What started as a text group chat name during this summer’s preseason training camp, ended as a new nickname for Lehigh’s running back corps.
Senior Zaythan Hill, junior Jack DiPietro and sophomore Gaige Garcia now refer to themselves as “the stable.”
“We all just adopted the name,” DiPietro said. “We liked it because we are a bunch of workhorses who run the ball hard, so it stuck right away.”
The trio has made an impact during Lehigh’s first four games of the season, with a combined 427 rushing yards and 15 pass receptions.
Garcia said not only have the three been able to establish a connection while playing, but they have formed a close bond outside of football.
“Being running backs made us become close friends,” Garcia said. “You do so many meetings and practices together as a group that you become really close.”
During DiPietro’s first year at Lehigh, he said Hill took him under his wing and mentored him, which brought them closer together.
Garcia transferred to Lehigh from the University of Michigan after his freshman year, and DiPietro said as soon as he and Hill got Garcia out of his comfort zone, they all became friends.
“Now Gaige (Garcia) and I are best friends,” DiPietro said. “We hang out non-stop and the three of us really enjoy our time together.”
Even though “the stable” works together as a unit, they are still able to focus on improving their individual games.
In his first season at Lehigh, Mike Moyseenko, the team’s new running backs coach, said each back plays in a different way.
Moyseenko said Hill is the fastest of the three and plays instinctually, whereas DiPietro enjoys the physicality of the position and is good with the ball in his hands.
Garcia’s background in wrestling has allowed him to understand body positioning and balance, which makes him hard to tackle, Moyseenko said.
“They are all different, but they are all hardworking and they enjoy the process of being coached and seeing success on the field,” Moyseenko said.
Moyseenko said Hill, DiPietro and Garcia all push each other to improve their individual skills through healthy competition.
“If one guy does something well, the next guy wants to try and do it better,” Moyseenko said.
Despite the differences in play, Moyseenko said the trio is similar in their work ethic and the pride they take in playing football.
Hill said the three backs watch each other’s reps during practice and they give each other feedback on what each other can do better. He said providing feedback to each other has helped them work together better.
Garcia said they are also always there to motivate and cheer one another on.
“That’s why we like to call ourselves a stable, because one goes down, the next one’s in,” DiPietro said. “The second guy goes down, the next one’s in. We work really well together because we love to see each other succeed.”
The trio said they hope to help Lehigh win the Patriot League title for the first time since 2017.
Hill said he thinks that the stable can help play a leadership role on the team this year and hopefully help the team achieve its goal of winning another title.
“We want to be the stable for the team,” Hill said. “We want to be leaders, we want to set an example.”