2016 Season in Review

Forum Forum Lehigh Sports Lehigh Football 2016 Season in Review

This topic contains 13 replies, has 10 voices, and was last updated by Go Lehigh TU Owl Go Lehigh TU Owl 3 years, 10 months ago.

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    I thought I’d post some quick hits on the 2016 season.

    In short, the season’s body of work exceeded expectations overall and I think the seniors and the team in total should feel pretty good about returning LU to the top of the PL and putting us back on the map. Congratulations are deserved.

    To kick-off the points, I think we can say that the start and end to the season was disappointing, but everything else in between was solid and there was excitement for LU football for the first time in a while (IMO).

    The Good:
    – The team regrouped after the opening loss to Monmouth and “gelled” after the Villanova game. I would have liked for us to have another crack at VU.
    – Shafnisky developed nicely this year and became a complete quarterback with the discovery of a deep game. I was less enthralled with him until that happened, but he really grew.
    – Offense was truly a balanced and well-oiled machine. Long-hoped for emergence of Derek Knott really enabled us to pass at will.
    – O-Line was solid all year and played mostly lights out.
    – Defense played with heart and was the “average” that we all said we needed.
    – Special teams, especially Mish and Casey, consistently gave us points and field position.
    – Coaching finally found a deep ball game, which to me, changed the complexion of the O
    – Tyler Cavenas and Laquan Lambert – ’nuff said.
    – Large positive turnover margin

    The Bad
    – Attendance flagged (again). After disappointing seasons, plus a less than inviting and robust game day experience, we saw some tick-ups, but we ain’t where we used to be (yes, I know this is a national trend, but I suspect we’ve decreased at a higher rate)
    – Keeping Caslow in the Lafayette game up by 30+ points.
    – Tackling remained a problem area.
    – Team was not ready for the opener (nor UNH, but more on that)

    The Ugly
    – UNH game, obviously.
    – Defensive run game. I was worried about UNH as soon as I saw their name and their running back. We haven’t been able to stop a powerful running game in years. Even games where we had blow-out wins (Yale, and Fordham), the opponents put up huge numbers. Even against Monmoutn, we were exposed on this front. UNH just showed everyone else.
    – Level of competition. This is not a shot at our opposition, but rather the fact that the PL and Ivies that dominate our schedule do not make Lehigh (or the other PL contenders) “battle-tested and ready”. Yes, Colgate had a nice run last year, but collectively the PL is not ready for prime time. No one, including Lehigh, had a signature OOC win this year. UNH, even at 7-4, was more physical and quicker than Lehigh. I’m not sure that is because we don’t have the toughness or speed, I just think that those CAA teams play at a faster and tougher level than we (PL) do because they do it week-in and week-out.

    – Coaching. After the UNH game, I’m unsure what to make of Coen and Co. They had great game plans for most of the season, but I wonder how much of that (probably a lot) had to do with the level of competition. Against UNH, we abandoned the run WAY to early, but the bigger issue was the complete lack of energy and apparent “deer-in-headlights” we had in the first half. This is not the first time on a big stage that has happened. The tone is always set at the top…..

    There it is. I’m sure you guys will have more to say and this isn’t meant to be exhaustive, but thought I’d put it out there.

    As you’ll note, there are far more “Goods” than “Bads and Uglies”, so it was a good season, with a stunningly disappointing ending. I hope that this won’t devolve into a battle of who are the “positive” fans and who aren’t.

    Congrats again and thanks for a good season!


    Can’t disagree, would only add that under this coach, there have been losses in “big” games. By big, I mean either important out of conference teams or in games that decided the PL championship. I also refer to bizarre, “how can you explain” poor efforts.

    The 2006 PL title game to Lafayette, losses to Villanova, Holy Cross, LC in 2007, Loss to HC in 2008, losses to Central Conn. and Yale in 2009, debacles to Villanova, New Hampshire and Delaware in the 2010 title season, a blowout to NDSU the following season, losing the title game at home against Colgate in 2012, embarrassing losses to Fordham and Lafayette in 2013, the Bronx blowout in 2014 and three stinkers in 2015 including JMU, Princeton and Colgate in another PL title game.

    So add the New Hampshire game of 2016 and a pattern emerges. There have been good wins as well, but the jury’s out on how Andy preps his teams for the big games, in my opinion.



    I never played so this is an honest question. Do coaches prepare a team differently for a “big” game than they do other games? If so, how?
    I presumed you prepare for your opponent, not the moment



    Since you don’t know your opponent until the FCS selections and seedings are done the sunday prior. I doubt it’s really a lot of preparing teams to play THE BIG GAME. A coaching staff can only watch so much film and prepare in the short week with Thanksgiving and travel day in between. Game plan and execution is what you have to go on. Andy said it eloquently in his post game interview “They were better than us in all aspects of the game today”.

