Archive For The “Special Teams” Category
Spotlight On: QB Brad Mayes
Rightfully, much of the focus of Lehigh’s football coverage this offseason has been on the offense. That makes sense; after all, Lehigh ranked near the top of every receiving and rushing category in 2016.
Yet most of that coverage has been on guys that have been on preseason FCS all-American teams (senior WR Troy Pelletier, junior RB Dominick Bragalone) or probably should have been on more of them (senior WR Gatlin Casey).
Oddly, the focus on those all-League caliber players have shifted the focus from what could be the most important transition from the 2016 offense to the 2017 offense – the transition to a new starting quarterback.
Certainly, junior QB Brad Mayes was no ordinary understudy for the Lehigh Mountain Hawks last season.
Though technically he did back up QB Nick Shafnisky, he showcased his obvious talent multiple times last year, most notably breaking a Yale Bowl record with 524 passing yards and scoring 6 passing touchdowns in a 63-35 win over Yale.
Much press has rightfully gone to the receivers and running backs, but the direction of the 2017 football season might come down to the play of the quarterback whose number switched from No. 14 to No. 4 this season.
“I think Troy and Dom are outstanding players and they deserve all the recognition they’ve been getting,” Brad told me. “And I’m excited to play alongside those guys, because that makes my job that much easier.”
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|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.
Senior QB Matt McHale? Hurt. Got an injury that he’s rehabbing that has him ruled out of spring ball.
Sophomore QB Nick Shafnisky? Just this week, he got tendonitis in his throwing shoulder, which limited his time this spring.
Senior QB Gerard Poutier? Sorry, no. Still rehabbing a leg injury that he sustained last season.
Suddenly, a former walk-on athlete had gotten most of the reps this spring at the most important position on the field.
Senior QB Albert J. Visconti may not have been the guy that was hyped the most going into the spring, but the former walk-on now has the opportunity of a lifetime that’s every walk-on’s dream: a chance to be “the man” in the highlight of the spring football season.