Lehigh Football Opens Preseason Camp
08/06/2021 7:57 p.m.
BETHLEHEM, Pennsylvania – A return to a more normal football season, Lehigh opened preseason camp with his first practice session on a hot Friday afternoon on the John C. Whitehead training fields. Despite the hot temperatures, it was a welcome return to more traditional preseason training after the COVID-19 pandemic canceled the 2020 fall season and limited Lehigh to a three-game season in the spring.
The first day of training on Friday also marked 29 days until Lehigh’s season opener against Villanova.
“It felt really good to be out here training in August,” said third year head coach Tom Gilmore. “While we have to make progress with pad padding and the amount of contact we can have, it was really exciting to be back on the practice field and doing those ‘normal’ football things again. Players came with a great attitude and a lot Enthusiasm. It was clear that both the players and the coaches were excited to be back. ”
Day one #GoLehigh | #beGREAT pic.twitter.com/PiTxc6kSvH
– Lehigh Football (@LehighFootball) August 6, 2021
Lehigh benefited from the fact that most of the team could train on campus over the summer.
“A lot of the team has been here all summer,” said Gilmore. “All of our freshmen made it to campus at some point, depending on availability after graduation. We had a lot of people here in the summer who trained pandemic). The fact that most of the team are here together doing things on their own made the transition to this start of camp a lot easier than if they weren’t here. “
The Mountain Hawks will again be a young team with only 11 seniors including a pair of fifth graders. Spending the summer together helped the younger players prepare for camp, while making up for a lot of lost team time over the past 17 months.
“It’s not just about taking the lead on the field from a footballing perspective, it’s also about making sure the guys are doing the right things off the field,” said Gilmore. “To build this culture that we want to build. We started when I first took over management. It went really well but was interrupted by the pandemic. We couldn’t spend as much time together as we normally would. ”Even in the spring we had time to practice, but then we had to part immediately due to protocols. Now we have this time together to build that chemistry and build that trust with one another, both off the field and on it, is going to be very important. “
The roster includes 26 first-year students and 32 second-year students who have not yet experienced typical autumn preparations due to the pandemic. Because of this, much of the early focus of this year’s camp will be on the fundamentals.
Gallery: (8-6-2021) First football practice 8-6-21
“Understanding the fundamentals of all three phases will be important early on,” said Gilmore. “Once you’ve got them down and established those good habits and learned how to do things right, then it’s about learning how to play in game situations. We are a young soccer team. We have some excellent upper class players, but if you look at the make-up of our team, we are definitely heavier in the younger classes. We lack a little experience, so it will be crucial to sort out the basics and then get into the schemes and game situations to be able to get in. “
Lehigh trained without pads, only helmets on Friday and will do so again on Saturday and Sunday. Things are set to ramp up early next week, with the Mountain Hawks slated to put on full pads for the first time on Thursday.
This year’s camp schedule includes scheduled scrimmages on Monday, August 16 and Sunday, August 22. The annual Alumni Steak Fry will follow the scrimmage on August 22nd. August 22nd also marks the end of the “Camp” portion of the preseason, with Lehigh’s fall semester beginning on August 23rd. The Mountain Hawks will switch to their training schedule during the semester from August 24th to prepare for the season opener on September 4th.
The Mountain Hawks open the 2021 season when Villanova visits Goodman Stadium on September 4th .com or by calling 610-7LU-GAME during business hours.
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