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Spring Football Season Is Officially Here

If it's late March - and Lehigh doesn't have any more wrestlers making all-American status, or the men's or women's basketball teams aren't playing in the NCAA tournament - that must mean it's time for spring football, where Lehigh coaches start to figure out their gameplans for 2010.

While last season's 4-7 record was nothing to write home about - well, okay, the awesome victory over Lafayette certainly was - what we did learn about this team last year is that they have been battlers over the course of last season.  Things got tough, and it wasn't fun for a long stretch of the season, but ultimately their hard work did, at least, pay off in the biggest game of all.

With the core of the offense returning, along with some key defensive pieces, that battlers' mentality matters.  We know that these guys work hard.  But with a new offensive coordinator in town and a possible NFL player graduating (senior LB Matt Cohen), there still are plenty of questions going into this spring season. (more)

Lehigh's official release gets the party started:

 “Certainly it’s very exciting to get back out on the field," head coach Andy Coen said.  "The guys have had a good offseason with their lifting and conditioning program which concluded earlier this week with our third annual Strongman Competition.  I know the kids are excited to get to work and we’re all looking forward to these next four weeks.”

What leaps off the page of the official release?

Every quarterback that took a snap in 2009 returns for Lehigh, including senior QB J.B. Clark and senior QB Trace Cisneros, junior QB Chris Lum and sophomore QB Mike Colvin.  Clark threw for over 1,500 yards and 13 touchdowns a season ago, but struggled at times and was replaced in the starting lineup by Lum for several games.  The Michigan native responded with 564 passing yards and five touchdowns but he too had a few rough spots.  Add to that mix the speedy Colvin who rushed for the second most yards of any Lehigh player and Coen has a good group of signal callers to work with.
In years past coach Coen has pretty much had the spring be an open tryout for spots everywhere, and it looks like even at quarterback this is not going to be an exception despite Clark's 1,500 yards last year.  Adding to the intrigue is the presence of the new offensive coordinator Dave Cecchini.  Will he continue to add the Wildcat formation to the Lehigh offense?  Will he look over all of the QBs in the spring and at last give some hint as to who the starter might be in the fall?

If "Chick" is going to bring back the Air Lehigh offense in any shape or form, senior WR Craig "Braveheart" Zurn, junior WR De'Vaughn Gordon and junior WR Jake Drwal have to be licking their chops thinking about the potential for some bigger numbers.  When Cecchini was here before, wideouts like Josh Snyder were game-changers with record-breaking careers in the Brown & White.  Could these three - or possibly some others like junior WR Jimmy Jefferson, junior WR Preston Soeprasetyo, or sophomore WR Dan Cintron - do the same next year?

If the starting QB - and maybe even offensive philosophy - is a question mark, the rest of the offense would seem pretty set if last year is any guide to this season.  With all-league selections senior OL Will Rackley and senior OL Ricky Clerge penciled on the blind side, and senior C Keith Schauder and (likely) senior OL R.J. McNamara on the other, the only real question on "O" line involves depth ans who might take Frank Giacalone's place.  (Perhaps junior OL Troy McKenna?)  Senior TE Alex Wojdowski is penciled in at tight end.  At fullback, junior FB Bryce Arruda and junior FB Alex Petroff (converted from linebacker) are the only names on the spring roster at that position, where he will be looking to replace one of the strongest members of the team last year, Anthony Fossati.

Again, though, the questions center around offensive philosophy.  Could there be changes to reflect a new offensive direction, or will "Chick" and Coen change things radically?  Normally on a team with nine of eleven starters returning you'd think that it would be "business as usual", but this offseason has pointed to anything but "business as usual" in terms of the offense. That's going to be what's most interesting to look at the next four weeks.

I'll be looking at the defense next week.


Anonymous said…
Last season for Coen, thank god!
Anonymous said…
It's not his last season, nor is it the AD's last season, you are an idiot
Anonymous said…
Only an idiot would settle for where he has taken this program!
Anonymous said…
8-3 and at least a tie for league title, start supporting the program and not pointing fingers- GO LU
ngineer said…
Don't you just love the 'supportive' attitude some people have before the season even gets underway. Yet, I would bet they guy thinks he's a 'fan'.

No question, with what we have returning, anything less than 7-4 is unacceptable, and 8-3 or 9-2 is very realistic. Only Villanova and UNH should be considered prohibitive favorites.
Anonymous said…
I certainly hope that the team makes strides this year and Andy is around for a long time. If he can surround himself with good assistants, then I believe results will come.

If you look at all the close loses in the past 2 seasons ...

But a loss is a loss and we as fans all expect better. No doubt the head coach is wearing a big bulls eye on his chest.
Anonymous said…
Understood about the record. I hate that before the season starts the naysayers start attacking the coach. The fact is he is here this year. He has done some good off season things. Just let him coach will you? End of the season we can reflect. Thank you for your time ha!
Anonymous said…
Makes me wonder what could've been if this guy was hired INSTEAD of Coen...hmmm
Anonymous said…
How dare anyone attack the Mighty Coenhead. His record speaks for itself. Just send your alumni checks in, pay for your season tickets, sit on your hands and relish the mediocrity. Just because his team's have finished worse every single season is no reason to doubt that everything will be peachy this year. I've said all along, 90% of Lehigh "fans" only care about winning one game a year.
mailman said…
The new OC will be a great addition to the staff, we'll see on the 24th, or some of the packages on the 24th
5worthy said…
Tony kablan is going to have a big year @ running back for lehigh....
Anonymous said…
Tony kablan won't even sniff the field
Anonymous said…
I take it back about Tony Kablan, don't know him, never heard of him, never seen him play. I was just being a jerk...sorry Tony!

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