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Monday, December 20, 2010
Pete Lembo hopes to re-energize Ball State

By Andrea Adelson

Pete Lembo was officially introduced as the new Ball State football coach on Monday, and faces a tough task -- trying to translate his success on the FCS level to the FBS level.

Lembo has never been a head coach or assistant coach at the top level of football, but he has won plenty in two head coaching stints at Lehigh, and most recently at Elon. He has a career record of 79-36 in 10 seasons as a head coach. Here is a little of what he had to say during his news conference:

"He emphasized the importance of building relationships and recruiting in Indiana and the surrounding area. Lembo has spent the majority of his career on the East Coast.

"You've got to jump right in and get to know people," he said. "You could say I've been on the East Coast but I've never been to the South before going to Elon. When we went there 5 years to the day from today we jumped in and immersed ourselves in the community, recruiting in the area, building relationships. It's a challenge but it's what I like to do."

"His offense will be "exciting and up-tempo." Elon averaged 435.2 yards of total offense this season -- the fourth straight year it averaged more than 400 yards a game.

"We're known for throwing the football, but it's not just a drop-back passing game," he said. "It's a very sophisticated screen game and it's a fun offense to watch. At the places we've been it's allowed you to do more with less."

"On defense, he said he wants a team that is aggressive, and fundamentally sound. Lembo also will be hands-on with special teams.

"As for what drew him to the job, Lembo mentioned the profile of the MAC and his desire to be an FBS coach. He also believes he has what it takes to turn around a program that went 6-18 the past two seasons after playing in the conference title game under then-coach Brady Hoke in 2008.

"As I researched it, I felt good about what I learned about the student-athletes and program," Lembo said. "A lot of guys are coming back on the roster, and yet some of the struggles offensively and with turnovers and things of that nature, I felt like some of the things we've been able to do at the places I've been might be a good fit to come in and re-energize the program."