Posted: March 19, 2008
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – For the first time since late November, the Lehigh football program will head out to the John C. Whitehead practice fields as the Mountain Hawks begin preparations for the 2008 season with the start of spring practice. After a tough winter workout series that included speed, strength and agility training, Lehigh will get things going on Friday, March 21 under the direction of third year head coach Andy Coen. “We’re certainly excited to get back out onto the football field,” Coen explained. “We had a great off-season in the weight room, the kids worked hard and our strength staff did a great job to get the team prepared for what lies ahead.”
Coen continued, “It’s always great to get back on the practice field as spring football serves as the beginning of next season. This is especially true when the prior season did not live up to our expectations.”
As was the case last year, Coen said this spring camp will feature a good deal of competition with a number of spots still up for grabs. “We do have a lot of players returning who were major contributors in 2007, but I expect to see a lot of competition out there and guys fighting for playing time.”
One position that is sure to receive a good deal of attention is the quarterback spot. The Mountain Hawks graduate Sedale Threatt, who threw for over 4,600 yards during his two-and-a-half year stint as Lehigh’s signal caller. “That will be the number-one point of interest is the competition at that quarterback spot. We have a good group in junior Chris Bokosky and sophomores J.B. Clark and Trace Cisneros and they’ll each have an opportunity to show what they can do.”
Bokosky has the most experience of the trio, having started three games last season, but Coen said each candidate will get an equal shot to show his stuff.
Another spot sure to garner plenty of attention is Lehigh’s running game, which returns a trio of very talented backs, starting with senior Matt McGowan. McGowan missed nearly the entire 2007 season, but when healthy showed he was more than capable, as evidenced by his career-high 124 yard performance in a 45-0 win over Georgetown. “Matt is back and ready to go,” Coen explained. “Hopefully we can keep him healthy because as everyone saw last year, he’s a very productive player when he’s out there.”
Also returning at running back are sophomores Jaren Walker and Kwesi Kankam who both earned Patriot League Rookie of the Week accolades as freshmen. That pair combined for over 600 rushing yards and four touchdowns, starting six games between them. “The benefit of having played (Kwesi) Kankam and (Jaren) Walker is they enter this season with a good deal of experience. Now they must improve upon what they learned in the fall and continue to get better.”
On defense Lehigh’s front seven figures to be a very strong group led by the return of All-League defensive lineman Brian Jackson, and linebackers Tim Diamond and Matt Cohen. “I’m very excited about what that group returns, but we would like to continue to build depth there as we move throughout the spring,” said Coen. “We have a number of players throughout that group that saw some playing time this past season, and we’ll be looking for them to take the next step.”
Lehigh’s spring practice will culminate with the annual Brown and White football game inside of Goodman Stadium on Saturday, April 19. The event is free of charge and open to all.
Media members wishing to attend a spring practice should contact Mike Stagnitta or a member of the Lehigh Sports Media Relations staff in advance.
2008 Lehigh Football Spring Practice Schedule
Friday, March 21 - TBA
Saturday, March 22 – TBA
Monday, March 24 – 4:30 PM
Friday, March 28 – 4:30 PM
Saturday, March 29 – TBA
Monday, March 31 – 4:30 PM
Friday, April 4 – 4:30 PM
Saturday, April 5 – TBA
Tuesday, April 8 – 4:30 PM
Thursday, April 10 – 4:30 PM
Saturday, April 12 – TBA
Monday, April 14 – 4:30
Wednesday, April 16 – 4:30 PM
Thursday, April 17 – 4:30 PM
Saturday, April 19 – Brown and White Spring Game, TBA^
Please note that all practice dates, times and locations are subject to change due to adverse weather conditions and other factors.