Archive For April 30, 2015
|Brown/White Game 2015 (LehighSports.Com)|
We didn’t see much of the starting quarterback for 2015 on Saturday.
Junior QB Nick Shafnisky came in for one play – a hold on an extra point attempt, booted by the punter, senior P/PK Austin Devine.
We didn’t see much of the kicking game – Devine, who didn’t kick conversions last year, is likely in August to revert to full-time punting duties, with an incoming freshman having a golden opportunity to win the starting kicking job.
We saw a little bit of offensive line play – but it’s hard to judge how well this unit will represent the same group in the fall, only because the unit was racked by injury.
So what did we learn, exactly, from Saturday’s Brown and White game? The answer is: more than you might imagine.
The game among the members of the press at the Brown/White game on a gorgeous Sunday morning was counting players.
Everyone knew that the Mountain Hawks had a depleted roster over the spring, made even more depleted with injuries to junior QB Nick Shafnisky, whose arm was shut down, and entire units, with the offensive line and defensive backfield only having enough athletes to barely fill out a single team of 1’s.
In the end, the size of the roster was the smallest anyone in the press box could recall in a Lehigh spring game – a shade under 50 athletes in pads.
Despite the challenges, though, the teams experienced a very productive scrimmage at Murray Goodman stadium, mixing live 11-on-11 full contact drives and 7-on-7 drills.
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|RB Cody Haupt in last year’s Brown/White game (Morning Call)|
Lehigh will hold its annual Brown-White spring football game tomorrow at Murray Goodman Stadium, to be broadcast on the Patriot League Network starting at 10:00 AM and featuring the commentary of Matt Kerr and Mike Yadush.
Below the flip are five things to watch in regards to Saturday’s scrimmage and drills.
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|Coach Coen talking to team (Morning Call)|
With a depleted spring roster, there were some doubts that Lehigh would be able to have a full-blown spring game.
Late this week, though, it was confirmed that the Brown and White game was still on.
It will take place at 10:00AM at Murray Goodman stadium, and will be streamed on the Patriot League Network with Matt Kerr and Mike Yadush providing commentary.
(It will also feature stream-of-consciousness tweeting from this guy.)
“Andy Coen is scheduling an abbreviated session for Saturday’s 10 a.m. intrasquad scrimmage,” Keith Groller of The Morning Call reported today, “with just 40 to 45 live plays plus various drills as his team wants to preserve its limited roster entering the final week of the spring session.”
Still, the abbreviated scrimmage will allow a look, however brief, of the three quarterbacks that will enter the 2015 season’s depth chart.
|Senior SS Randall Lawson (Morning Call)|
Lehigh’s defensive numbers in 2014, as I mentioned before, leave a lot to be desired.
And when you look at the secondary, it’s the same story.
Out of 121 FCS teams, Lehigh ranked 110th in pass defense, and if you watched the unit last year, you also saw too many big plays allowed by the defense, too.
The silver lining, though, is that Lehigh only graduates two players in the secondary, DB Jason Suggs and DB Jamil Robinson, so the returning starters all have a years’ experience under their belt in defensive coordinator Joe Bottiglieri‘s defensive system.
This spring has also posed some challenges for the Lehigh staff, as there are a lot of secondary players on the shelf with injuries, making it a challenge for the remaining players.
|WR Troy Pelletier in an Oct 2014 practice (Brown and White)|
Penn State is frequently called “Linebacker U”, thanks to all the famous linebackers that played for them.
If Penn State is “Linebacker U”, you could make a very good case for Lehigh being “Wide Receiver U.”
Guys like WR Dave Cecchini, WR Rennie Benn, WR Josh Snyder, WR Jake Drwal, WR Ryan Spadola, and WR Lee Kurfis are just six of the many great names that have suited up for the Brown and White, and it’s no wonder that Lehigh Nation would naturally look to this position group for a lot of potential in 2015.
With Lehigh returning a Jerry Rice Award finalist at this position, too, it’s certainly going to be something to watch at the end of the Spring, too.
|LB Colton Caslow (NJ.com)|
Three of four starters return in Lehigh’s linebacking corps in 2015, which is why Lehigh Nation sees this area as one of Mountain Hawk strength in 2015.
Only one senior on the two deep, team captain LB Isaiah Campbell, graduates, meaning the the potential seems high.
With five guys on this unit next season in the top ten in tackles, hopes are high that head coach Andy Coen and defensive coordinator Joe Bottiglieri can craft this group into a more dominating unit this upcoming season.
This spring, many are looking to see how many linebackers take a step forward.
|Senior OL Matt Ford|
We live in a world where we can judge the work of an offensive line by the overall output of the offense.
Gone are the days when you can look at a starters’ height and weight and judge whether they will be a great Patriot League player, or not. And at Lehigh, especially, the bar is particularly high for offensive linemen, with OL Will Rackley making the NFL, and players like OL Ned Daryoush, OL Keith Schauder and countless other all-Patriot League offensive linemen to provide the protection and push to keep drives alive and allow the skill players to make things happen.
Yet last year’s statistics, overall show again that, as a unit, this team too needs to improve.
Chip Kelly‘s Oregon teams averaged 82 offensive plays per game, which allowed the Ducks to become a perennial Pac-12 powerhouse while he was there. By this admittedly high standard, Lehigh’s 70 offensive plays a game falls short.
Some statistics that show signs that Lehigh’s offensive line did a good job in 2014 – like 4th down conversions (24th in the nation) and rushing offense (58th). But one thing’s for certain – this unit, with four returning starters, will need to make one more leap to the next level if Lehigh is to compete for Patriot League championships once again.