Friday, September 21, 2007

Scouting Marist

Will Marist pose a threat?

So what do the brave Red Foxes bring to the table Saturday?

This is a team willing to start its season with five straight road games against five sure-to-be-favored opponents. But as much as I admire that, I don't think Marist will give Columbia much of a run for its money this weekend.

Marist's biggest problem is its size. The Red Foxes sport a starting offensive line with an average weight of just 259 pounds per player. They have a starting tight end this week who is just 180 pounds. Despite that, the team is still averaging 114 yards rushing per game, but most of those yards have been gained after the games have been decided as Marist has been outscored 73-13 in the first half. In short, if Columbia cannot control the line of scrimmage against this undersized MAAC team, it won't be able to do it against anyone else this season.

Marist has been running the ball by committee ever since 2005 starter Obozoua (Bo) Ehikioya was injured last year. Ehikioya still gets on the field pretty regularly, but he hasn't made an impact so far this year. I'm a little more concerned with the speedy Keith Mitchell, who resembles Fordham's Xavier Martin a bit and we know what Martin did to us last week.

I also think Marist QB Steve McGrath is talented and thrives under pressure. But I expect him to be under a lot of it, especially from Phil Mitchell and Drew Quinn. And despite playing from so far behind all year, the Red Foxes are only averaging 169 yards passing per game.

Defensively, Marist does not seem to have the kind of weapons to stop Craig Hormann and Austin Knowlin from having a field day. They're allowing 237 yards passing per game, have not yet intercepted a pass, and have just 10 passes broken up after three games.

The big question is whether the Columbia running game will be able to get some traction Saturday. Marist is giving up 153 yards rushing per game, but they have faced some seriously strong running teams like Lafayette... so that's not too bad. It would be a tough blow to the offensive line's confidence if Jordan Davis doesn't at least come close to a 100-yard day.

Marist's special teams are pretty good. Their best best weapon is kickoff specialist Chris Collins, who is nailing touchback after touchback despite the new kickoff rule pushing the tee back to the 30.

Columbia is a 14 1/2 point favorite in this game, and while the Lions may indeed win by that much or more, I'm not exactly sure the team will look entirely different in the game. Last year's 24-0 win over MAAC power Iona featured a strong defense, (two defensive TD's), and a struggling offense... the same thing we saw just about every other week during the 2006 season for Columbia.

One thing I do hope Marist improves on over Iona Saturday is fan support. Iona brought virtually no one to the game last year and that was depressing considering how close their campus is to Baker Field. I don't think Yom Kippur is much of a concern for most of the Marist student body, so perhaps they will make the trip.


At Fri Sep 21, 03:51:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Any word on practice this week? I see that Penn is holding Sandberg out of the 'Nova game to make sure he is ready for Dartmouth. If any of our guys are banged up I hope that we exercise caution in keeping them in too long against Marist if possible. We need a Drew Quinn at 100% for the Ivy season. I also hope that we try to stretch the field this Saturday. we are running too many high risk, modest yardage sideline patterns. I'd like to see us develop our mid-range passing game. I am also puzzled as to why Masorti isn't running with the first unit.

At Fri Sep 21, 04:49:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm more worried by Bollinger than I am by Marist. Where does he get off inviting the President of Iran to speak on campus? Is this the way to instill a sense of school pride? Academic freedom? Give me a break.

At Fri Sep 21, 04:55:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't think I agree. This is what universities are for.

At Fri Sep 21, 09:26:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

After this incredibly stupid stunt, Bollinger is out for sure as President of the University, perhaps in the next month or two, but more likely within a year. Either Bill Clinton or Al Gore is likely to take his place as President of the University depending upon what happens in the Democratic Presidential Campaign. The Manhattanville Expansion may survive Bollinger's Folly, but overall fundraising will suffer. Columbia athletics will not be adversely affected unless Bollinger has turned off some potential big donors. Maybe the plan is to get the Iranians to contribute big bucks to Columbia in the manner Ben Laden's family gives to Harvard. Notwithstanding all this nonsense, Columbia's Football Team still has a terrific season including a big victory over Marist!

At Fri Sep 21, 07:05:00 PM GMT+7, Blogger Jake said...

I'm not averse to discussing politics at times on the board... but the discussions have to be friendly.

At Fri Sep 21, 08:08:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jake, I agree. I love my alma mater, almost as much as I love Columbia football. And I have put my money where my mouth is. But this stunt is really obscene. Are there any limits at all to PC inspired speech? How dare Bollinger give a forum to a holocaust denier, an Jew hater, an avowed enemy of the US, a supporter of terrorism, and a sponsor of every vile threat to nuke Israel. This is the post Larry Summers world, in which a PC faculty has university presidents scared out of their wits.

At Fri Sep 21, 08:15:00 PM GMT+7, Blogger Jake said...

I will only say this: Ahmadinejad is actively murdering American troops in Iraq as we speak. We have documented proof of this. He should be arrested and tried in an American court ASAP.

I am ashamed that he will be speaking at my beloved Alma Mater.

Now let's get back to football.

At Fri Sep 21, 08:52:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fair enough!

At Sat Sep 22, 02:20:00 AM GMT+7, Blogger Blue Balls said...

I think this folly by Bollinger will hurt the University but I don't think it will trickle down to the football squad. Bollinger already has reneged on his promise when he took over of elevating our teams to prominence so how much more can we get hurt by this?

At Sat Sep 22, 06:32:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sometimes the best way to subdue an enemy is to become his friend. Unless self-defense against physical belligerence is a necessary last resort, dialogue is better than hostility.

I would guess Bollinger thinks this way, and knows that giving a platform to Ahmadinejad in New York City, a place noted for its strong Jewish presence, and perched on the exalted steps of a great university, could just possibly open his eyes to a glimpse of consciousness beyond his customary pin-head parochialism. As distasteful as it may seem at first glance, I think it's worth a try.
Nothing else seems to work with this guy.


Post a Comment

<< Home