I think in this day and age, one can't help think of devising a Hard Knocks/Next Food Network Star sort of situation in regards to who the next offensive coordinator might be, even if the reality is way different than the Reality Show method of choosing a new coach.
"Each week, we'll find out who gets voted out by the panel of Andy Coen, celebrity head coach Chip Kelly, and Condolezza Rice as they pass a variety of tests on pass/run ratio, offensive game plan management, and an overall knowledge of the history of Lehigh and college football! Tempers will flare, and you'll be there!"
We certainly won't see that in the mad dash to find out who the next great Lehigh offensive coordinator might be. But we can come up with a few biographies of folks we might want to see in this position - and maybe, just maybe, one of them will be the guy.
(Photo Credit: The Citadel Alumni Club of Pittsburgh)
I don't think it's too much of a reach to say that pretty much everyone involved with the Lehigh football program now wants to add something else to their Christmas wish list from Santa - a new offensive coordinator.
Consequently, Valparaiso, a non-scholarship Division I football program the competes in the Pioneer Football League, seems to pretty much have gotten the early Christmas present they were looking for.
This morning, Dave Cecchini was announced as the new head coach of the Valpo Crusaders, making people who know Dave happy, because he's clearly been in line for a head coaching position for many years, and sad, because they know he's going to be a particularly big void to fill in terms of Andy Coen's offense.
When I look back at Lehigh's football program over the last four years, I can't think of a single game that wasn't meaningful.
And when you think about this fact, that's a powerful thing to say about this group of seniors that will graduate this season.
So many programs have off years, years in between quality starting quarterbacks, years when players who find themselves in NFL training camps graduate, and the number of holes to fill are too great to compete for championships, let alone playoff spots.
But that didn't happen for this group of Lehigh athletes in 2013.
Despite needing to replace two players who found themselves in NFL training camps, WR Ryan Spadola and LB Billy Boyko, a starting quarterback, QB Michael Colvin, and an all-Patriot League secondary consisting of CB Bryan Andrews and S Billy O'Brien, the expectations on this year's team was great: Win the Patriot League. Build off a 10-1 season. Mak…
On the third play of scrimmage, Lafayette freshman QB Drew Reed fumbled the ball off a bad snap.
The ball squirted loose from the line - where a Lehigh player might have fallen on it - and instead nudged in the direction of junior RB Ross Scheuerman, who found himself with the ball in his hands, and, on the broken goal line play, wide open space to get into the end zone.
It was that type of day for the Mountain Hawks - a day when five years of Rivalry frustrations, five years of balls bouncing the wrong way, and five years of Lehigh victories came crashing to an end.
It was a game where Lehigh never led. It was a game when the Mountain Hawks came close to coming back - and clearly believing that it could, and would, happen. But it wasn't meant to be, as Lafayette took home all the marbles on Saturday - the Patriot League Trophy, the Patriot League championship and autobid, and the win over Lehigh that the players, and the many people that follow the Lafayette football program, …
We break down the Lafayette game, the 149th meeting between Lehigh and Lafayette - and we give our fearless prediction, below the flip.
Some key things you'll need to know before the Game of the Year:
* The Lehigh Football Partnership will be opening at 9:00 AM for tailgating at the Rust Pavillion with former football players and families, and at 10:00 AM there will be a "special guest".
* Out of town and want to watch Rivalry 149 with friendly Lehigh fans? Click here and find a telecast party across the country. There's even one in London!
* The game will be on the following TV/Radio and streaming places: Patriot League Network (Lehigh Broadcast: Free) ESPN3 (Lafayette Broadcast: Free if ISP provides it) WMFZ 69 in the Lehigh Valley Lafayette Sports Network (WBPH-60 in the Lehigh Valley Area and other networks across the country) Fox College Sports Pacific (Live; Lehigh Broadcast; Available Nationally On Many Cable Systems) Radio: AM 1230/1…
Twenty-five years ago, I went to my first Lehigh/Lafayette game and almost saw a record held by Sean Payton fall.
As a part of Eastern Illinois' high-powered passing offense, Payton owned a I-AA record for most passing yards in a half.
Lehigh QB Jim Harris came - incredibly - one yard short of the record of passing yards in a single half, 372 yards.
