Call it the revenge of the "super Sophomores", as there were a multitude of members of the sophomore class that were singled out:
Coen says he’s been pleased with the progress of that group overall. “Sophomore RB Matt Fitz has been impressive; he’s competed well and really improved from last year. Sophomore WR De’Vaughn Gordon and sophomore WR Jake Drwal have done some nice things, and on defense sophomore LB Fred Mihal at linebacker and sophomore CB Colin Newton have both had very strong springs. They have shown good signs of progress from when the season ended in November.”
Coen also pointed to sophomore P Alex Smith who has put together a consistent spring.
The emergence of Fitz at running back is an especially welcome development. It looks like junior RB Jaren Walker and Fitz could potentially be an interesting 1-2 punch out of the backfield, and with incoming freshman RB Zach Barket entering the competition when school starts in August there could be crucial depth in the backfield that has been sorely lacking the past two years. Add senior FB Anthony Fossati and sophomore FB Bryce Arruda in the backfield and you have a really intriguing mix.
On defense, could Newton also be looking at a starting role, alongside senior SS Jesse Sanchez, junior FS John Venerio, and junior DB John "Fear Itself" Kennedy? If so, he could be the final piece in what's looking to potentially be one of the best defenses Lehigh fans have seen in a long time:
Asked what has surprised him this spring, Coen pointed to the play of the defensive line. “That group has really played well all spring. Senior DT B.J. Benning has done what we expected, and that is what we need, for him to perform at a high level. And junior DE David Brown and junior DT Phil Winnett have both looked great out there. I thought the strength of the team would lie at linebacker, but the D-line has been a pleasant surprise.”
Coen then commented on the play of some of the Lehigh veterans. “Senior LB Matt Cohen has played very well as has senior LB Heath Brickner. And I am very pleased with how our secondary has been playing. They continue to get better with each practice.”
Wide receiver still seems like a wide-open competition, but Drwal and Gordon look like they're in the mix. It will be very interesting to see who lines up with the first team, as well as watching where junior WR Craig Zurn, sophomore WR Travis Artim, senior WR Jim Potocnie and senior WR Brien Ruyak might end up, too.
It's stunning how many underclassmen are listed as players to watch. That should make for a pretty exciting Spring game next weekend.
And they're not the only team working their way to the Spring game. Our opening-day opponents, Central Connecticut State, are also in spring season as well.