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Villanova at Lehigh Game Narratives: Excitement High In Bethlehem For Top 25 Matchup

It's different when you're returning champions.

That much was clear when sifting through all the preseason print pieces and videos covering the Lehigh Mountain Hawks.

Expectations return - you're no longer the "hunter", as head coach Andy Coen explained, you're the "hunted".

Managing those expectations has been almost as important for this Lehigh football team as the regular conditioning and X and O's drills of camp.

The common thread with the many print and video pieces and the many interviews is a sense of maturity and a businesslike ethic around this team, especially amongst its leadership.
There is lots of stuff to look at in terms of preview pieces this week.

The premiere of Lehigh Sports Central was this week hosted by Service Electric's Steve Degler, and featured a nice, concise season preview with an interview of head coach Andy Coen.



In addition, WFMZ 69 had a piece in the local news on the upcoming season as well, featuring senior OL Brandon Short.

The Morning Call's Keith Groller interviewed junior S Sam McCloskey in his preview piece of the Villanova game (with video).

“We felt like we let one slip away last year,” junior captain and strong safety Sam McCloskey said. “Defensively, we know they’re going to run the ball at us. That’s what they did last year and what we expect them to do this year. We’ve got to win first down and get off the field on third down and let our offense go to work. We can’t stay on the field too long.”
S Sam McCloskey (Brent Hugo/Lehigh Athletics)

Lehigh Valley Live's Brad Wilson also had a piece on McCloskey.

"We'd much rather play a team like Villanova than a weaker team before Patriot League play," said the 5-foot-10, 200-pound native of Altoona, a Bishop Guilfoyle graduate. "It's very exciting to play a top-10 team in our home opener. We let a game slip away from us down there last year (26-21). We're really comfortable playing them at home and we hope we can pull our home opener out."

LFN also had a spotlight on McCloskey.

"It's a great honor [being nominated as captain]," he told me after the announcement.  "It is a vote by my peers and I'm glad they felt comfortable with me in this position.  There are a lot of guys worthy of this position and that is great for our team."

Brad also penned a piece on junior QB Brad Mayes:

"We're not going into the season with big heads," he said. "We're just focused on what we're doing and focused on the first game. Last year (going 9-3 and winning the Patriot League) was a lot of fun and we're going to try and do that again."

LFN also had a piece on Mayes as well.

"I've really been trying to focus on just working out this summer and dropping some more weight and becoming more mobile so I'm able to do some more things," he told me.  "The biggest area of my game I've been working on would be trying to be more than just a pocket passer. I've been working on speed, loosening up my hips to become more agile, and just becoming a real student of the game and knowing the ins and outs of our offense."

The Morning Call's Keith Groller had as a part of his Lehigh season preview a spotlight on senior WR Troy Pelletier.

“There has been a lot of good players here and the list goes on and on,” Pelletier said. “There were many reasons why I came here, but the fact that they’ve had a lot of good receivers and the ball was thrown to them a lot, that attracted me.”

Also as a part of Lehigh Sports Central, there was a video feature on the amazing story of senior WR Sasha Kelsey - a tremendous piece talking about his amazing journey to South Mountain.




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