And while the potent battle of great Engineer and Leopard offenses (or, perhaps, the struggle of two subpar Engineer and Leopard defenses) would end up in a 52-45 win for Lafayette in Easton, it served as my first-ever view of The Rivalry as an undergrad.
You could say it's the reason why I'm doing this today.
It was that year that the trial of the former Lafayette professor that burned Pardee Hall for the second time went forward, whose vandalism and (what would be called today) terrorism earned him six years in the slammer, after an Easton trial that rocked the community.
It was that summer when the main fighting in the Spanish-American War occurred (with the founder of the Lehigh football team, Richard Harding Davis, as war correspondent), and General Charles Augustus Wilkoff, Lafayette alumnus and resident of Easton, was killed leading his men preparing for an attack on San Juan Hill.
If any souls attending Lafayette were hoping to get an inkling of inspiration from their football team, though, they'd be even more disappointed.
After the not-too-distant glory years of mythical national championships, upsetting Penn in 1896 and being considered a football power in the East, the Leopards fell upon hard times in 1898, losing eight straight…
They remembered the chaos on the field last year at Murray Goodman Stadium, when Colgate beat Lehigh and celebrated on their field, Lehigh's field, after their championship win.
They remembered the team photos. The hats. The championship trophy. The championship picture. In theirhouse.
And they remembered that they didn't want to see that again this season.
For the second straight week, senior RB Keith Sherman ran over a Patriot League opponent. For the second time in two must-win games, Lehigh won a game they had to have to keep their Patriot League title and playoff hopes alive.
But up in Hamilton, it wasn't a time of whooping and hollering after the game.
It was a line and a postgame handshake - in other words, business. And Lehigh, in their most complete defensive performance of the season, got their business done in very impressive fashion.
“They've won a lot of close games this year, which we have done in the past. They know how to win and they are very well coached. And you couldn't ask for a better scenario, to be able to get all the way through the season and have the last league game be for the championship and a bid to the playoffs. We know what to expect and I'm happy for our players. It's a one-game season for a championship, and that's all you could ask for. We've got to treat it like it's just another game and they're going to wear different-colored jerseys."
Those were the words of none other than Dick Biddle, approximately 368 days ago, when Colgate traveled down to Lehigh to face off against the Mountain Hawks for a Patriot League championship.
They are also words that could have been torn out of this week's Biddle presser as well, perhaps adding that the Raiders have won four of their last six, and won eight of their last ten Patriot League games.
Not that I'm counting, but it's been 369 days since Lehigh lost everything they worked for in the span of game of football.
You could say that it was just one loss in an otherwise stellar year. After all 10-1 is 10-1, a season with a whole lot of success. (Ask Lafayette whether they would trade many of their seasons for a 10-1 campaign, losing to Colgate and missing the FCS playoffs, but beating Lehigh.)
But it was one solitary loss - heck, one half - that was the difference between a Lehigh Patriot League championship, and none. The difference between a spot in the playoffs, or none. The difference between the sweet feeling of receiving championship rings, or none.
As it stands now, it's a giant game for both sides. A Raider win gives Colgate the Patriot League title (sans Fordham) and autobid to the FCS playoffs. A Mountain Hawk win allows Lehigh to survive, and continue, in their quest for the Patriot League title a…
If you went into Murray Goodman Stadium and said you knew exactly what to expect from this Lehigh Mountain Hawks team, you were lying.
Everyone involved with the Mountain Hawks football program had seen, or heard about, the loss to Bucknell.
If they had sharp eyes, too, they saw the former starting quarterback, Brandon Bialkowski, on the sidelines in a jacket, his arm immobilized so his collarbone can heal.
You had to go back a long way to find a Lehigh team with this much uncertainty, with this much at stake, with three games left.
And in this environment, this Mountain Hawk team responded.
The Mountain Hawks would never trail in this game, though the Crusaders would tie the game twice, at 7-7 and 13-13. But then, after filling in permanently after what seemed to be a rib injury to junior QB Matt McHale, freshman QB Nick "Shaf" Shafnisky came into the game and guided Lehigh on three touchdown drives in a convincing 38-20 victory.
