The Lehigh Mountain Hawks prepare to take a snap on Saturday, Nov. 3, 2018, at Goodman Stadium. The Mountain Hawks defeated the Bison, 45-17. (Adele Hancock/B&W Staff)

Lehigh football faces discrepancy in practice, game performance

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The Mountain Hawks now stand at a disappointing 2-7 record after beating Bucknell on Saturday, Nov. 3. Prior to its win, Lehigh lost seven straight games.  

The team had won the Patriot League in each of the past two seasons, but has not found the same success against its league competition, posting a 1-3 conference record.

Despite high preseason expectations and a young, talented roster, Lehigh football has not been able to perform on Saturdays. In its last four matches, the Mountain Hawks have been outscored 204 points to its 82.

According to offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Scott Brisson, the way the Mountain Hawks practice does not reflect how they play in games.

“We’ve recently changed the structure of our practices, and it has been going great so far,” Brisson said. “However, it simply hasn’t been translating to the field. We struggle with how to respond to adversity as well as finding solutions in games, and I think that is the reason why we have had a disappointing last few weeks.”

Brisson said the atmosphere at practice is not a negative one, and the Mountain Hawks still continue to work hard despite their frustrations. He attributes their lack of success in the Patriot League to the numerous injuries the team has suffered.

“This is going to sound like excuse-making, but injuries have really hurt us this season,” Brisson said. “Most teams that are playing well around the league haven’t been as unfortunate as us with regard to injuries.”

Junior offensive lineman Derek Lomax said his teammates have maintained a positive outlook despite recent challenges.

“People are still showing up with positive attitudes and coming to work,” Lomax said.

Improvement is a must for the Mountain Hawks in order to have a strong finish to the rest of the season. Brisson said the Mountain Hawks must continue to focus on the task at hand one day at a time.

“There is nothing schematically wrong with us right now,” Brisson said. “It is all about having a renewed, sustained focus each game. It sounds cliche, but we have been unable to have 11 guys perform their job for an extended period of time.”

Lomax has higher aspirations for improvement.

“Our goal is to win out for the rest of the season,” Lomax said.

Winning out would include a victory at Lafayette on Nov. 17. The game will be the 154th meeting of the Lehigh-Lafayette Rivalry.

“Everyone will be ready to go because that game can really make or break a season, and no one on the team has lost to Lafayette and we want to keep it that way,” Lomax said.

Junior safety Riley O’Neil agrees with Lomax.

“I think if we do a good job of staying focused and hopefully winning these next two games, then I think we will definitely beat Lafayette,” O’Neil said.

Brisson said the teams that remain focused and avoid penalties are the ones that have crippled the Mountain Hawks. He said they cannot afford for that to be the situation during the Rivalry game.

A more immediate challenge faces the Lehigh Mountain Hawks this Saturday, Nov. 10 against Colgate at Goodman Stadium. The Raiders clinched the 2018 Patriot League Championship title on Saturday in a 41-0 shutout against Fordham University at Fordham in the Bronx, NY. The Raiders are undefeated this season. 

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