When Lehigh’s football coaches first caught sight of Wayne Adams, he was stuffed awkwardly into a too-small marching band outfit, belting out notes on a trombone. Two years later, he’s looking anything but awkward in a football uniform.A 6-foot-1 junior hovering a few cheeseburgers shy of 300 pounds, Adams has developed into one of the Lightning’s most-talented offensive linemen. He started at guard last season, and will protect senior quarterback Fletcher Jackson’s blind side this fall at left tackle.”They call me ‘Renaissance,’ because I can do a little bit of everything,” said Adams, who is bench-pressing 225 pounds and squatting more than 400. “I’m a new beginning, or something like that.”
Adams and his linemates have an opportunity to usher in a rushing renaissance of sorts this year at Lehigh. Between seniors Byron Harris and Jeremy Ware, and junior Marcus Edwards, the Lightning have enough talent at the running back position to pile up serious yardage.”The offensive line controls the game,” Lightning strength coach Ed Mathews said.
“You need to have big guys up front, pushing people around and protecting the quarterback.”Lehigh started four sophomores on the line last year, and the inexperience hurt, according to coach Larry Gary. Harris gained only 136 yards on 37 carries a year after surpassing the 1,000-yard mark, and he missed much of the season with a leg injury. Senior quarterback Chad Wilkes also missed considerable time with a broken foot suffered at the hands of Fort Myers, and Lehigh finished out of the playoffs at 5-4.Lehigh’s big men have experience now, and it will be up to Adams; 6-foot, 220-pound junior Lawrence Williams; 6-foot, 260-pound junior Steven Grubbs; 6-1, 255-pound senior Juan Cordero; and 5-11, 260-pound center Jelani Murray, among others, to help keep the Lightning’s backs healthy.
“We’ve got to protect better,” Murray said.Given enough protection, Lehigh’s skill players could make its dream of a second playoff berth a reality.
Team enters season with depth at RB