Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The Honor Roll

Princeton QB Jeff Terrell was named the Ivy League Player of the Year and the recipient of the 2006 Bushnell Cup. It's an excellent choice, and one
I've been calling for since week 8 of the season. Terrell is very quiet, religious young man who let his maturity on the field speak for itself. Time after time, he directed the Tigers to victories despite not having a super running back and having to deal with a brand new offensive line this season.

It's truly amazing that Terrell won the MVP nod from a group of coaches who seemed to have anoited Harvard tailback Clifton Dawson as the winner before the season even started. Terrell simply grabbed their attention by beating their teams time after time. Obviously, he was also named as the 1st team All-Ivy quarterback.

Before I go into Columbia's appearances on the All-Ivy list, I'd like to present the REAL final Ivy football standings. The league has a little problem with tie-breakers, but in an age where there are no more ties on the field in college football, keeping deadlocks intact in the standings is silly.

Jake's REAL Ivy League Football Final Standings

1. Princeton

2. Yale

3. Harvard

4. Cornell

5. Pennsylvania

6. Dartmouth

7. Columbia

8. Brown

Let's face it folks, Princeton was the champion. Officially, they'll have to share the title with Yale, but the Tigers went TO NEW HAVEN and beat the Elis fair and square. And Princeton was a more complete team. Its running attack wasn't stellar, but it was steady. And the rest of the squad was top notch, especially in the clutch. The Tigers' lone loss at Cornell was a bit of a fluke. The Big Red were a much better team in Ithaca than on the road, and the miserable weather that day also contributed to things. Not to take anything away from Cornell, but Princeton lost that game a lot more than the Big Red won it.

Yale was a great team to be sure, but the Eli defense was suspect all season long, with the exception of its performance against Harvard in the final game. And Yale lost to Princeton... at home. You can't get around that loss.

Harvard had one of the best defensive lines I've ever seen and only a pair of offensive meltdowns at Penn and against Yale kept them from getting a share of the title too. In the end, the passing game was a little weaker than it should have been, and that was probably the result of two seasons of just watching Clifton Dawson do most of the heavy lifting. I knew Harvard was in trouble when the Crimson beat Columbia in week 8 pretty much because of the Lions' errors and not because of anything Harvard did on its own.

Cornell was a young team, and as young teams often are, it was an erratic team. But the Big Red found ways to win at home, even against the best teams in the league. It's hard to put Cornell above Penn in my rankings, but in their head-to-head match up they were the better team. They didn't just win because of the missed extra point; they outplayed them most of the day.

What is going on at Penn? Yes, you can argue the Quakers only league losses were by a combined eight points and a decent kicker could have given them an undisputed title. But just as compelling is the argument that Penn really didn't dominate any of its opponents this season and the team clearly lacked a killer instinct. Losing to Brown at home was a real disaster. And for Coach Bagnoli to let the kicking game deteriorate so much is very uncharacteristic. Last year, Penn's collapse was blamed on Kyle Ambrogi's suicide, this season I think Bagnoli has to shoulder the blame. Is this the twilight of his career?

On the other side of the coin, Dartmouth Head Coach Buddy Teevens deserves a lot praise. A team with no apparent strengths other than one wide receiver scrapped its way to two Ivy wins and only got blown out by one Ivy, (Harvard). The Big Green are a logical choice for 6th because they beat the two other 2-5 teams, Columbia and Brown.

In Columbia's case, 7th place is a lot better than 8th. With their very strong defense, it was clear the Lions were not the worst team in the league. And beating Cornell at home and Brown on the road in back-to-back weeks was a great way to close out the season. Columbia did have a weak out of conference schedule that netted the team three wins, but two of those wins were in convincing, blowout fashion.

In a true show of my infinite wisdom, I picked Brown to repeat as champions in the preseason. But the Bears really tanked, especially on offense where the running game just wasn't there. I knew there would be no replacing Nick Hartigan, but with a good number of returning offensive lineman I thought Brown runners would be dangerous. They weren't. But the biggest liability was QB Joe DiGiacomo, who lost a lot of games for the Bears on his own with his knack for throwing interceptions at very bad times. Brown's defense as a whole was also too weak to give linebacker Zak DeOssie a better chance to shine. Finally, it is breathtaking that the defending Ivy League champions finished this season with a negative-14 turnover margin.