It's that time of the week where I share with you your weekly Lehigh fan viewing guide for Week 11 of the college football season.
But for Lehigh fans, though, with the kickoff of the winter sports season, there's a lot more than just that.
Tonight, men's hoops kicks off vs. Minnesota in an attempt to ruin Richard Pitino's head coaching debut; women's hoops kicks off vs. Niagara, with Matt Markus on the call; for LehighSports.com; and after Holy Cross is wrestling's first meet of the year vs. Bucknell.
(Photo Credit: Peter Cooke/Boston Globe)
We break down the Holy Cross game - and we give our fearless prediction, below the flip.
If you've followed the Patriot League for some time, you know plenty about the wrangling that went on when the league was debating whether to change the existing financial aid structure to allow schools of the League to offer football scholarships that resembled, say, the same types of scholarships that Delaware or New Hampshire can offer.
You could argue that this decision has completely altered the course of the Patriot League this season.
On Lehigh's depth chart, freshman LB Colton Caslow has stepped into the Mountain Hawk linebacking unit and forced his way into the starting lineup, and other impact freshmen like freshman DB/RS Brandon Leaks have pretty much been instant impact players since very early on the season.
Additionally - amazingly, actually - of the six Patriot League schools that are now eligible to offer football scholarships (Ford…
There have been other November football matchups over the last three years that have been big games for the Brown and White.
There were two "thrill of victory" games in 2010 and 2011 against Georgetown, which wrapped up a share of the Patriot League title and also clinched an autobid to the FCS playoffs.
There was also an "agony of defeat" game against Colgate last season, too, where the Mountain Hawks lost everything: an undefeated season, a Patriot League championship, and even a spot in the FCS playoffs with their 35-24 loss to Colgate, despite a 10-1 overall record.
Those games, however, don't hold the same level of intrigue as the one this weekend against Holy Cross.
In all three of those November games in prior years, the Mountain Hawks were not only riding big winning streaks, they were also relatively healthy.
This time around, though, the Mountain Hawks need to turn things around after suffering their most lopsided loss to Bucknell since 1966, and - …
With 4 minutes, 19 seconds left in the third quarter, Towson (8-2 overall and 4-2 in the Colonial Athletic Association) had a chance to pad a 28-10 advantage, but senior PK Drew Evangelista’s field-goal attempt from 33 yards banged off the left upright.
On the ensuing possession, Tigers LB Monte Gaddis put enough pressure on Blue Hens senior QB Trevor Sasek to incite him to float a deep pass that junior CB Tye Smith intercepted at Towson’s 26-yard line. Smith wove his way 74 yards into the end zone, but the Tigers were flagged for clipping, which nullified the touchdown with 2:27 remaining.
And on Delaware’s penultimate series of the contest, Sasek severely underthrew…
Face it - it was a weird weekend without Lehigh football.
It's been a while since the Mountain Hawks have had a bye weekend this late in the season, and while Lehigh "disappeared" from the Patriot League title race this weekend, a lot more became clear in the Patriot League title race while they were not playing a football game this Saturday.
Three teams - Colgate, Lafayette, and Lehigh - can guarantee their spot in the playoffs if they win their remaining games. Two others - Holy Cross and Bucknell - need to win, and get help, in order to win the autobid. Only Georgetown has been eliminated from the race officially. (Fordham, at 9-0, is not eligible for the Patriot League's autobid, but barring a late-season collapse seems well poised for one of FCS's at-large bit to the playoffs.)
Lehigh reappears this week with a simple goal: win this week, and get to next week. But there's no margin for error. One loss, and realistically, Lehigh can watch their chan…
That realization is: online advertising ain't what it used to be.
Once upon a time, I thought that it would be just fine for me to write all my great stuff on Lehigh football for free, and to have the magic of affiliate ads, context banners, and maybe some other doodads to compensate me somewhat for the time and energy that I put in.
But I'm afraid I've come to the conclusion that this business model will no longer work the way things stand right now.
It is not a conclusion I came to easily.
But I do have an idea for a somewhat alternative business model for the content that you like on LFN. How it ends up working will ultimately determine whether I will be able to keep providing my great LFN content for free, or ultimately put it behind a subscriber firewall.
