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Press Mash-Up And "The Andy Coen Report"

It's probably not the most ideal of circumstances under which The Andy Coen Report is launching its inaugural broadcast tonight on lehighsports.com and AM 1230 and 1320 in drive-time at 6:05PM in the Lehigh Valley, if only because Lehigh is coming off that 30-20 loss to Villanova last Saturday. But this brand-new coaches show should prove to be an exciting addition to the increasing number of media presentations Lehigh is offering about their sports programs, but this call-in show is really the first of its kind and will undoubtedly be bolstered by the fact it is on during drive-time in the Lehigh Valley over regular radio. I'll be very interested to tune in and learn what coach Coen and other fans around the Lehigh Valley have to say about the Mountain Hawks.

Which leads me to a new feature for the blog: each week, I plan to list six names for "Players of the Week" in the survey on the left, and you can vote on who you think this week's Player of the Week should be. The results of these votes will allow me to choose "Players of the year" at the end of the year, and hopefully will be a fun addition to the blog... So vote for the player you feel was the standout performer this week, and help your favorite player get honors every Wednesday!

The press writeups were somewhat mixed, as you'll see in the mash-up. It's really too early to know how good Villanova is or Lehigh is at this point, and I think everyone's eyes are on the Princeton game which should be a better indication of what we have for this coming year. Still, here's the mash-up.

Morning Call: Lehigh Battles, But Falls Short Against 'Nova
Morning Call: Lehigh Freshmen Are A Silver Lining
Express-Times: Kicking Game Lets Down Lehigh
Brown & White: Weather Hotter Than Hawks

"When it comes down to two fairly evenly matched teams, it's the quarterback that makes the difference and I thought our quarterback was the better quarterback today," said Villanova coach Andy Talley. "[Young] came up with some big plays for us and that was the difference."

He'll get no argument from Lehigh quarterback Sedale Threatt, who struggled to find consistency in the passing game.

“We didn’t execute the way we should have today. Third downs, that was me," Threatt said of the team's failure to convert them. "A couple throws I made kind of difficult for (his receivers) to make."

"Our biggest concern was shutting down [Threatt]," said Villanova strong safety Eugene Clay. "The biggest thing was to make him pay and hit him when we had the chance."

Clay caused a fumble by Lehigh tailback Josh Pastore early in the second period. Villanova immediately capitalized on the turnover with a 60-yard thunderbolt from Young to Brandyn Harvey that gave the Wildcats a 20-3 lead less than two minutes into the second quarter.

The Mountain Hawks had stopped Villanova three-and-out on the 'Cats' first possession, only to give the ball right back when a bouncing punt flicked off the leg of a Lehigh return team member and Villanova recovered at the LU 39.

"You can't let a punt hit your foot like that," said Lehigh coach Andy Coen. "We deferred at the coin toss, got a great kickoff, held them to a three-and-out, and they still got the ball back and scored. You can't start a game that way against Villanova. It got to 20-3 and you don't want to spot any team 17 points, especially not a team like Villanova with its 63 scholarships."

“We defeated ourselves this afternoon,” said junior defensive back Quadir Carter. “We had too many mental errors.”

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Kankam, Threatt and the rest of the skill players were operating behind an offensive line that had a lot of question marks entering the season. Will Rackley, a freshman, played one of the guard spots. Kevin Bayani has moved from guard to tackle.

"For the first time, considering they were going against a great Villanova defense, they did pretty well," Threatt said. "You're going to get sacked and hit. That's part of the position. But they really stepped up. They were confident and they wanted to make plays, but we just didn't make enough."

Coen attributed some of his team's critical mistakes that led to the early 17-point deficit to youth.

"When you play young kids, you're going to have some issues," Coen said. "We had five or six freshmen thrown into the game against some pretty good competition. But they did some good things, too."

Coen noted freshman Jim Kennedy's four kickoff returns for 97 yards.

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The 5-9, 180-pound Kankam made a quick rise up the depth chart because of a preseason hamstring injury to Matt McGowan. And when starter Josh Pastore got dinged against Villanova, Kankam flashed moves and toughness during his eight carries for 34 yards, which included a 12-yard burst.

"Nothing he did today surprised me," Coen said during the postgame press conference. "He was making plays with the ball in his hands. He caught a screen pass and had two catches overall, he ran the ball very well and got us tough yards down near the goal line. He's going to get more opportunities. We're up in the air at that position. [McGowan] is a day-to-day thing and Josh got banged up. We might have two freshmen out there next week."

"It felt pretty good out there," said the All-Stater from Sylanvia, Ohio. "The O-line, the fullback, everybody told me that I can play with them and not to be nervous. It was fun and crazy to get into the end zone with my teammates, but it was kind of bittersweet, too.

"My performance today kind of let my know that I can play at this level. It's fast, faster than high school. But confidence-wise it was a big boost. It was really exciting to get out there."

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When it was over, Coen and Co. were down, but far from out.

"Whenever you lose, you're obviously upset, but you have to learn from it," Coen said. "I was very aggravated at halftime because of our kicking game. I was really going to go crazy, but I stopped and thought about it. We knew there were plays to be made offensively and we made some to start the second half to get right back in the ballgame. We just didn't make enough plays offensively, and gave up too many big ones on defense.

“This is a tough team to play, especially when we give them multiple chances like we did today,” Coen said. “I was impressed with our players’ effort. They didn’t give up, and they kept fighting. Even though it is not the outcome we wanted, I saw quite a few positive things today and we have to build from that."

“We didn’t start the game with the right level of intensity,” junior defensive linemen Brian Jackson said. Jackson recorded five tackles and one sack in the contest. "But we came out in the second half pumping and grinding."

"I'm disappointed we lost, but we got ourselves back in the game," Coen said. "We showed a lot of effort and fight. We need to build on the positives. We'll go over our mistakes and fix them. I think this dog's got a lot of fight in it.

"I like my football team. We're going to be fine."

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