The media in the run-up to the Wagner game has been more upbeat than one might think considering the Mountain Hawks' 0-4 start.
That's not to say that head coach Andy Coen
is at all happy with how things have started, but his answers to this week's media questions were not what some fans may have expected.
“I’m disappointed, I’m not going to lie,” he told Keith Groller of The Morning Call
. “But again, this is a funny game. It’s never easy. It’s hard to win a game. It really is. At times last year we made it look really, really easy. Right now, we’re making it look really hard.”
On Lehigh Sports Central this week, he said he felt like Lehigh was more competitive against Penn than they were against Yale.
"We just continue to make mistakes," Coen said. "We got the ball first, and turned the ball away.. we've got to get away from all of that stuff, and start playing better football."Read more »
It's different when you're returning champions.
That much was clear when sifting through all the preseason print pieces and videos covering the Lehigh Mountain Hawks.
Expectations return - you're no longer the "hunter", as head coach Andy Coen explained, you're the "hunted".
Managing those expectations has been almost as important for this Lehigh football team as the regular conditioning and X and O's drills of camp.
The common thread with the many print and video pieces and the many interviews is a sense of maturity and a businesslike ethic around this team, especially amongst its leadership.Read more »
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.Read more »
There's a pretty good chance that senior WR Troy Pelletier
, who made the Patriot League's preseason all-Conference team and is on the Walter Payton Award watch list to start the year, will be the starter in the season opener vs. Villanova.
It's also not a headline that junior RB Dominick Bragalone
, also on the Patriot League's preseason all-Conference team, is likely to -shocker! - be a starter on September 2nd.
But that doesn't mean that there still aren't plenty of questions as the Mountain Hawks enter into their fall training camp for fans to think about. Read more »
(Photo Credit: New Hampshire Union-Leader)
It's easy to tune in to college football coverage at the beginning of fall practices, to see the accolades like preseason all-America teams and preseason all-Conference teams and not think about all the hard work that has been put in to prepare for the upcoming season.
Try telling that to the family of senior WR Troy Pelletier
"My family is in New Hampshire and my parents are able to make almost every game," he told me my email. "[But] with my summer job and my commitment to the offseason workout program, I have only been able to spend four days at home since the past Christmas break."
Football players "appreciate the recognition" of preseason awards and nominations, senior OL Zach Duffy told me last week
, but they also understand that most fans also don't see or appreciate the amount of work it takes to become the best football players they can be when there's no crowds, no reporters, and no crazy fans around. Read more »
(Photo Credit: Brown and White)
With this year's Patriot League Media Day being a Patriot League Media Conference call instead, the opportunity is there for media folks to tweet out things like preseason all-Conference lists and the preseason polls.
When the league posted their preseason all-Patriot League team, unsurprisingly there were seven Lehigh football players on it, one of whom was senior OL Zach Duffy.
I sent out a tweet congratulating the seven - Duffy, junior RB Dom Bragalone, junior P/K Ed Mish, senior OL Tim O'Hara, senior WR Gatlin Casey, senior WR Troy Pelletier, and senior DE Tyler Cavenas - and almost immediately Zach responded.
Read more »
In the span of a tweet, Zach established immediately that re-reading one's press clippings from the 2016 season is not something this 2017 edition of the Lehigh football team will be doing. They'll be judged on accomplishments, not preseason all-Conference teams.
Is it already time to ask Santa for a bag filled with new Lehigh recruits?
Since the conclusion of Lehigh's championship 2016 football season, head coach Andy Coen
and all of his assistant coaches have been on the trail recruiting the next great Lehigh football players. While it's a "quiet period" now, as per the NCAA, the Mountain Hawks have been busy.
But what, exactly, does Lehigh need in regards to the offseason?
I forgot; that's why you're here. Let me share what I think.Read more »
Thought I'd put together this multimedia "presentation" of all the seniors that will be playing in #Rivalry152 tomorrow. All the content here, pictures, videos, etc. are mostly courtesy of LehighSports.com, The Morning Call, Lehigh Valley Live, and The Brown and White.
If nothing else it will go you something to do while waiting for tomorrow's game.
Enjoy.Read more »
It is an easy narrative to point at the 150th meeting of The Rivalry as the turnaround for the Lehigh football program, where the Mountain Hawks got together after that bitter, bitter loss and decided that enough was enough, and that they were going to not allow their team to be a cellar-dweller.
For Lafayette, though, you need to go back further, past some very enormous wins over Lehigh, and wonder.
"I can't believe I typed it, but there it is," I wrote back in 2006
after a crushing 49-28 loss where Lehigh was dominated on both lines of scrimmage. "We've lost three straight to Lafayette. and I've got some news: We're no longer the hunted. The sooner we realize that we now have to be the hunter, the better off we'll be."
Read more »
The co-championship they shared with the Leopards that year had the feel of the worst consolation prize imaginable. For the second straight year, Lafayette had stolen the FCS Playoff bid right from under the Mountain Hawks, and it was Lehigh left to sit at home to stew. The post game press conference was as down and dark as could be, the double indignity of losing to Lafayette, and losing any chance at a postseason bid, at the same time.
It felt like Lafayette was on the brink of becoming permanent contenders for the Patriot League championship, meaning their torture of Appalachian State and UMass in the playoffs in consecutive years would be a regular happening over the next decade.
But it never happened.
This year, Lehigh travels to Easton in their big Rivalry game, sitting at 8-2 and having already clinched a portion of the Patriot League championship, only seeking to remove the "co-" from the word "championship". As emotions go, the Mountain Hawks couldn't be riding more of a high, winners of eight straight.
And Lafayette sits at the opposite extreme, sitting at 2-8 and wondering how they've gotten to this point, with only three wins over the last two years.
Anyone at all worried that it's just a wee bit too quiet from Lewisburg? I am.
The narratives coming out of Bethlehem this week - emphatically, me included - are ones of possible Patriot League championships and how the offense is "clicking" and has been very, very good.
That's not usually a very good recipe for a big game for the home side, especially since word out of the Bucknell camp is very, very quiet, even though the Bison still are very much alive in the conversation of winning the Patriot League title and making Lehigh sit at home Thanksgiving weekend.
Last week, Bucknell traveled to the No. 9 team in the country, Charleston Southern
, and proceeded to put up a very good fight in a game that didn't affect Bucknell's title chances one way or another. Though the final tally was 49-28, Bucs, the Bison didn't go away quietly against Charleston Southern's triple-option attack, staying within a touchdown most of the way until the home team pulled away late.
“Our guys played their tails off today and I am proud of them,” Bucknell head coach Joe Susan
said afterwards. “We were able to take advantage of turnovers, but it was frustrating as the score got away from us. Charleston Southern is a very good football team.”
Want to get more worried? Look at the comments from acting Charleston Southern head coach Chad Staggs
, who was in that position after head coach Jamey Chadwell served a one-game suspension.
“I don’t know that we played our best today but you have to give some credit to (Bucknell),” Staggs said. “They came out in the first drive and sort of punched us in the mouth a little. We certainly have to play better, but we won the game. I thought we matched them physically overall. We will look at the film and see how we played. We have to be more disciplined than we were today. We had way too many penalties today and that’s something we have to correct.”Read more »