PATRIOT LEAGUE PREVIEW: LEHIGH

by Alex Smith
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The Mighty Mountain Hawks have become a Patriot League Powerhouse

 This is the sixth of seven articles that preview the 2012 Patriot League teams.  They are in the inverse order of the preseason poll voting by Patriot League football head coaches and sports information directors, who did not include their own school in the selections.

Fordham was not included in the poll because it will not be able to compete for the Patriot League championship and NCAA automatic bid in 2012, and its games against League members will not count towards the final standings for either team.

For the past two seasons in Patriot League Football, the Lehigh University Mountain Hawks have been the crème of the crop, winning back to back Patriot League titles and 10 Conference titles overall. The Mountain Hawks have their eyes set on capturing another title this year, as they took first place in the Patriot-League Preseason poll, garnering 11 out of 15 first place votes.

The Mountain Hawks are all about offense, putting up an average of over 32 points per game. Former Lehigh QB Chris Lum has graduated, leaving the school with a plethora of passing records and huge shoes to fill. Senior Michael Colvin will attempt to follow up what Lum accomplished. With that said, it may not matter who is throwing the passes, as long as Senior Ryan Spadola is on the receiving end. Spadola was named the 2012 Preseason Offensive Player of the Year, and is coming off of an incredible 2011 campaign in which he had 9 100-yard receiving games and 2 games in which he eclipsed the 200-yard mark.

Defense should also be a strength for the Mountain Hawks, especially the secondary. The team returns 3 out of 4 starters in the secondary, All-Patriot League performers Bryan Andrews and Billy O’Brien (both seniors). Linebacker will be the biggest question mark on this year’s team, as the Mountain Hawks lost 6 LBs to graduation, including former captain Mike Groome.

The Lehigh University Mountain Hawks have been the class of the Patriot League throughout the past nearly 20 years. If their offense can put up numbers any where close to the statistics we saw last season, there is no reason why the Mountain Hawks can’t find themselves at the top of the Patriot League standings for a third straight year.

Click the Plug-ins below to hear from Lehigh Head Coach Andy Coen and Senior Wide Receiver Ryan Spadola.

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Lehigh Head Coach Andy Coen Lehigh Wide Receiver Ryan Spadola

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