Here's the complete list of ALL-IVY football selections for 2006:

1st Team

Bushnell Cup/Player of the Year: Jeff Terrell, Princeton

Ivy League Rookie of the Year: Austin Knowlin


WR -- Brendan Circle, Princeton (Jr., Villa Park, Calif.)
WR -- Corey Mazza, Harvard (Sr., Thousand Oaks, Calif.)
TE -- *Chris Mizell, Penn (Sr., Bronx, N.Y.)
OL -- *Sean Estrada, Penn (Sr., Santa Ana, Calif.)
OL -- *Ed McCarthy, Yale (Sr., Fairfield, Conn.)
OL -- Frank Fernandez, Harvard (Sr., Honolulu, Hawaii)
OL -- Matt Barsamian, Columbia (Sr., Rochester Hills, Mich.)
OL -- Jeff Monaco, Yale (Jr., McDonald, Pa.)
QB -- *Jeff Terrell, Princeton (Sr., Chagrin Falls, Ohio)
RB -- *Clifton Dawson, Harvard (Sr., Scarborough, Ont.)
RB -- *Mike McLeod, Yale (Soph., New Britain, Conn.)
RB -- Joe Sandberg, Penn (Sr., Oradell, N.J.)
K -- Steve Morgan, Brown (Jr., New Albany, Ohio)


DL -- *Mike Berg, Harvard (Sr., Stamford, Conn.)
DL -- Brandt Hollander, Yale (Jr., Indianapolis, Ind.)
DL -- Naheem Harris, Penn (Jr., Brooklyn, N.Y.)
DL -- Brian Fairbanks, Penn (Sr., Irvine, Calif.)
LB -- *Zak DeOssie, Brown (Sr., North Andover, Mass.)
LB -- Ryan Tully, Harvard (Sr., Norfolk, Mass.)
LB -- Joe Anastasio, Penn (Jr., Camp Hill, Pa.)
LB -- Bobby Abare, Yale (Soph., Acton, Mass.)
DB -- *J.J. Artis, Princeton (Sr., Stantonsburg, N.C.)
DB -- Tim Strickland, Princeton (Sr., Cumming, Ga.)
DB -- Tad Crawford, Columbia (Sr., Burlington, Ont.)
DB -- Andrew Berry, Harvard (Soph., Bel Air, Md.)
P -- *Colin McDonough, Princeton (Sr., Milford, Iowa)

*=unanimous choice

2nd Team


WR -- Ryan Fuselier, Dartmouth (Sr., Escondido, Calif.)
WR -- Chandler Henley, Yale (Sr., Littleton, Colo.)
WR -- Matt Carre, Penn (Sr., Wilmington, Del.)
TE -- Langston Johnson, Yale (Jr., Los Altos, Calif.)
OL -- Kyle Vellutato, Princeton (Sr., Marlton, N.J.)
OL -- Michael DiBartolo, Brown (Sr., Pittsburgh, Pa.)
OL -- Eric Miller, Cornell (Sr., Marengo, Ohio)
OL -- Nik Sobic, Harvard (Sr., Franklin, Wis.)
OL -- Marko Grzan, Penn (Sr., Ossining, N.Y.)
QB -- Joe DiGiacomo, Brown (Sr., Doylestown, Pa.)
QB -- Craig Hormann, Columbia (Jr., Indianapolis, Ind.)
RB -- Luke Siwula, Cornell (Jr., Cortland, N.Y.)
RB -- Taylor Craig, Yale (Sr., Lighthouse Point, Fla.)
K -- Alan Kimball, Yale (Jr., Olathe, Kan.)


DL -- Matt Curtis, Harvard (Soph., Peabody, Mass.)
DL -- Brad Bagdis, Harvard (Jr., Paxton, Mass.)
DL -- Jake Marshall, Princeton (Sr., Cinnaminson, N.J.)
DL -- Jonathan Lucas, Cornell (Sr., Wheat Ridge, Colo.)
LB -- Brig Walker, Princeton (Sr., Vancouver, Wash.)
LB -- Adam Brekke, Columbia (Sr., Houston, Texas)
LB -- Kory Gedin, Penn (Sr., Washington, D.C.)
LB -- Eric Schultz, Harvard (Soph., Alpharetta, Ga.)
DB -- Scott Williams, Penn (Sr., Granite Bay, Calif.)
DB -- Ian Wilson, Dartmouth (Jr., Burbank, Calif.)
DB -- Larry Abare, Yale (Soph., Acton, Mass.)
DB -- Steven Williams, Harvard (Jr., San Antonio, Texas)
P -- Steve Morgan, Brown (Jr., New Albany, Ohio)

Honorable Mention

WR -- Lonnie Hill, Brown (Sr., Salem, Mass.); Braden Lepisto, Penn (Jr., Agoura Hills, Calif.)

