Archive For The “Kevin Callahan” Category
(Photo Credit: Monmouth Athletics)
Football is a physical game, and it requires a tremendous amount of strength to line up, play after play, to push people around down after down.
As a result football games sometimes can evolve into contests where the teams push each other around, and such games can end up where one team gets worn down and the other pulls away for a big victory.
That’s what happened this weekend at Monmouth.
The Hawks started out behind the eight-ball early, falling behind by two scores, and then rallying to take a 27-21 lead relatively early in the third quarter. But the physical beating, slowly and surely, took its toll, eventually knocking the offense out of kilter and the pushing the defense out of the way for their powerful running game. In the end, Lehigh only could be punched in the mouth so many times, and fell, 46-27.
It was an especially hard loss to take because this isn’t how the 2017 season was supposed to happen.
“The tougher man wins,” head coach Andy Coen said after the game. “They were a lot tougher and more physical than we were.”
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It pretty much started with RB Pete Guerrerio’s 70 yard kickoff to open the game, and continued throughout a bruising, physical football game.Lehigh would battle back from a 14-0 deficit to take the lead at halftime, but ultimately surrendered the lead…
(Photo Credit: Asbury Park Press)
Thanks to Monmouth’s game notes and the Asbury Park Press, which is the source of all of this research.
One thing you might want to consider bringing with you to the game on Saturday is clothes to donate.
“At today’s football game against Lehigh and tonight’s men’s soccer game against UMBC members of the Monmouth athletics community will be collecting clothing to be sent to those affected by Hurricane Harvey,” Monmouth’s game preview says.
It can seem like one is powerless with hurricane destruction in Houston and potential hurricane destruction in Florida, but contributions like this can help make a difference.
It was days later, and head coach Andy Coen was still frustrated with last week’s loss.
That was the takeaway from the two pieces that came out in the local media this week, one from Lehigh Sports Central, and the other from Keith Groller of The Morning Call.
“Still a lot of frustration there,” he told Steve Degler. “You know there are going to be some mistakes in that first game, but veteran guys, new guys, we made too many mistakes, and gave Villanova too many opportunities. It was very tough to take.”
In last week’s post game press conference, and this week’s media meeting, the theme was “cleaning up the mistakes”.
“We’re really excited and want to put that first ‘W’ in the win column,” junior LB Matt Butler said. “We left a few plays on the field against Villanova; plays we’d like to have back. We had a few mental errors that cost us. We need to clean that up this week.”
Monmouth and Lehigh have a lot more in common than meets the eye.
They don’t share a conference – the Mountain Hawks are in the Patriot League in all sports, while the Jersey Hawks (my name for Monmouth’s mascot) compete in the Big South in football, and the MAAC in all other sports.
But athletically, in terms of everything from enrollment, participation to overall athletic department spending, Monmouth and Lehigh are like peas in a pod. They are both universities; they both have between 4,000 and 5,000 undergrads; and the size of their athletic departments are similar as well.
The Mountain Hawks and the Jersey Hawks have also been frequent opponents of the other in football and men’s basketball as well. Since 2010, Lehigh has played Monmouth twice in men’s basketball and five times on the gridiron. (Recently, it was announced that Monmouth’s hoop squad and their wacky bench antics will be headed to Stabler this fall to play Lehigh hoops as well.)
But in football the last few years, Lehigh’s games against Monmouth have proven a liability to their national stature. That’s because they’ve lost their last two games against the Jersey Hawks, and while their loss last season wasn’t stated as a reason why the Mountain Hawks didn’t earn a home game in the FCS Playoffs, it was the one, big blemish on Lehigh’s record that may have prevented them from being in consideration for a possible seed (and, by extension, at least one home game).
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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.”
We break down Monnmoth after the flip.
Looking at Monmouth, danger abounds if you’re a Lehigh fan. Jumping right into the preview, you’ll see why.
A lot can change in a week.
At least that’s what Lehigh players and fans are hoping.
Frustration abounds in Mountain Hawk Nation in their 0-3 start, and no matter that two teams they’ve played, New Hampshire and James Madison, have displayed that they are Top 25 caliber teams.
It can’t be used as an excuse that Lehigh seems to be the opponent circled on every team’s schedule, either. That’s part of being at Lehigh: you always have the target on you.
Monmouth (2-1), too, will have a very large target on Lehigh’s back, after last years’ narrow 28-25 loss to the Mountain Hawks and will undoubtedly have looked at the national defensive rankings at the FCS level and seen Lehigh’s squad ranked 120 out of 121 total non-transitioning FCS teams in total defense, beating only Columbia, who has only played in one game this season.
But a lot can change in a week. At least that’s what Lehigh players and fans are hoping.
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By definition, every team I profile in this “Know Your 2014 Opponents” series is new. There are new faces, a fresh, new 0-0 record, and a fresh start for the football season.
For Monmouth, though, who visits Lehigh on September 27th, there’s a whole lot more new stuff.
Start with a new football conference. The Hawks (or Jersey Hawks, as I call them) move to the Big South in football only, where they will be competing against some football powers like Coastal Carolina and Liberty. Gone is their independent schedule from 2013.
Then head to the helmets and uniforms, where it shows off Monmouth’s status as an up-and-coming athletics program. Gone are the gothic interlocking “M” and “U”, and in its place a silver helmet, with a classic looking “M”, takes its place.
Perhaps unfortunately for the Mountain Hawks, though, the players who inhabited the old uniforms last season return to inhabit the new ones, meaning Lehigh will face a team with a boatload of experience.
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(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.