone, junior OL Chris Tiefenthal, senior Chris Sutherland, and junior OL Alex Kuziel. Who will end up starting for the Villanova game?

Overall, though, the mounting injuries are a concern. With the exception of the McGowan injury, all the other ones appear to be smaller ones that should be healed by opening day. But that's not to say that the injuries are not a big problem. They are:

The injury list was such a concern that Coen was reluctant to even name about four or five starters for the Villanova game. He said that if the Villanova game was on Sept. 1, when most teams open, Lehigh wouldn't nearly be ready. So, maybe, the bye week coming on Week 1 will be beneficial after all. “The effort has been good throughout and the kids have been working hard, but I am not pleased with the amount of injuries we’ve had,” Coen said. “Due to the injuries, a lot of other guys have gotten many reps, but they start to wear down after awhile.”
There's some more important positional information that will be coming out of this camp: who the starting linebackers will be; the starting defensive linemen; the receiving corps; and who will end up starting at fullback. But getting healthy is the top priority at this point.

Thank goodness we're starting September 8th.

Comments

Lehigh 74 said…
In addition to Parrot, there was another running back named Moore who played a lot and ran hard in the spring game. He also does not appear on the fall roster.

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…