Here at LFN, I'm always looking for something to keep things fresh, and this year the plan is to keep things fresh by combining the "LFN Players of the Week" with something new: the two-minute drill.
In the past, I used to have a "press roundup" with links to all the recaps and interesting articles that would emerge concerning Lehigh football. In a world without Twitter and Facebook, this type of content curation was great not only for people who liked my blog, but for me, too, when wanting to refer back to a particularly memorable game or moment.
But we live in a world of Twitter and Facebook now. I can post links to the recaps on my Facebook page, my Twitter feed, and they can even be pulled into a type of newspaper delivered to your email called Paper.li. All are great tools, all feature content that I myself read, and, frankly, are the way people consume news now.
But that doesn't mean the "Press Roundup" is now worthless. It will be the place where I empty out my notebook from the prior week, take a look ahead at next week's opponent, and maybe even something completely different. We'll see how it all goes.
This week's LFN Players of the Week go to:
Offense: Senior QB Brandon Bialkowski (18/29 passing, 366 yards, 4 TDs, 2 INTs)
Offense: Senior WR Lee Kurfis (7 catches, 222 yards, 2 TDs)
Offense: Senior FB Sean Farrell (6 rushes, 32 yards, 2 TDs)
Defense: Junior LB Isaiah Campbell (4 tackles, game-clinching pass breakup to seal victory)
Defense: Sophomore LB Noah Robb (10 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 1 interception)
Special Teams: Freshman PK Ryan Pandy (1/1 FGs, (20), 6/7 extra points, kickoffs through end zone limited CCSU RB Rob Holloman to 1 return of 24 yards)
Underclassman: Freshman RS Brandon Leaks (4 kickoff returns, 110 yards)
Congratulations to the winners!
Emptying the notebook for the week with quotes:
Head coach Andy Coen:
- On the win: "The number one most important thing is how these kids hung in there together. They never quit for one minute. We were down 20 then the offense makes a big play and the defense makes stops, on and on down the line. I'm incredibly proud of our guys for hanging in there. They never quit. I called them over right before overtime and said, 'Since you guys have been here, what do you do?' They all yelled 'Win' and were able to do that."
- On improvement: "Obviously there were a lot of things that weren't so good that we need to improve. We had some new faces out there and a lot of inexperienced guys. To go through a game like this and come away with a victory is incredibly important. These kids should have a lot of faith in themselves and their teammates and feel good about the direction we started today, but we have a lot of work to do."
- On coming from behind: "I wasn't feeling great there with about nine minutes to go, but I could see that we were getting better. Football is really a game of momentum and it flipped. Our kids got fired up and they never doubted. We made a lot of mistakes, but to go through a game like this and come away with a victory is incredibly important."
- On sophomore LB Noah Robb: "He's very bright and loves football. He didn't say boo when we moved him from outside to inside, which was totally foreign to him after being a safety in high school. He struggled a little bit in the spring, but he got better and better all through camp. He's a good blitzer, and is kind of slippery in there. He needs to continue to get bigger and stronger, which he will just by going through the process here. But he's a great kid, a great teammate. We're really happy he had this type of success. Now, next week we'd like to see have about six of those tackles behind the line of scrimmage."
- On tempo: "We wanted to play fast, and uptempo because we felt we were in better condition than those guys. He made some mistakes, which you never want to see, but I never felt like the stage was too big for him [QB Brandon Bialkowski]. With the exception of the interceptions, he was really good for a first outing. There's a lot for him to learn from, but there's a lot for him to feel good about."
- On freshman PK Ryan Pandy's apology to the team after missing the extra point: "He should apologize for apologizing. It happens. But it shows the kind of kid he is. He felt really bad. He has a heck of a leg. He did a great job with the kickoffs and made his first field goal. I think, in his mind, he tried to baby that last kick and make sure he didn't miss it and that's when he missed it."
Senior QB Brandon Bialkowski:
- On hanging in the game, “We all came together as a unit. It took some time in the first half. Something just clicked in fourth quarter and we were able to move the ball effectively though the air. We’re trying not to make it a habit at Lehigh.”
- On what he learned from last year's starting QB Mike Colvin: "I learned so much from Mike and he was a great leader who made plays in the fourth quarter. That's what you've got to do at the quarterback position. When it came down to it, he made plays, and that's what you've got to do at the quarterback position."
Senior QB Lee Kurfis:
- On CCSU: “All week, we knew we would want to be going deep on these guys. Their corners would pound their feet at six yards and we knew if we could get good releases we could hit them downfield. Really, we only ran one deep route in the first half. (Offensive coordinator) Dave Cecchini made the right play calls and we made the plays.”
- On the team: "It's just the culture of this team that has such incredible character. "No guy hangs his head for a minute," he said. "When we came in as freshmen that's how the seniors did it and that's what we're doing. We just fight through every quarter of football."
- On missing the last regulation touchdown by 6 yards: "I'll tell you what, it's upsetting.. it'll haunt me for probably tonight (laughter), but I'll move forward and I'll be alright."
Sophomore LB Noah Robb:
- On CCSU: “The first half we had some mental lapses on defense. In the second half, we ran more blitzes and everyone got more comfortable with what we were doing. That allowed us to play more within ourselves and we got more stops. Everyone kind of bared down and manned up and did what we had to do. It was nice to see our offense get going. A lot of our energy came from that.
- On the Lehigh game: “That game was not over and I knew it. When we kicked the field goal to go up by 20, I was worried. It was a fun game to be a part of. You don’t like to be on the short end of it because there are no moral victories but I’m proud of the guys.”
- On his links to Lehigh and the Lehigh Valley: "I love this area. I know who Coach John Whitehead is and I was here at the Lehigh-New Hampshire playoff game in 1975 as a kid. I played at Slippery Rock and after Lehigh won the national championship [in 1977], my first game in college was here against Lehigh. I was here holding the chains as a redshirt freshman. As a young guy who wanted to be a coach I was just staring at Coach Whitehead. I have a lot of good memories of Lehigh and this area."
Finally, a look ahead at Monmouth:
Monmouth Hawks (0-2):
at Montana State, L, 24-42
at Liberty, L, 15-45
Head coach Kevin Callahan: “Liberty is a very talented and very well coached. They are explosive and we gave them opportunities and they took advantage of those opportunities. I thought their defensive side of the ball was one of the best we’ve seen based on what we saw against Kent State. We made some mistakes and when you make mistakes against a good team those mistakes are magnified. Liberty took advantage of our mistakes and made some big plays.”
Liberty WR Darrin Peterson caught three passes for 124 yards, including an 85-yard bomb from Liberty QB Josh Woodrum that gave Liberty a commanding 31-6 lead with 3:24 left in the first half. Monmouth CB Tevrin Brandon broke up four passes in the Hawks’ season-opening loss at Montana State last week, leaving the Hawks confident they could put him in one-on-one coverage with Peterson.
Brandon won one battle, stepping in front of Peterson and making a pretty, one-handed snag of a Woodrum pass for an interception. But Peterson clearly won the night, beating him for two touchdowns.
“No doubt,” said Peterson, who also threw a 22-yard pass to Liberty TE Brandon Apon on a double reverse play. “He got burnt like four, five times. I mean, he’s a decent player.”