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Patriot League Picks, Week 5 (and Mash-Up)

Another impossible week of work, writing, and family stuff is finally done. Sometimes I wish I had 99 teammates at my side doing this - it can be grueling, more grueling than you could ever imagine. But tomorrow, I'll be heading over to Murray Goodman Stadium to see some friends, enjoy some food, and watch Lehigh play some football on what is shaping up to be a perfect afternoon for football.

If you can't make it to the stadium, it will be on Service Electric 2 in the Lehigh Valley and AM 1230/1320 in the Lehigh Valley. And if you can't get it there, it will be on Lehighsports.com for listening or viewing.

A while ago, I promised my "30 Year Lehigh Team", and I wanted to present my interpretation of that team now, the day before the 1977 Lehigh team that won the Division II National Championship is to be honored at halftime (on "Community Day" at Murray Goodman). Keep in mind that this team came about from myself and the suggestions of a lot of the Lehigh fan community, so it's as much yours as it is mine. So I present: the Lehigh Football Nation 30 year team:

OFFENSE:
QB: Phil Stambaugh ('00), Mike Rieker ('78)
RB: Rabih Abdullah ('97), Rod Gardner ('78)
FB: Brett Snyder ('00), Greg Fay ('06)
TE: Adam Bergen ('04), Mark LaFair ('94)
WR1: Rennie Benn ('86), Steve Kreider ('79), Deron Braswell ('99), Horace Hamm ('92)
WR2: Brian Klingerman ('96), Josh Snyder ('02), Dave Cecchini ('95), Mark Yeager ('81)
C: Jeff Santacroce ('03), Dave Whitehead ('86)
G: Joe Uliana (’87), Brian McDonald (’00), John Babb (’01), Jason Morrell (’04)
T: Dave Melone (‘79), Mark Orcutt (‘78), Oscar Guererro (’04), Ray Powers (’94)

DEFENSE:
DE: Nick Martucci (’99), Mike Gregorek (’04), Mike Crowe (’81), James Rovito (’86)
DT: Mike Kosko (’87), Wes Walton (’85), Eric Yaszemski (’80) Andy Kosko (’90)
OLB: Jim McCormick (’80), James “Bubba” Young (’01), Anthony Graziani (’05), Ian Eason (’00)
ILB: John Shigo (’84), Bryant Appling (’01), Tom McGeoy (’04), Bruce Rarig (’81)
DB: Matt Salvaterra ('03), Lawrence Williams (’04), Andrew Nelson ('06), Abdul Byron ('02), Jason Mack ('94), Kaloma Cardwell ('05), Neal Boozer-Gallman ('05), Sam Brinley ('99)

SPECIAL TEAMS:
P Kyle Keating ('03), Ben Talbott ('97)
K Erik Bird ('92), Jaron Taafe ('01)
RS: Ron Jean ('00), Gerran Walker ('06)

Patriot Predictions
These are cross posted at the College Sporting News, and in addition this week there's a huge development regarding the expansion of the FCS playoffs to 18 teams in 2007 - something you'll not want to miss.

No. 22 Yale over Holy Cross
Fitton Field hasn’t been the place for classic Crusader football games since the 1980s, but that will undoubtedly change this week as undefeated Yale take on a Holy Cross team that is uneasily wearing the crown of Patriot League frontrunner. Crusader quarterback is coming off a 300 yard performance in a complete domination of Georgetown 55-0, while runningback Mike McLeod was similarly dominant in a 51-13 drubbing of Cornell. Holy Cross does it through the air, and McLeod does it on the ground. If the Crusaders jump out to an early lead and force some turnovers, Holy Cross should win this game; but I really like how Yale matches up with Holy Cross’ defense, and that their veteran offense rarely makes big mistakes. As long as the Bulldogs don’t get killed in the battle of special teams, and are able to do what they do, they should manage to win this game.
Elated Elis 38, Irritated Inquisitors 35

Colgate over Fordham
Two enigmatic teams meet in Hamilton, NY in a game which will propel one team into the Patriot League title discussion and rack the losing side with questions. Fordham’s questions are easy: will the version of runningback Xavier Martin that showed up in the Columbia game (157 yards, 3 touchdowns) appear, or will the version that showed up last week (43 yards, 1 touchdown)? As for Colgate, they had one extra week to contemplate their miracle 28 point come-from-behind victory over Dartmouth, 31-28. Can either team get anything consistent going on either side of the ball? Give the edge to Colgate, who has the one consistent weapon on both teams: runningback Jordan Scott.
“Don’t Call Me Michael” Jordan’s Raiders 24, Xavier “Don’t Call Me Cugat” Martin’s Rams 7

Cornell over Georgetown
Personally, I don't see how the Hoyas recover gracefully from their 55-0 drubbing from Holy Cross last week. The Big Red, considered by some to be a contender for the Ivy League title (well, maybe now not so much after thier 51-13 pasting by Yale), are a pretty good team that - unfortunately - should be able to take care of the Hoyas.
Chewing Gum 35, Hoya Not So Saxa 16

Bucknell over Marist
Marist's "Theater Of Pain" tour continues, as Bucknell will right the ship this week.
Thundering Bison 45, Redd Foxes 7

Game Writeups
Morning Call: Fitzgerald Making Most Of Opportunity
Express-Times: Fitzgerald Is Key Target
Brown & White: Hawks Look To Continue Hot Streak
Lehighsports: Center Of Attention
Harvard Crimson: Crimson, Mountain Hawks Meet Again

Press Mash-Up
Those twisting, leaping, lunging grabs that would make anyone's highlight reel have become second nature for Mike Fitzgerald.