It's that time of the week where I share with you your weekly Lehigh fan viewing guide for Week 10 of the college football season. Why go to website after website when all the information you need is right here?
If there was ever a week where you, dear Reader, needed this page, it's this week, since Lehigh has their bye week.
Fortunately for all of us (and, of course, I include myself in this), there are a boatload of important games available on live streams to watch this weekend. Many, many of them are free.
It's worth popping open a Yuengling and getting the yard work done early.
I remember my grandfather had a police scanner on his immaculate wooden desk, right next to the dining room table where my family and I would have holiday dinners.
It was a part of the scene, tucked away, while the turkey was served during Thanksgiving. Sometimes it was left on, the police, or fire department radio, barking out some incident.
My grandfather and grandmother lived on the "Nawth Shaure" in Marblehead, about an hour from Boston. It's where my love of the Boston Red Sox first grew, and it's where my connection to the city began, through many trips to Fenway Park and the city.
I used to wonder why he had a scanner on his desk. After all, he wasn't a policeman, or firefighter. Sure, he was a good member of the community, as was his wife. But, still, I wondered, why would you desire a police scanner on your desk? Entertainment for your grandkids? Information in a pre-internet age?
I thought an awful lot about that scanner when the horrors of the …
In the SoCon, this game was huge, but what was especially amazing was that the Bulldogs overcame four turnovers, including one interception that was returned by Wofford LB Alvin Scioneaux for a touchdown.
But with a smothering defensive effort from Bulldog LB Jaquirski Tartt (17 tackles) and a big day returning the football by RB Fabian Truss, the Bulldogs moved to 4-0 in SoCon play and put themselves in the drivers' seat in regards to qualifying for the FCS playoffs.
It's that time of the week where I share with you your weekly Lehigh fan viewing guide for Week 9 of the college football season. Why go to website after website when all the information you need is right here?
If you are not able to attend the game this weekend at Bucknell you can follow the game from the following sources:
We break down the Bucknell game - and we give our fearless prediction, below the flip.
When most people think of Bucknell, they tend to think of basketballs, not footballs.
Part of that comes from their upset of Kansas in the NCAA Tournament, the, um, SECOND most talked-about Patriot League upset over a legendary hoops program in the NCAA tournament.
But that's not to say that the folks down Lewisburg way don't care at all about football.
If there is an underrated stadium in the Patriot League it's Christy Matthewson Stadium, named after the hall-of-fame pitcher. Built in 1924, it was originally named Memorial Stadium to honor all the Bucknellians who had "fought in war", either the Civil War or World War I, and had a "Christy Matthewson Memorial Gateway" in the front to honor the late pitcher, who had recently died from tuberculoisis complications stemming from his time in war.
While Lewisburg isn't, shall we say, a metropolis, it's not out o…
"After the halftime speech, this team pulled together and had the will to win this game. They overcame their mistakes. They got back down to it, and did what they needed to do to will this game into the win column. Players stepped up and made plays. Others shook off a rough first half and really stepped up in the second to show the nation what they are capable of doing."
No, those aren't the words of the Sunbury Daily Item sportswriters after Bucknell's 17-14 win over Dartmouth this weekend.
This was a part of my "Sunday Word" after Lehigh, back in 2010, rallied from a three-score deficit to beat Harvard, 21-19 and - in retrospect, a sentiment shared by myself and head coach Andy Coen, for starters - kicked off the amazing success on the field that the Mountain Hawks have enjoyed ever since.
It's too early to say yet if Bucknell's win, where the Bison defense shut down the Big Green and allowed the Orange and Blue offense to score 17 unanswered po…
If you're reading this blog, chances are you've enjoyed some college football at some point during this 2013 season, either in person, at an FCS school like Lehigh, or maybe on TV, watching someone like QB Johnny Manziel play in front of 100,000 stadium fans.
If you're like most casual fans, though, you don't think about the number of days it takes for these players to get to gameday and to compete: hot practices in the summer heat, countless hours in the weight room, the training regimen it requires.
This last week, student-athletes at a very small Division I university in Louisiana had looked around at the environment surrounding themselves in regards to their program and facilities and said: enough.
Grambling's situation this season, which led to the strike that caused them to forfeit Jackson State's homecoming game last weekend, is a complicated one. It's hard to summarize neatly in 500 words or less.
