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Two-Minute Drill and LFN Players of the Week: Lehigh/Monmouth 9/14/2013

(Photo Credit: Justin LaFleur/Lehigh Athletics)

Below the flip, enjoy this week's "LFN Players of the Week" and a Two Minute drill on the quotes from this Saturday's game.

I've decided to break out the sneak peek at Princeton into a different blog post - for reasons that will be come clear.

This week's LFN Players of the Week go to:

Offense: Senior RB Keith Sherman (14 Rushes, 109 yards, 1 catch, 28 yards)

Offense: Senior WR Lee Kurfis (10 catches, 211 yards, 2 TDs.  First time in Lehigh and Patriot League history that a receiver has had back-to-back 200 yard receiving games.)

Offense: Senior WR Sergio Fernandez-Soto (6 catches, 92 yards, 1 TD)

Defense: Senior FS Tyler Ward (11 tackles, interception in end zone to stop critical drive)

Defense: Junior CB Damien Brown (8 tackles, 2 pass break-ups, recovered Monmouth's final lateral to clinch the victory)

Special Teams: Senior FB Zach Hayden (1 reception for 6 yards to convert a critical 4th-and-5; returned blocked punt behind the line of scrimmage and advanced it 37 yards, setting up winning touchdown strike two plays later)

Underclassman: Freshman LB Colton Caslow (6 tackles, 1 sack, on critical final Monmouth offensive drive)

Congratulations to the winners!

Quotables this week:

Head coach Andy Coen:
  • On the win: "I give our kids a lot of credit for hanging in, in what was a wild game. There were a lot of momentum swings. The kids were able to hang together enough and focus enough and hang together enough and be tough enough to come out with another hard fought win."
  • On a crazy play making such a difference in the game: "The great thing about football is that you never know what's going to happen when the ball is snapped.  I've been coaching and playing a long time and I've never seen a blocked punt picked up by one of our own guys and run for a first down, which ends up being the play of the game.  We tell the kids if the punt is behind the line of scrimmage it’s a live ball and we have to get it. I’ve never seen one that went up in the air and stayed behind the line of scrimmage; usually they flutter down the field. Just a heads-up play.”
  • On the defense: "Our defense really improved from a week ago. Statistically it may not show it, but the bottom line is to keep people out of the end zone and we did that better this week than we were last week.  We made this team work, and our personality on defense will really establish itself as we go through a couple more games."
  • On the defense: "Our run defense needs to become sturdier, but in the fourth quarter they played very well. As a whole there is much room for improvement and hopefully we can take a few more steps this week."
  • On what was left out there: "We certainly left a lot of opportunities out there.  'No Opportunities Wasted' is our motto this year, and we certainly left a lot of opportunities out there.  We turned over the ball three times, one was brought back for a score, the other set up a score.  We weren't great on third downs and conversions, and gave up a lot of 3rd down conversions.  Yet we found a way to win the game."
  • On what to improve: "We're still a little bit inconsistent on both sides of the ball.  We need to keep improving on things in all phases.  The kids understand that. We're not strutting around here like we're a championship team. We've kept the kids humble about that. The kids want to be [a championship team] and they're working very hard at it."
  • On the run-up to the game: "Last night, our whole deal was, were were talking about how players win the games.  Players go perform; coaches prepare you, and give you the opportunity to perform."
  • On new faces"There are a lot of guys playing for the first time and from a coach's perspective, you need to see some games before you know how to utilize some of these guys and make sure you've got the right guys.  We're fortunate we don't have any league games for awhile, but we need to keep improving on things."
Senior QB Brandon Bialkowski:
  • On the blocked punt: "You don't expect a second-chance opportunity like that. When it happens, you've got to take advantage which we were able to do. It was a big momentum-shifter."
  • On the record-breaking day with him and senior WR Lee Kurfis: "He was double-covered most of the day and still got open. They blitzed a lot and our line did a great job of picking them up and giving me time to throw."
  • On improving:  "I don't really look at stats as a measure.  I turned the ball over twice and Monmouth scored 10 points off them. That's got to get fixed. We're moving the ball effectively, but we definitely have to cut down on the turnovers."
Senior FB Zach Hayden:
  • On the blocked punt he returned for 37 yards:  "As I was going out there, I knew I had to do something big to make up for that block in the back penalty on the return.  The punt was blocked and my eyes went immediately to the ball.  I caught it, and I think it was just instinct to run with it, get the first down, trying to drag people as far as I could."
  • On the 4th down conversion that set up a key touchdown pass: "I caught the ball, and I kept thinking, 'got to get that first down.'  Just had to lower my shoulder and get it."
  • On the punt return: “I don’t think I’ve ever had a play that special. That’s going to be one that sticks with me for awhile. The play was great and I do think it turned the game around.”
Senior LB Tyler Ward:
  • On coming to Monmouth with something to prove: "After the first game, I was embarrassed to be on the defense, to be honest.  It was unacceptable for the standards we like to play by. All of us were ready to come out and show everyone around the league and nation we can play a little bit, and we’re not going to let people score 40 points on us every week.”
  • On the interception: "After dropping one earlier in the game, the first thing I thought was, make sure you catch this one.  If you drop this one, they might not let you back on the field.  When I caught it, I didn't really know where on the field I was, when I got to the sidelines people told me that I ran it out of the end zone, which is a no-no.  But once I started running there was a lot of green, so I was just trying to get as far as I could, and I actually tripped up on myself a little, and that helped them tackle me."
  • On making plays on defense:  "When they get down there in a red zone situation, someone on the defense there has to make a play.  For our defense, anyone out there can do it.  We have so many guys that can."
  • On making big plays:  "We always tend to make the big play when we need to. Hopefully soon we can start doing that gradually and play with discipline throughout the course of the game and not just in the big moments."
Monmouth head coach Kevin Callahan:
  • On the Lehigh game: “We gave up too many big plays. We negated some of them by forcing turnovers, but when we played consistently in drives, they had a more difficult time moving the ball. But they were able to get some big chunks against us."
  • On the Lehigh game: “I thought what you saw was kind of a crazy game where there were several unusual plays. It was a game you saw a little bit of everything in. The game swung when we blocked a punt, which you think would be a big play in our favor, which turned out to be the biggest play of the game in Lehigh’s favor and they capitalized on it.”
  • On his quarterback, QB Brandon Hill: “He just missed on some guys who were wide open. On some he may have waited a little too long, and it appeared to me that he was waiting to make sure somebody came open instead of anticipating, and that maybe with the interceptions last week he was a little too cautious."

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