And while other receivers at Lehigh University have celebrated bigger plays, touchdown catches and crowd-pleasing tricks, Fitzgerald is quickly emerging as the steadiest pass catcher of them all.

"Any type of catch is just what I'm trying to make," said Fitzgerald. "When the ball's behind you, you don't really think about it too much. There's not really much to it when you're doing it. When I don't think about it and throw my hands up at the last second, I find it's kind of easier than a routine catch."


"It's a role you have to take on," Fitzgerald said of his increasing involvement in the offense. "It's an honor to be in the position I'm in."

"We tease him," Lehigh coach Andy Coen said, "he makes the harder catches look easy and the easier catches look hard.

"He's a guy I'm really happy to see having the success he's had. Mike was really coming into his own last year, had a really bad hamstring pull that basically ended his season. He's very shifty, he's got some big-play potential. He makes plays."


*******************************************


“John Reese is a pretty quiet kid,” said Mountain Hawks head coach Andy Coen. “But he really works hard and is a fierce competitor, and I think he receives a lot of respect from his peers because of the way he holds himself. His teammates voted him as their captain because he comes to play every week and leads by example. They look up to him.”

Coen has done a lot to change the mentality of the Lehigh offensive line. “We’re still a work in progress,” he said. “But when I came here, I looked at the tape of our line and I realized the guys weren’t being taught how to run-block. They were used to a different philosophy of protecting the quarterback, and so we wanted to change that. Our linemen bought into that strategy from the beginning, and it’s starting to work for us. And since the leaders like John have stuck around and changed their play, we’re going to get even better as the season continues.”

Reese was thankful for the change. “As offensive linemen, we really enjoy going out and hitting somebody, especially when the run game is working,” he said. “It’s great to have Coach Coen here since he was a lineman, and he knows what we go through to get ready to play. Coach is a great competitor and he challenges us to be the best. He’s helping us become a better offensive line.”

Reese also stressed interaction. “We’re a really close unit to begin with,” he said. “We work extremely hard and take pride in our jobs. If we’re playing well, that means we’re meshing together, and all on the same page. It’s really a mental game, so if we can understand the defense as a unit and be able to adjust correctly, we’ll have a great game and a great season.”

“Last week was a great win for the team and it was good to win at home, but no one is resting on their laurels,” Reese said. “We have to put that game behind us and prepare for Harvard.”

*******************************************

“I think we’re a solid team,” Crimson coach Tim Murphy said. “On the plus side, we’re literally one play away from being 2-0 against two real solid teams. How much more than that? I think that’s what we find out down at Lehigh.”

“Sedale Threatt is a guy that we have to know where he is at all times,” he said. “Kind of like Ryan Fitzpatrick, a little bit like Liam O’Hagan, he’s a guy that if you don’t keep an eye on him, you don’t have him in your radar, then he’s going to improvise some plays that you can’t necessarily set up defenses for.”

“His strengths are his mobility and ability to get out of the pocket,” Harvard captain Brad Bagdis said. “He really excells on sprint motions and options. We’re trying to make sure we contain him and keep him in the pocket.”

"I think Harvard's defensive line will be the best we play all year," Lehigh coach Andy Coen said. "Harvard is very big and there are some veteran kids there."

“They run a lot of offensive formations,” Weaver said. “They throw a lot of things at you and they come in a lot.”

On Liam O'Hagan, Harvard's starting QB: "He's a very athletic QB, we have to put some pressure on him and keep him in check." -- junior LB Tim Diamond

Reese said that the team’s defense must be ready for the Crimson as well.

“[The defense] has to prepare for Harvard as they do any other team,” Reese said, “by studying film to understand certain tendencies and build on what they’ve been doing well throughout the season.”

Comments

Anonymous said…
your comment calling Holy Cross Inquistors was a very insulting anti religious remark
Anonymous said…
the fact that tom mcgeoy was left of that list at lb and justin terry at center shows that you really know nothing about lehigh football
football picks said…
Boy oh boy it has been a tough couple of weeks for good ole Lucky Lester. Since
signing up with Who 2 Bet On my free picks sure seem to have taken a hit, record
wise. However, when you combine my free picks with my paid picks, for both the
NFL and NCAA, my over all record is good.

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