Archive For The “Offensive Line” Category
Spotlight On: Brandon Short and Zach Duffy
Somewhere after the end of the 2016 season, senior OL Brandon Short and senior OL Zach Duffy announced that they would be enrolling in graduate school at Lehigh and playing their final years of eligibility, which had to make offensive line coach Andy Merino and head coach Andy Coen high-five each other. Short and Duffy, along with senior OL Tim O’Hara, gives the Mountain Hawks a rock-solid center and bookend tackles with loads of game experience that helped carve the way for Lehigh’s astounding offense last year.
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Going into last weekend, most people thought that Holy Cross might pose a problem for the Mountain Hawks defensively.
The Crusader defense had shut out two opponents, contributing to wins over Lafayette two weeks ago, 42-0, and a CAA team, Albany, 37-0.
How would Lehigh’s offensive line do against Holy Cross’ defensive front?
Once the dust had settled on Saturday, the answer was: “just fine, thanks for asking.”
The Mountain Hawks did an awful lot of things right on offense last week, jumping out to a 41-10 halftime lead, carving out 543 offensive yards and executing 83 offensive plays. But the foundation for that offensive explosion came from a vastly improved performance on the offensive line.
|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.
It’s not exactly a secret that the foundation of Lehigh’s offense in the Andy Coen era is an exceptional pass blocking unit.
With graduates from this unit like OL Keith Schauder, OL A.J. Hood, OL Troy McKenna, C Matt Lippincott and OL Will Rackley, who earns his paycheck on the offensive line of the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars, it’s clear that offensive line is always a priority for Coen and offensive line coach Brett Sawyer.
This year sees Lippincott and Hood graduate, but also sees a lot of excitement with a lot of returning starting talent – including a bookend tackle in senior OL Ned Daryoush.