Thursday, September 15, 2005

The Young and the Restless

3 Days Until Kickoff!!!

Columbia released the two-deep roster for the Fordham game today and there were more surprises. Senior Alex Ehrhart got the nod as the starting tailback, despite the good buzz we heard about junior James Cobb in the Harvard scrimmage.

I was also surprised by former walk-on Justin Nunez getting the start at one cornerback slot instead of Chad Musgrove. Our secondary is our only really strong unit, so Nunez must have impressed to round out the talented group that includes Prosper Nwokocha, Keenan Shaw, and Tad Crawford.

And how about freshman Jon Rocholl getting the start as both place kicker AND punter? I realize he's a kicker, but at 6-3 and 175, he must be as thin as a twig. Let's hope he avoids the big hits.

Obviously, there are a lot of concerns with such a young and inexperienced team. But enthusiasm could go a long way, and I hope the new starters are pumped to show they deserve to play.

There are some positives too. I think the defensive line, anchored by Bill Beechum and Usche Osadebe will be strong, and if the linebackers overachieve just a little bit, the secondary will not have to pick up too much slack.

The offense is a total question mark. But it looks like Brandon Bowser will reprise his role as the deep threat, and Nick DeGasperis will be the shorter-range target. I loved how Bowser got open deep so often last year, and DeGasperis has a nice ability to get open over the middle and squeeze some more yards out after the catch. The starting TE is going to be sophomore Jamal Russell, who the coaches seem to think needs to grow into the position. I don't expect him to be a frequent passing target, which is too bad, because young QB's need big tight ends to throw to as they gain experience.

Even without a lot of high hopes on my part, waiting for this season to start has been harder than usual this year. Maybe that's a good omen.


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