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CE major finds much in common between engineering and football

Communication, says Justin Terry, center and one of four captains on Lehigh’s football team, is the key to winning football games.

Speed, strength, quickness and talent are vital, says Terry, a senior majoring in civil engineering, but the steady, constant flow of information is indispensable.

“Before every game, Coach Lembo stresses communication. Everyone has to be on the same page; everyone has to know what everyone else is doing.”

As the main cog on Lehigh’s offensive line, Terry serves as a kind of town crier. As each huddle breaks up and players take their positions, Terry sizes up the opposing backfield and shouts a “look call” to let his fellow linemen know where the defensive linebackers are positioned, and whether they need to adjust their blocking assignments for the play they are about to run.

“Depending on how the linebackers are lined up, there could be three or four different ways to run the same play,” says Terry, who was named an All-Patriot League tackle last year. “Step by step, everything builds off the look call.”

“Justin is a tough, durable, smart, versatile kid who has played many positions for us,” says offensive line coach John Powers. “He garners a lot of respect from the coaching staff and his teammates due to his work ethic and knowledge.”

“Justin is probably the smartest football player I’ve ever played with,” says junior lineman Adam Selmasska. “Given a week of practice, he could probably play any position on the field. All the underclassmen look up to Justin.”

Having to juggle football with civil engineering has taught Terry how to manage time. “I miss out on sleep sometimes, but I don’t mind making sacrifices if it means playing football for four years.”

The life of a football player is tightly scripted with team practices, weight-lifting and speed-training sessions, along with deadlines and progress checkpoints.

“With football, everything is scheduled and run to a tee. We get a calendar at the beginning of the year that tells us what days we practice, what days we lift. Training is a way of life.

“On days without football, I get lazy. It’s when I have the most to do that I’m most efficient.”

Engineering, like football, requires teamwork and communication, Terry has learned in class and on the job.

Whether the subject is hydraulics, construction or soil foundation design, civil engineering is often a team affair, says Terry.

“The CE professors are fair and they know what they’re talking about. The classes are tough, just like I thought they’d be. But in almost every class I’ve taken, we have had at least one team project. That’s the great thing about engineering at Lehigh.”

Terry has worked three summers as a construction site inspector for Penoni and Associates, a local structural engineering firm.

“It’s been a great experience. I want to go into construction management after I graduate. Working for Penoni has taught me how to interact with workers and see architectural and structural design from a different point of view.”

Posted on Monday, November 01, 2004

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