    It was a GREAT season.
    Undefeated in league play. PL Champs. Beat all Ivies we played. Improving results (3-8, 6-5, 9-3). Dominated in The Rivalry. 11 All conference players. All conference coach (voted by his peers).
    Let’s shake it off, I think we put UNH behind us and look forward to further progress in the 2017 season.


    Preseason everyone was predicting .500 or so level with 7-4 being a ceiling. We should be thrilled with the season. Yes, UNH was a debacle and the ‘deer in the headlights’ feel may have been attributable, in part, due to not having both the O and D leaders on the field. Missing both Caslow and Shaf had to have had a impact on the mental state of the team. Would we have won with them. Perhaps not, but I’d bet we would have given them a much better game. Mayes was not ‘on’ either. Missing wide open Peletier in the first series which would have put us up right away was a killer for getting that early momentum and connecting makes them have to respect the deep ball more opening up the run game. Football is such an ebb and flow of emotion and field position. At our level, you can probably point to every team in our league over the years and see ‘WTF’ games. NDSU game, likewise, without Spadola. Missing such a key player not only effects the team, it also changes how an opponent will be playing you. Teams with our depth rarely have a replacement at the same skill level. We were picked preason tied for 3rd/4th. We went 6-0 and were close to going 11-0. There was much improvement from 2015 and we should be even better next year.

    Go Lehigh TU Owl
    Go Lehigh TU Owl

    I don’t think this team overachieved that much. I’m pretty sure the expectation was to challenge Fordham and Colgate for the league title before the season began after getting things turned around in 2015. Getting both of them at home only helped Lehigh’s cause. Most figured the offense would win them 6-7 games and the defense would determine the rest. The relative improvement on defense allowed them to take the next step and win the league. Another 6-5 type season given what returned on offense and the state of the defense would have been considered a disappointment.

    What helped was Colgate scheduling themselves out of contention early in the season and the rest of the league tanking. The performance last week against UNH was terrible. Hopefully they raise the bar next year.


    Pretty much agreewith talker and ngineer.
    Some points
    UNH A debacle but not one relevant to varying levels of CAA and PL. UNH was on the staff and 2 sick QBs. Andy specifically hit staff for the inability to right the ship during the game. JMU on a different level than UNH,obviously :).
    This was a very good season for us regardless. I am optimistic for next year. A D that needs to be rebuilt. While I am not a fan of Botts he brought in a superb staff. SutyakRiesing and Ward. Confidant with system set they will plug the holes.
    Agree that overall PL is behind CAA. Dont think with schollie cap and redshirting we will ever be at CAA level top to bottom. We should be more competitive at the top and we are not. Last year and this Andy has altered recruiting strategy quite a bit by targetting position groups and spending his full rides there. Bringing in better athletes. A few more good years like these I believe Lehigh will be much more competitive. Next year we could have a strong 5th yr group.



    JMU on a different level than UNH,obviously :).

    I’m not so sure. This was the 2nd time New Hampshire played JMU this year. The 1st time they lost 42-39. It appears that one of those games is an aberration and the other is a reflection of talent. But which is which :-).
    Note: the 1st game was played in Durham. This one was not.


    Good point. I was just thinking of now. On a given fay top PL should be able to commpete with top CAA if not always beat ghem. Would love to have seen that this year with Shaf.


    Question from Pard board. Some were wondering if FT got fited partly because of Joe’s complaints about attendance.
    Anybody know what this is about?



    Lehigh was given a relatively small allocation ( I think 3,000 tickets…but not sure) and at least for the alumni, we were put well in the end zone. The rest were reserved for Lafayette but they apparently didn’t sell a lot of them while Lehigh was scrambling for tickets. The entire section next to us was empty. I have no idea though whether Frank had anything to do with that.


    The UNH QB we played last week was shaky. The RBs were very good, but should not have been unstoppable. Our D had issues … in part because our O …

    … which played a D that got eaten up today by JMU … was off-kilter.

    On any given Saturday this year’s LU team could match up vs. UNH or JMU and compete well if LU plays error-free football.

    But we are human.

    I don’t think we are near ready to be favorites against the nation’s best anytime soon. Lots has changed since 1977/79.

    Can we compete? If our D dramatically improves, yes.



    Does anyone know who our out of conference opponents are next year. I think we play Yale and Penn again but don’t think we play Princeton.

    Go Lehigh TU Owl
    Go Lehigh TU Owl

    [quote quote=29869]Does anyone know who our out of conference opponents are next year. I think we play Yale and Penn again but don’t think we play Princeton.


    Million dollar question!!

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