Archive For The “Noah Robb” Category
We break down the Fordham game – and we give our fearless prediction below the flip.
Fans, coaches and players alike are keenly aware of the importance of this weekend’s game.
“If you look at our win against Bucknell and our win against Penn, which are our two best wins of the year, those were our two best weeks of practice,” senior TE Chris Ruhl told The Brown and White this week. “It was our most intense week of practice. It was our most focused week of practice, so head coach Andy Coen has been pushing for us to set the standard with that.”
Also in this week’s game notes for Lehigh, which I forgot about for yesterday, sees a big return on the two-deep as well in junior LB Colton Caslow.
“We’ve still got a lot of work to do and we’re still working hard on getting better every single time we step on the field,” senior LB Noah Robb said this week. “We’ve made a lot of progress, even from two weeks ago. We’re getting there.”
Lehigh fans hope they “get there” this Saturday.
“It’s really crazy, honestly,” Robb continued. “To think I only have a couple months left, of football, I don’t know what I’m going to do with myself when it’s over… Off the field, Lehigh is a great place to go. I’ve had opportunities to network. I’ve received a great education and couldn’t ask for a better place to spend the best four years of my life. But I don’t want to leave Lehigh without a [championship] ring.”
Not that long ago, Lehigh football players had to take those dreaded 4 O’Clock exams, an essential, dreaded part of the Lehigh experience.
Today, though the 2015 Lehigh Mountain Hawks are getting areport card of a different sort.
Past the halfway point of the season, it’s time to take a step back and see where the Mountain Hawks are, and where they need to go to get back to the top of the Patriot League.
The season, as befitting a young team, has been inconsistent. At times, Lehigh has looked like a team that could possibly win the Patriot League title. At other times, though, they haven’t.
Fortunately for all Lehigh fans, the Mountain Hawks last game, a gritty 21-10 win over Bucknell, was the equivalent of acing the mid-term exam. That win, which brought Lehigh back to a 3-3 record, was huge. But tougher challenges await in the last five weeks of the season.
The first surprise was Lehigh’s uniforms.
Heading out of the locker room, the Mountain Hawks did not come out in their usual gold helmets, whie jerseys and brown pants.
Instead they came out with the white helmets unveiled in the Bronx – white helmets with “Lehigh” in brown on the sides. They matched the rest of the uniform extremely well – not the pinstripes that were worn in Yankee stadium, but all-white jerseys and all-white pants with brown numerals. White socks and white shoes completed it.
It seemed to have been unveiled today by coach Andy Coen to usher in a new team, and a new, fresh start.
But the best part of the afternoon was that, whatever the reason, the new uniforms worked.
After an early touchdown, the Lehigh defense would only allow a field goal the rest of the way to the Bucknell offense – without two of its top playmakers. When preserving a two-score lead, the Lehigh offense grinded the Bison defense into so much burger meat with a 17 play, 54 yard drive that caused Bucknell head coach Joe Susan to need to burn all three of his timeouts just to get the ball back.
It was enough to come out of Lewisburg with an enormous Patriot League win going into the Mountain Hawk bye week.
The buzz went through the press box in the minutes before last year’s game versus Bucknell that QB R.J. Nitti, the starter for the 4-1 Bison, was not suiting up at quarterback.
Almost immediately, the mood of the Lehigh folks covering the game picked up.
Without Nitti, it would mean little-used QB Trey Lauletta would be the starter in his place. That, along with the injury to the regular starting RB C.J. Williams, what seemed originally like a close matchup between two close teams felt like a very good shot at a win for the winless Mountain Hawks and might actually get Lehigh’s season pointed in the right direction.
It didn’t work out that way.
After jumping out to a 7-0 lead, Bucknell would ride a record-setting performance by WR Will Carter, who would get 3 big-play touchdowns during a stretch of 31 straight Bison points to power through to a 45-24 win over Lehigh and effectively ending any dreams of competing for the Patriot League title.
For the last two seasons, the quest for Lehigh’s Patriot League title hopes have gone through a game versus Bucknell. This year is no different. The road to any sort of Patriot League title hopes for the Mountain Hawks start this weekend in Lewisburg.
In the movie Rudy, Notre Dame head coach Dan Devine gets painted unjustifiably as a bit of a jerk.
His treatment in the movie, I feel, is what prevents Rudy from being a mostly-loved movie from a near-universally loved movie.
Some people will never forgive the moviemakers, for the convenience of drama, for changing the reality of his coaching career.
Yet despite this fact, actor Chelcie Ross manages to deliver one of the iconic halftime locker-room speeches in cinema. You’re not really supposed to like him, as the movie goes, but somehow he manages this great line:
“No one, and I mean no one, comes into our house and pushes us around.”
It’s great because it is a universal football concept. Bowl-eligibility, conference games, even in playing out a 3-8 season, it doesn’t matter. Nobody wants to play the game of football and get pushed around, ever, but to be pushed around at home? Somewhere, you have to draw a line.
This weekend, Yale pushed us around. At home. There’s no hiding it. They weren’t always pretty doing it – the Bulldogs made a fair number of mistakes in the form of penalties and turnovers. But ultimately, they won the game because they pushed us around.
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|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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|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.
With the secondary out of the way, it’s time to focus on Lehigh’s spring roster battles as they relate to the rest of the defense, the linebacking unit and starting defensive line.
On the coaching front, rabid Lehigh football fans will recognize the two position coaches at both linebackers and defensive line.
Both coached alongside of current head coach Andy Coen during two of the Brown and White’s best-ever defensive seasons in 1998 and 1999.
Joe Bottiglieri was the defensive coordinator for the legendary 1998 team, which went 11-0 in regular season play and shocked the world by knocking of Atlantic 10 champions Richmond in the first-ever playoff victory for the Mountain Hawks since Lehigh joined the Patriot League. Along with current defensive line coach Donnie Roberts, Lehigh’s defense held the eventual I-AA champions, UMass, to 26 points and putting Lehigh in a position to win with a minute left in the quarterfinals.
This season, Coach Bott and Coach Roberts will try to recreate that same magic with this year’s team.
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You’d think with a headline like “Past and Present Lehigh Football Players Go Prematurely Bald” that the next sentence I’d be writing would be an ad for “Hair Club For Men”.
Instead, though, I’m going to be writing about how a bunch of Lehigh football players going prematurely bald is a great, inspirational thing.
This past Sunday, “Team Jack” went to nearby Phillipsburg, New Jersey, to get their heads shaved in solidarity with their favorite teammate and biggest fan, ten year old Jack Knudson, and also raise more than $2,000 for the St. Baldrick’s foundation for pediatric cancer research.