My vote for the FCS Top 25 for the week ending 10/21/2013 follows below the flip.
But first, check out this great picture from New Hampshire of OL Ricky Archer and OL Joe Coccia celebrating what may have been the most thrilling game of the weekend, a thrilling 29-28 win by New Hampshire over Villanova that featured a tie and two lead changes in the final two minutes. (Photo Credit: John Tully/Concord Monitor)
From the article:
The season’s playoff hopes were about dead after Villanova (4-3) scored two touchdowns in a span of 46 seconds to take a 28-21 lead with 1:09 left in the game. But UNH got a 35-yard kickoff return from RS Dalton Crossan, plus 15 yards on a late-hit personal foul, to take over at the 50 with 1:02 on the clock. New Hampshire survived a fumble on an attempted hook-and-ladder play, got a pair of catches from RB Chris Setian for 24 total yards, and then QB Sean Goldrich (21-for-28, 236 yards, touchdown) turned a broken play into a 4-yard touchdown scramble to pull …
It wasn't a typical Lehigh weekend for me as I headed to Murray Goodman.
With my family, including my mother and father visiting Murray Goodman stadium for the first time in a long time, I spent most of the game experiencing most of the game in a place where I haven't been in a while: the "stands".
When you cover a team, it's a bit too easy sometimes to take refuge in the press box, hermetically sealed from the rest of the fans out in the fresh air. Too often, too, that's what I do: plop in the press box, not to emerge until after the clock reads zero.
This time around, though, I had the incredible experience once again to enjoy most of the game in the stands, thanks to my family, and it couldn't have been a better one, thanks to the best efforts of the other fans.
The picture above was taken on my phone, from where I was sitting on Saturday.
The term being bandied about the season in regards to the 2013 Mountain Hawks was the "Cardiac Kids".
Every week, the Mountain Hawks would fall behind. Every week, there would be hiccups, issues, and heart-stopping moments, but most often would end up in Lehigh victories.
Most fans wondered: Could it be possible, would it be possible, for Lehigh to put the pedal to the metal against an opponent, to surge to a huge lead, go for he jugular early, and never look back?
This Saturday, the Mountain Hawks answered.
Lehigh scored the most points they'd scored in the first half since 2002, scoring on seven of their eight drives of the first half and narrowly missing the eighth. They'd cruise to a 38-3 halftime lead before the second stringers would make the final score look a lot closer.
In short, it was exactly what most of the 9,866 fans in attendance were looking for in the first Patriot League conference game of the season. Never trailing. Making the game's outco…
It's that time of the week where I share with you your weekly Lehigh fan viewing guide for Week 8 of the college football season. Why go to website after website when all the information you need is right here?
If you are not able to attend the game this weekend at Murray Goodman Stadium you can follow the game from the following sources:
We break down the Georgetown game - and we give our fearless prediction, below the flip.
It's frustrating to try to break a team down when, as of Friday at 1PM, Georgetown's game notes for the weekend's games are not available. On the plus side, though, Georgetown did supply a short preview article that does provide a way forward with some critical injury information. That, plus last week's game notes, provide something to go on.
Something that does leap off the page of that preview is the following fact: "Georgetown has had a combined 15 players from its season-opening two-deep miss 28 games this season due to injury, including four different linebackers missing at least two games apiece. "
Certainly injuries have taken a toll on Georgetown's non-conference schedule, including sidelining the preseason Patriot League defensive player of the year at a bare minimum. But will those injuries affect this weekend's game? It's hard to say.
This season, as mentioned by legendary Hoya football blogger DFW Hoya, is the 75th anniversary of the beginning of what would become a mini college football dynasty in the late 1930s.
Parallel to the emergence of Fordham on the national scene, with Vince Lombardi and their "Seven Blocks of Granite" was the Hoya's undefeated, untied team of 1938, who saw team after team fall to tie or defeat above them and saw them standing alone as Eastern Sectional champions ahead of Villanova and Boston College.