TE -- Matt Farbotko, Harvard (Sr., Brookline, N.H.); Matt Krevis, Brown (Sr., Northbridge, Mass.)

OL -- Preston Copley, Dartmouth (Sr., Louisville, Ky.); Brian McGuire, Cornell (Sr., Princeton Junction, N.J.); David Paine, Harvard (Jr., South Attleboro, Mass.); Ted Sonnenberg, Cornell (Sr., Holgate, Ohio); Andrew Wietstock, Penn (Sr., Mission Viejo, Calif.); Nick Wachtler, Yale (Jr., Richardson, Texas); Jimmy Tull, Brown (Jr., Cincinnati, Ohio)

QB -- Mike Fritz, Dartmouth (Sr., Houston, Texas); Robert Irvin, Penn (Soph., Davidson, N.C.)

RB -- Nick Cisler, Penn (Jr., Grand Rapids, Mich.)

DL -- Darren Schmidt, Columbia (Sr., Cleveland, Ohio); Peter Buchignani, Princeton (Soph., Bloomington, Ill.); Kai Brown, Brown (Jr., Bellevue, Wash.); Kyle Hawari, Yale (Soph., Plano, Texas); Tom Stone, Penn (Sr., Harrisburg, Pa.)

LB -- Justin Cottrell, Dartmouth (Jr., Somers Point, N.J.); Ryan Blessing, Cornell (Jr., Oneida, N.Y.); Eric Brewer, Brown (Jr., Vero Beach, Fla.)

DB -- Tim Bax, Cornell (Soph., Chicago, Ill.); Greg Ambrogi, Penn (Jr., Havertown, Pa.); Tyson Maugle, Penn (Soph., Duncansville, Pa.); Jose Yearwood, Brown (Jr., Spring Hill, Fla.); John Pircon, Dartmouth (Jr., Whitefish Bay, Wis.); Steve Santoro, Yale (Soph., Airmont, N.J.)

P -- Jon Rocholl, Columbia (Soph., Fort Wayne, Ind.); Anthony Melillo, Penn (Jr., Bernardsville, N.J.)

No Name Defense?

It was great seeing Austin Knowlin being chosen as the Ivy League Rookie of the Year, but I'm not sure if he was even Columbia's top freshman. I'd give that nod to linebacker Andy Shalbrack, but Knowlin deserves his honor anyway. He's a fast and gutsy receiver who will be a cornerstone of the Lions' offense for the next three years.

A bigger surprise was seeing Columbia's Craig Hormann as the second team All-Ivy quarterback. Earlier in the year, I was calling for Hormann to be benched in favor of speedy freshman M.A. Olawale. But over the last three weeks of the season, Hormann picked up his game by not only improving his stats, but also grabbing the leadership role and producing two of the biggest wins the team has enjoyed in three years. Hormann likely won the award because many of the opposing coaches saw how he avoided mistakes and either beat their teams or came very close to it. And in a year where costly interceptions cost team after team big games, Hormann finished the season with just six picks in 329 attempts. On the other hand, he only had seven TD passes, but Hormann was working with no real running attack to speak of. When the Lion ground game showed even a little life, Hormann looked even better. This is a great honor and it should inspire Hormann to pick up where he left off in his senior year next season.

I was also a little surprised, but glad to see Matt Barsamian grab a spot on the first team offensive line. Matt had some rough patches this season, but I think the coaches wanted to reward him for his incredibly hard work in 2006 and especially in 2005, when he was the only Columbia offensive lineman with any game experience at the start of the season. The coaches were also probably eager to acknowledge the fact that while the CU O-line didn't open too many running holes, the pass protection was markedly better. The Lions gave up just 16 sacks for 93 yards in 2006 compared to 33 sacks allowed for a whopping 236 yards in 2005. That's a massive difference and protecting your QB is most of the job for a left tackle like Barsamian.

