Category Archives: Media Day

Patriot League Media Day: Duffy: "No Congratulations Are Needed"

(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.
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.
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Lehigh Picked Tied for 3rd At Patriot League Media Day, Eager To Get To Work

The Patriot League officially kicked off the 2016 football season with football media day at the Green Pond Country Club, and Lehigh was picked in a tie for 3rd.  Colgate was picked 1, Fordham was picked 2, and tied with the Mountain Hawks was Holy Cross at 3.

Senior OL Zach Duffy and senior LB Laquan Lambert, were asked what they thought of the preseason pick.

In other years, you might have gotten a bit of a chest-thumping response, but this year's group was notable in the calm way they answered the questions.

"I think that's fair," Zach said.  "It's where we finished last year, and we haven't proved much yet.  We haven't achieved our goals yet.  I wouldn't have wanted to be picked any higher since we haven't earned it."

"We have high expectations on ourselves," Laquan added.  "This fuels the fire for us.  We're just going to have to take it day by day if we want to win a championship."

No cries of disrespect - just a quiet sense of needing to return to work, which seems to summarize fairly well the attitude I sensed from the Lehigh table at Media Day.  "Workmanlike."


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In Unfamiliar Place, Lehigh Embraces Role As Underdog

It was a very notable fact that there were no long faces at Lehigh's table at Patriot League Media Day.

That's not to say everyone was satisfied.

It is true that the Mountain Hawks were picked to finish fifth in the preseason poll, the lowest they had ever been picked as far as anyone could remember.

It is also true that, when the subject of the defeat at the hands of Lafayette in the 150th meeting of the Rivalry came up, visible discomfort crossed the faces of junior QB Nick Shafnisky, junior LB Colton Caslow, and head football coach Andy Coen, as you would expect.

But the results of the preseason polls and the outcome of the last game of last season could not dampen the enthusiasm emanating from Lehigh's table today.

"Last year, we were picked second, and this year, we're picked fifth," Shafnisky said with his characteristic fast-paced energy.  "and... we'll see how we turn out this year.  I can't wait to see."

"We're going to put our cleats on, and run as hard as we can to go catch them, Coen said in the same video, seemingly ready to lace them up himself and take the field and knock a few heads if necessary.
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Patriot League Media Day: Lehigh Picked 5th

In the past, the opening comments from the Patriot League Executive director took a good ten to fifteen minutes.

But since it was Jennifer Heppel's second day on the job, her opening comments were short and sweet.

"I turned on the computer, retrieved a voicemail, and despite the fact that I was convinced I would lose the battle, I considered it a day well lived," she said.

Before addressing the assembled media at the Green Pond Country Club, she had met with all seven Patriot League football coaches and discussed the different rules changes.

"I couldn't be more excited to be here honored to be the next leader of the Patriot League," she continued in her brief comments.

A few minutes later, Lehigh was picked to finish fifth in the preseason Patriot League football poll.  Sophomore WR Troy Pelletier, junior LB Colton Caslow and senior P Austin Devine were named to the preseason all-League team, and just like that, the media were unleashed to meet with the coaches, administrators, and athletes.
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Lehigh Picked To Finish 2nd; Two Make 2014 Preseason All-Patriot Team

It was not a shock, at the Green Pond country club halfway between Bethlehem and Easton, that Fordham was picked to finish first in their first season back as a full card-carrying member of the Patriot League.

After all, they had two preseason Walter Payton award candidates on their roster, QB Michael Nebrich and WR Sam Ajala, as well as 10, count 'em, 10 other members on the Patriot League preseason All-League team.  Scholarships, and the great coaching and recruiting ability of head coach Joe Moorhead, had Fordham as the runaway favorite.

It was a shock, however, to see who was picked to finish right behind the Rams.

Though Lehigh was coming off a 2013 season where they were ranked in the Top 25 most of the year, they only had two players on the preseason all-League team, senior OL Ned Daryoush and senior DL Tim Newton.  

Nonetheless, the Mountain Hawks were picked second over the two teams that beat Lehigh last season, Lafayette and Bucknell, the two teams that kept Lehigh from a Patriot League championship and the FCS playoffs last season.

The vote was close - only three votes separated the Maroon and the Brown - and it showed how little separates the rest of the Patriot League in the eyes of the coaches and media.
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