Behind the direction of QB Joe McFadden - an Allen High School grad - the Hoyas would shut out Temple, Bucknell and West Virginia in three consecutive weeks while beating Maryland in College Park 14-7 to conclude their undefeated season. Since their schedule was considered weak on a national level, they weren't considered for a bowl, but a significant number of the same players would be invited to the Orange Bowl a couple of years later in 1940.
My vote for the FCS Top 25 for the week ending 10/7/2013 follows below the flip.
But first, check out this great picture from James Madison of QB Michael Birdsong as he's crossing the goal line against Richmond last week (Photo Credit: Joe Mahoney/The Richmond Times-Dispatch)
The sad thing is, this picture was a great one - but Birdsong's ostrich-like touchdown pose would not count for any points, since it would be called back for holding.
James Madsion would go into halftime with a 7-6 lead, but both teams would erupt in the second half, ending in a 38-31 marathon. Dukes KR Dejor Simmons would take the second-half kickoff for a 100 yard touchdown run, and James Madison wouldn't trail by any more than 5 after that point.
Brazilian soccer fans are one hard to please bunch.
It's not enough for the soccer nation that brought us Pele, Ronaldo and Ronaldinho to simply win their soccer games against the rest of the world: to the high-maintenance fans of the seleção, every game involving the Brazilian nation team needs to had flair and panache: style points. They can still win, but if they win boring, the fans become restless.
Similarly, Lehigh fans looked to the Mountain Hawks to go up to the upper tip of Manhattan and heap on a stylish win filled with scoring, crispness, and focus. For some Lehigh fans, Saturday's game wasn't supposed to be about the win, it was about the style of the win.
If they were looking to win on style, they didn't get that.
But more importantly, the Brown and White did get the win, notching a 24-10 victory, inching closer to their goal of a Patriot League title and the all-important autobid.
It wasn't crisp, and it wasn't pretty, but it was enough to al…
It's that time of the week where I share with you your weekly Lehigh fan viewing guide for Week 7 of the college football season. Why go to website after website when all the information you need is right here?
Last week, I was so busy hyping up Lehigh/Fordham that I forget to post my weekly viewing guide.
As a result, Lehigh lost.
This is reason enough for my viewing guide to make a comeback.
If you are not able to attend you can follow the game from the following sources:
TV: NBC Sports Network
Dish Network-Channel 159
Direct TV-Channel 220
Online Streaming: NBC Live Extra (free with subscription to NBC Sports Network)
And then there was the Today Show on NBC nationwide, where the Columbia football team had a segment talking a little bit about the football team and the game this weekend as well, even if Al Roker seemed a lot more engaged regarding dropping a Ylvis reference for the song "What Does the Fox Say?" with the Baby Blue cheerleaders instead of analyzing the Lions' chances this weekend.
Another thing Al missed was that the weather report for tomorrow has turned quite a bit better, with the game turning to a partly-cloudy, 10% chance of rain sort of afternoon for kickoff. There'…
It's very rare to be able to see a non-conference opponent on the football schedule and be able to compare them completely to your own team.
Non-conference opponents, of course, are not teams from your own division which you are expected to be able to compare yourself against.
Columbia's non-conference schedule going into their nationally-televised game against Lehigh consists of three games: one against Fordham, one against Monmouth, and one against Princeton.
It means that Columbia head coach Pete Mangurian, and Lehigh head coach Andy Coen, will be very familiar with their opponents this week. Not only will they be able to recall last year's game at Murray Goodman in terms of personnel, but they'll also be able to pull game film on three common opponents to get the tendencies of both teams.
One thing that neither team will be to one another is a surprise.
As a writer of independent media coverage of Lehigh athletics, mostly focusing on football, I feel like I am a part of "media coverage" when it comes to something that happens at Lehigh, good or bad.
In a sense, I don't separate myself from what the Morning Call does or the Express-Times does merely because I'm a blogger and they are employees of media organizations.
But when people take exception with how a Lehigh story is handled, especially as it regards to the football team, I try to understand the concerns - especially when it treads in very tough or sensitive territory.
I think it's worthwhile to tell the world my side of how I covered a sensitive story in an effort to talk about what goes into the reporting. Putting on a brand-new hat for myself - a sort-of Lehigh Valley press ombudsman - I'll try to explain the decisions I made in covering the story, and attempt to look at how other organizations covered the story and acted.