The other Columbia first-teamer was Tad Crawford at free safety. Tad was a four-year player who took the role of the Lions' last line of defense for three of those years. Once again, he led the team in tackles... but this season that distinction was not so much a badge of general team dishonor as it was a testament to Crawford's continued determination to keep Columbia in games. In a league that sported running stars like Clifton Dawson, Mike McLeod, Joe Sandberg, and Luke Siwula, the longest run by any Columbia opponent was just 36 yards. The biggest reason for that was Tad Crawford.

The Lions gave up fewer points per game than any team in the Ivies, but there weren't many Columbia defenders on the All-Ivy list. A lot of that is due to the large number of underclassmen on the squad, and there were other very good defenses like Harvard and Princeton.

But senior linebacker Adam Brekke wasn't left out of the party, as he was named to the second team All-Ivy. Brekke was the leader of a defense that gave up fewer than half the points it surrendered in 2005; an unheard of turnaround. Brown star Zak DeOssie was named to the first team at that middle linebacker position, and it would have been hard for anyone in the Ivies to nudge DeOssie out of that spot.

Senior defensive lineman Darren Schmidt, who may yet be MY MVP of the season for Columbia, was only an honorable mention All-Ivy despite being second in the league in sacks and tackles for a loss.

I'm not saying a bunch of Columbia players were robbed. They really weren't, it's just interesting that only three players on the stingiest defense in the league made All-Ivy. There's certainly a lot of incentive to prove opposing coaches wrong next season.


At Wed Nov 22, 06:43:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would reverse us with Cornell; we beat Cornell head to head, and Cornell cannot play on the road. I would put us in a tie for 5th with Dartmouth and actually put Brown ahead of Cornell (this is a long standing bias, based upon the fact that Cornell can park players in the Aggie school and in hotel administration or labor relations; precious few of their players are in engineering or arts and sciences.

At Wed Nov 22, 09:35:00 PM GMT+7, Blogger Jake said...

Well, everyone has their little "cheats." I just have to go with the players on the field and not so much how they got there.

At Wed Nov 22, 10:29:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When can we expect your analysis of our recruiting needs, and what you are hoping to see from returning underclassmen? PS, thanks again for a tremendous job this season.

At Wed Nov 22, 10:36:00 PM GMT+7, Blogger Jake said...

Coming soon... still putting together a long series of articles looking back on this great first season for Norries and crew. But quick answer is we need to replace the 5 senior defensive starters with quick kids who can run this 3-5-3 system. Also, like to see some wide receivers who can back up Knowlin and Taylor Joseph who will likely start next season.

At Thu Nov 23, 12:01:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lions who were robbed on the stingiest defense: Shalbrack, Quinn,Abrams,Mitchell, Masorti for sure, possibly Mitchell.

At Thu Nov 23, 12:20:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems that the young fellows on the defense have to pay their dues. The older players from other schools had lesser stats but were recognized for the all conference awards. Is that the way it works in the Ivies?

At Fri Nov 24, 12:06:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

and what about DeGasperis at WR? Also robbed of at least second team

At Sat Nov 25, 12:36:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jake, any ideas where the coaches are in the recruiting process? Perhaps it could make some interesting reading. To get you started, I've read where Princeton, Harvard and Dartmouth are recruiting a big running back from Lewiston Maine. Is Columbia in the mix?

At Sat Nov 25, 09:03:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting about Cornell. Our defensive strength was "the unit"-like the fins in 72. typically, such don't get a lot of individual accolades which was the case for our group this year.

I looked over the 2 deeps for almost all of our games and we were substantially younger than most of our opponents this year, should bode well for next years effort (with a little time in the weight room). Hopefully, the coaches can leverage the good season and continue to develop a larger recruiting base for the team. I'd like to see them bring some football "diversity" to the group. how about a few new kids from West Texas or South Florida.

At Sun Aug 12, 04:09:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just to clear things up... Cornell's Labor Relations, Hotel School, and Ag school are all ranked as the top school of their kinds. How is Arts and Science a hard school? you can major in things like drama, is your comment serious?

At Sun Aug 12, 06:37:00 PM GMT+7, Blogger Jake said...

Yes. I've heard from many sources over the years that while the course load is comparable to other Ivies, the professors in Arts & Sciences are notoriously tougher than some other schools, (like Harvard), where everyone somehow graduates Cum Laude or better.


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