Category Archives: Nick Shafinsky

Fordham At Lehigh Narrative Street: Stats Don’t Win Ballgames, Players Do

Junior WR Troy Pelletier seems to want the game to start now.  Like, yesterday.

When you read and hear the interviews with him at media day this week, he seems to want the game to start right after the interview, to go on the field and get the game over with right now.

Though he knows he and teammate junior WR Gatlin Casey are on top of the total receiving yardage list in FCS, that's not what he wanted to talk about on Wednesday.

"I haven't really put much thought into it," Pelletier told Greg Joyce of Lehigh Valley Live. "I just know good things are going to happen if we prepare the right way. We focus on each day to get better. We're confident if we put ourselves mentally and physically taking care of our body, good things are going to happen."

There was lots of "focusing on getting better, taking it one game at a time" talk from both Pelletier and head coach Andy Coen this week, as you might expect.  But their body language said something else: when will Saturday get here?
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LFN’s Midseason Report Card

Not that long ago, Lehigh football players had to take those dreaded 4 O'Clock exams, an essential, dreaded part of the Lehigh experience.

Today, though the 2015 Lehigh Mountain Hawks are getting areport card of a different sort.

Past the halfway point of the season, it's time to take a step back and see where the Mountain Hawks are, and where they need to go to get back to the top of the Patriot League.

The season, as befitting a young team, has been inconsistent.  At times, Lehigh has looked like a team that could possibly win the Patriot League title.  At other times, though, they haven't.

Fortunately for all Lehigh fans, the Mountain Hawks last game, a gritty 21-10 win over Bucknell, was the equivalent of acing the mid-term exam.  That win, which brought Lehigh back to a 3-3 record, was huge.  But tougher challenges await in the last five weeks of the season.

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LFN’s Season Preview: Healthy Shaf Key To Keeping the Points Coming

Lehigh QB Nick Shafnisky (Morning Call)
Junior QB Nick Shafnisky spent Patriot League media day telling the gathered media about haters drinking the haterade.

Well, he didn't exactly say it like that.  But he did talk about proving the haters wrong.

"I love having people either be there for me or count me out," he said.  "Personally, I love it all.  I love haters.  I was just saying to my dad - the more people are talking bad about you, the more people you have to prove wrong.  I love proving people wrong, and making my coaches from high school proud."

Now finally healthy, Shafnisky finally has the chance to prove a lot of people wrong - those that doubted his ability to recover from a Rivalry game he'd rather forget, those that thought he might not get over the injury that severely limited him last season, those that picked Lehigh to finish fifth, sixth, or even seventh in the Patriot League.

Despite an infections optimism that carried all the way through the preseason, you could see the chip forming on Shafnisky's shoulder that day, as well as junior LB Colton Caslow's.

How Shaf and Caslow perform with that chip on their shoulder is going to play a big part in the 2015 season.

"We want to show that the 3-8 team you guys saw last year is not what Lehigh's about, and it's not what Lehigh football is about," Shaf said.  "When they announced that we were picked fifth, Colton and I just looked at each other, and said, 'We'll see.'  Everyone has a different chip on their shoulder to prove everyone wrong."
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How To Get Lehigh Fans To Games, And Keep Them There?

You don't have to have attended more than twenty-five years of Lehigh football games to know it's a completely different world out there for your friendly neighborhood sports fan.

When Lehigh's Murray Goodman Stadium was opened in 1988, there were only about a dozen channels on the small, eighteen inch black and white TV we had in our dorm room.  Only two channels might have had "major college football" games on at the same time a Lehigh football game was being played live over the mountain.  (Notre Dame, the only school who had all their games televised, almost always played their games at 3:30 PM.)

Nowadays there's way more entertainment options on a typical college weekend than ever, and it's very logical to think that the increased amount of competition might not just keep students away from attending football games, but local fans as well.

It's not an issue confined to Lehigh - in 2014, home attendance at all FBS games dropped to their lowest levels in fourteen years.  As student options have increased across the country, home attendance has decreased.

