For Lehigh fans in 2010, though, it would be their first tantalizing peek at offensive coordinator Dave Cecchini's tweaks on Lehigh's offense and the development of head coach Andy Coen's overall squad.
With an offensive line that was heavily banged up, the total answers to those questions were not answered on a beautiful sunny Saturday in April that could have been plucked out of June and placed at the end of spring football season. But there was enough to get excited about the fall and what could be shaping up. (more)
The biggest question of the season - who will be starting at quarterback September 4th in Des Moines versus Drake - was not answered today, as both senior QB J.B. Clark and junior QB Chris Lum (not wearing the "don't hit me" red jerseys that senior QB Trace Cisneros and sophomore QB Michael Colvin wore) showed flashes of excellent quarterback play.
Clark's first three passes were right on the money - with some genuine pressure - and Cecchini even mixed in some plays on the first series where Clark took off with the ball and ran. His 20 yard TD pass to junior WR Jake Drwal was a pass thrown perfectly with a nice touch. It's not hard to see that he's improved over last year.
Immediately on the next series, Colvin's pass, deflected off the line, was nabbed by junior SS John Littlejohn and bobbled and returned for a quick defensive score. It was a great anticipation play - one that everyone in the stadium noticed - and also seemed to show that today would be a good battle between both offensive and defensive units.
Lum's first series seemed to show that he was a bit behind Clark - with a couple mental errors, and a slightly errant pass on third down - but he rapidly put that behind him and his next series settled down and put his unit in position to score with a nice run and a pretty strong-armed pass to sophomore TE Jamel Haggins, who would later get a Lum pass in the end zone for the touchdown.
Looking at the stat line, Lum (6/13 passing, 52 yards, 1 TD, 28 yards rushing) and Clark (6/10 passing, 53 yards passing, 1 TD, 14 yards rushing) had near-identical days. Both second team QBs had rough days - likely thanks to the banged-up "O" lines - but it must be said that the two biggest play passes on the morning were tossed by Colvin, the first a beautiful spiral to junior WR De'Vaughn Gordon that was called back on a chop block penalty and the second that was a sure touchdown but dropped. Colvin is still raw - very raw, as his three interceptions would indicate - but he looks like a gamer, and there was no indication that the broken leg he suffered against Bucknell would continue to slow him down.
Defensively, there wasn't a lot of drama - but that's got to be OK to most Lehigh fans. Senior LB Al Pierce - who was voted team captain prior to the spring game - shined underneath, as did senior LB Troy Taylor, who led the Brown team with six tackles. It was easy to see that Lehigh's swarming defense was comfortable, even with the injuries on the "D" line, with what Coen and te coaching staff want them to do. There's every indicator that Pierce, Taylor, junior LB Colin Newton, and either junior LB Fred Mihal or sophomore LB Billy Boyko will be a formidable unit in the fall.
On the "D" line, senior DE Ben Flizack looked very solid underneath, and on defense sophomore CB Bryan Andrews just continues to impress. Also, Pierce, Taylor, and Littlejohn impressed me as well. Lehigh's defense has the potential to be a very, very fearsome unit.
On offense, Haggins stood out, as did senior WR Craig Zurn and sophomore RB Zach Barket's tough running yards. Zurn keeps showing that he only has one gear, whether in an exhibition or a game - overdrive - while I like how Barket would lean forward and get tough yards in front of Lehigh's daunting front seven. I have a feeling going against this front seven will only continue to make him better.
I think, though - most importantly - that the offense is already making big strides from last year. There's more confidence, and the mistakes by both Lum and Clark were few and far between. Their improved decision making - for a game in April, anyway - could be the best thing to come out of the spring game.