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Quarterback decision won't be distraction at Lehigh
Coen looking for consistency at the key position.
The question, as it seems to be almost every year at Lehigh, is: Who’s going to be the quarterback?
Just as was the case in 2008, Mountain Hawks coach Andy Coen will begin training camp next week with three guys vying for the position.
Senior J.B. Clark, junior Chris Lum and sophomore Mike Colvin are all in the mix to see who will call the signals in the Sept. 4 season opener at Drake.
But Coen said Tuesday at the Patriot League’s annual Media Day luncheon that he doesn’t believe the quarterback decision will be a distraction for his squad.
“It’s probably the biggest question and challenge we face entering training camp,” Coen said. “But it’s a good problem. It’s different from 2008 when it was between J.B. and Chris Bokosky. We’ve got two guys who have proven they can do some good things out there. It’s just going to be a matter of finding the one who’s going to be the most consistent.”
Neither Clark nor Lum was consistent enough in 2009 when Lehigh dropped four of its first five games and finished 4-7, its worst record since 1997.
Colvin, used primarily as a running threat out of the wildcat formation, suffered a broken leg in Week 7 at Bucknell, but looked fine in the spring and is expected to be 100 percent for the start of camp.
“I don’t think the quarterback battle will be a problem for this team,” Coen said. “I talked to the seniors at length in the spring and it didn’t bother them then. You’d love as a coach to have a proven kid coming in who does all of the right things, but I think last year proved we don’t have that person yet. I certainly think any of the guys in the mix are capable of being that guy.”
And Coen made clear it was a three-man discussion.
“What Mike Colvin did last year prior to getting injured probably merits him a look,” Coen said. “He’s the most versatile of those guys in terms of what he can do running the football. It could be a challenge in itself to get three guys enough reps in camp to make a fair evaluation. We’ll see.”
Adding to the intrigue with the offense is the arrival of offensive coordinator Dave Cecchini, the former Lehigh All-American and coach whose arrival from The Citadel was greeted with much anticipation.
Fans are expecting big things from Cecchini, especially with nine returning starters on offense, including the entire line.
One of those linemen, senior left tackle Will Rackley, is a preseason All-America selection.
“People can expect us to build on what we did last year and do it with more efficiency,” Rackley said. “The biggest difference is that we’re going to be in a huddle much more this year. I like that because you can get in the huddle and regroup and refocus.”
Rackley also likes the enthusiasm Cecchini brings.
“He’s an exciting guy,” Rackley said. “He brings a lot of passion to the game.”
Cecchini also brings a reminder of the program’s glory days, a stretch between 1998 and 2001 when Lehigh went 45-5 and won four straight Patriot League championships.
Coming off three straight losing seasons, only the most optimistic among fans expects a title this fall. Many diehards are just hoping the team survives a brutal non-league schedule that includes defending national champ Villanova, New Hampshire and Harvard and three road trips to New England in total.
But with 43 letterwinners and 17 starters back, Coen feels good about what’s ahead.
“I was probably guilty of being too optimistic last year with all of the youth we had,” Coen said. “The test to me was how the kids reacted when the schedule came out. They were excited about it, and to me, that says we got the right guys. We’ve got guys who want to compete against Villanova, New Hampshire and the rest of the good teams we’ll play.
“But when people ask me what’s the most important game, it’s Drake in the season opener. That’s the one we have to get ready for because we need to show right away we can beat a good football team.”
Quarterback decision won’t be distraction at Lehigh
By Keith Groller, OF THE MORNING CALL