It's a question worth asking at a school like Lehigh - how to get fans to the games, and keep them coming back?
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UNH Was An Object "Lesson" in FCS Football For Mountain Hawks

"Have fun writing this game up," a journalist friend helpfully told me on Saturday when the Mountain Hawks fell behind 4-1.

No, Virginia, it wasn't a whole lot of fun writing up Lehigh's drubbing by UNH.

Losses are no fun for any Lehigh football fan, of course.  It's no more fun to write about a oh-so-close-to-a-win game against James Madison than it is to give up fifty points to your mortal rival.

It was awful hard to grasp at some positives about a game which was pretty much over at halftime.

But I did find some.

The biggest one of all is that this is not the FBS, where a September loss can spell the difference of the plus-one playoffs and a mid-tier bowl.

Even though Lehigh is 0-2, they are not knocked out yet.
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Lehigh Offense Mic’Ed Up And Jacked Up For The Season

Lehigh's newest online multimedia involves the Lehigh coaching staff on microphone.

This week it was newly-promoted defensive coordinator Joe Bottiglieri, and in the video below you see the coach in various stages of instruction.

The piece of the video that relates to the offense, though, is the highlight of the piece.

Sophomore TE Zach Bucklin, "built like a small Volkswagen", as coach Bott himself mentioned, barreled into Lehigh's defensive coordinator, sending them both to the ground.

In an odd sort of way, Bucklin's tire tracks over Bottiglieri's back signifies what Lehigh's offense hopes to be in the 2014 season as well.

Sure, Lehigh will still have the type of offense that will work fast and spread things out.  Sure, the playbook will still be as think as a phone book.  But to think of this as a finesse team may be a mistake.  They may very well be a team that simply is also going to try to out-run and out-muscle you more often.

And, if necessary, run you over.
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Before Looking Ahead, A Peek At Lehigh’s "Achievements"

(Photo Credit: Bob Cornell/Colgate Sports Information via the Morning Call)

There will be an entire week to get ready for the 149th meeting between Lehigh and a certain school from Easton.

But it's worth taking a tiny peek back at this weekend's game - just a tiny one - to see how far this team has come.

This Lehigh team has gone through a multitude of challenges this season, on the field and off.

And it's a true "achievement", no matter what happens this Saturday, that this team is in a position to win the Patriot League the final weekend of the year.
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Lehigh "Disappears" For A Week And Hopes to Reappear In Thick of Title Race

Face it - it was a weird weekend without Lehigh football.

It's been a while since the Mountain Hawks have had a bye weekend this late in the season, and while Lehigh "disappeared" from the Patriot League title race this weekend, a lot more became clear in the Patriot League title race while they were not playing a football game this Saturday.

Three teams - Colgate, Lafayette, and Lehigh - can guarantee their spot in the playoffs if they win their remaining games.  Two others - Holy Cross and Bucknell - need to win, and get help, in order to win the autobid.  Only Georgetown has been eliminated from the race officially.  (Fordham, at 9-0, is not eligible for the Patriot League's autobid, but barring a late-season collapse seems well poised for one of FCS's at-large bit to the playoffs.)

Lehigh reappears this week with a simple goal: win this week, and get to next week.  But there's no margin for error.  One loss, and realistically, Lehigh can watch their chances at a Patriot League championship and the FCS playoffs "disappear".
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BREAKING: Brandon Bialkowski To Have Season-Ending Collarbone Surgery

Late on Monday night, senior QB Brandon Bialkowski delivered the news that Lehigh fans feared, but also suspected: that he will be gone for the rest of the year with season-ending collarbone surgery.

It appears that the collarbone was broken so badly that he'll need an iron plate and screws to reconnect it.

The guy we call "BB" got hurt in the game against Bucknell, after leading the Mountain Hawks to a 6-2 record and positioning Lehigh towards another potential Patriot League title.

Thoughts and prayers to him and his family.
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