Skip to main content

Monmouth At Lehigh Game Narratives: Expect A Close Game

We break down Monnmoth after the flip.

Going into the first game of the season there are oodles of storylines on both teams.

One important storyline from Monmouth coming from Hawks coach Kevin Callahan is that Monmouth has a brutal eight road games in the 2016 season, thanks to construction being done on their home field, Monmouth Stadium.

With all the focus on defense in the run-up to this game, senior OL Zach Duffy also talked a bit about that the offense is raring to go as well.

"It's the most productive camp I've been in the past four years I've been here,, he told Keith Groller of The Morning Call.  "We were put in a position to get a lot of good [strength and conditioning] work in.   We have a lot of experience with a lot of guys returning and that's especially important up front where we have three guys returning including myself.   And then we have junior WR Troy Pelletier, Shaf [senior QB Nick Shafnisky] and sophomore RB Dom Bragalone. I think we're in a really good spot entering Week 1. A lot of that has to do with the work we put in during the offseason. We didn't want to be happy with how last year ended and we didn't want to get complacent. We put in a lot of hard work and stayed motivated and I think that says a lot about the leadership we have on this team."




Both sides are keenly aware that the last three games in this series have come down to the final quarter.

"The games have all gone to the fourth quarter," Callahan said.  "There have been games determined by the last possession, and I would think this year would be a similar type game.  I think our guys are ready for that type of contest, I know our guys are working really hard and are excited about the opportunity, and I think it's going to be a great game on Saturday."

Head coach Andy Coen also holds plenty of respect for the Jersey Hawks as well.

"Monmouth plays a spread style offense," he said in the Lehigh Football report, "and our secondary is definitely going to get stressed.  They have a veteran quarterback, his 3rd year in a starter, very athletic, he can escape and run like Shaf.  Two excellent wide receivers, an outstanding tailback, there's tremendous skill in the Big South.  On offense, we want to establish the run, and Monmouth will want to stop the run."

Coen also said a point of emphasis was protecting the football on offense too.

"What we didn't do very well last year is protect the football," he said.  "We spent a lot of time every practice with a ball disruption drill and a ball security drill.  It's really been burned into their minds that it's important to create turnovers and take care the football.  I'm going to be very upset if those things don't work out for us in Week 1."

"They're such a dynamic offense," Callahan said of Lehigh.  "They've got weapons everywhere you look on the offensive side, and the challenge is not overplaying one aspect of their offense and giving up a big play in another area, and being sound in what you do."

There's another big narrative heading into the weekend: senior QB Nick Shafnisky's final season on South Mountain, the latest of a series of great local area quarterbacks coming to Lehigh over the decades.
"I personally love it," Shafnisky said. "My dad talks about it all the time, obviously you got more attention being local. ... I love that my best friends can come back and see me play a game or two before my career is over, whenever it is." 
Quarterbacks typically get all the credit after wins and all the blame after losses. That may be magnified when playing in your backyard, but head coach Andy Coen believes the pressure is good for his quarterback. 
"I think he thrives on it," Coen said. "Nick's the type of guy that if you say, 'I can throw the ball the ball and hit it there,' he's like, 'Well I can throw it further and more precisely.' He's just that type of guy. He's always going to be that way."


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Patriot League Commit Tracker, Class of 2022

(Photo Credit: Steve Hockstein/NJ Advance Media)

With this year's early signing period in December, along with traditional signing day in February and additional signing of recruits up until May, it felt like the right time to resurrect the Patriot League Commit Tracker for the class of 2022.

This is intended to be a rolling list, updated as we go, as student-athletes going to any Patriot League school sign National Letters of Intent.

We don't know the whole story yet behind each school's recruiting class.  But this post is intended to put in one place what we know so far.

As I learn more, I will add more names to each list.

Troy Pelletier Hasn't Stopped Outworking His Rivals On His Journey To Professional Football

Many Patriot League football fans remember the 153rd meeting between Lehigh and Lafayette, one that ended happily for the Mountain Hawks.

They might remember the MVP performance of QB Brad Mayes, or perhaps the halftime speech by OL Zach Duffy that seemed to spur the Mountain Hawks to victory.

Or perhaps they might remember the spectacular single play of Mayes rolling right and finding WR Gatlin Casey in the end zone to give the Mountain Hawks a lead they didn't relinquish.  It was an incredible play by Mayes, who returns this upcoming year for his senior season, and Casey, who, having exhausted his eligibility at Lehigh, will be playing one more year at Middle Tennessee State.

As great as those individual moments are, though, they are not my biggest takeaway of that game.

Too many Lehigh people forget that Lehigh was down 31-21 at half, and that victory was no sure thing.  And they sometimes forget that so much of that victory came from the grinding of WR Troy Pelletier, deliver…

Fifteen Guys Who Might be Lehigh's Next Football Coach (and Five More)

If you've been following my Twitter account, you might have caught some "possibilities" as Lehigh's next head football coach like Lou Holtz, Brett Favre and Bo Pelini.  The chance that any of those three guys actually are offered and accept the Lehigh head coaching position are somewhere between zero and zero.  (The full list of my Twitter "possibilities" are all on this thread on the Lehigh Sports Forum.)

However the actual Lehigh head football coaching search is well underway, with real names and real possibilities.

I've come up with a list of fifteen possible names, some which I've heard whispered as candidates, others which might be good fits at Lehigh for a variety of reasons.

UPDATE: I have found five more names of possible head coaches that I am adding to this list below.

Who are the twenty people?  Here they are, in alphabetical order.