Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Voice of the People

If you haven't already, make sure you check some of the comments from players' parents in the previous couple of posts.

I know it's hard to hear this when the team is 1-5 and we're going on 46 years without a title, but the talent pool is clearly much higher for this team right now, and I agree the future looks bright.

Key things about this team that long-time suffering fans should remember:

1) No one quit the squad in the pre-season. I can't remember the last time that happened.

2) Despite some rough losses, the team has kept fighting up to end. They always try to at least salvage something.

3) A huge number of players are playing through injuries. I know injuries hit everyone and they can't be used as an excuse too often... but these guys are banged up and doing whatever they can to be effective.

4) Matt Moretto, Alex Gross and Calvin Otis and several other kids are all playing well as freshmen and not letting the defense's overall problems affect their efforts. I think Otis has a shot at starting at left corner this weekend.

5) Nico Gutierrez... 'nuf said.

There is more to talk about here, but the team is going through what most young teams face, tough losses and tougher lessons learned. But I also expect something to happen on the field in the final few weeks that will prove just how many talented players Columbia has right now. I think a lot of people will be surprised by the final scores of the next four games.


At Tue Oct 23, 10:13:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am with you 1,000%! We have some great young talent, and an outstanding group of coaches. Maybe I don't get the 3 3 5, but then again, what do most of us non-football people know. Hang in there; we can play with anybody in our league!

At Tue Oct 23, 10:14:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

PS, Jake can you please remove the racist blog from 5:49PDT yesterday.

At Tue Oct 23, 10:49:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whatever the "people" think, tough losses really only lead to tough lessons learned if there is improvement the following season. I think we thus do have to see past the last four games, especially with powerhouse Yale coming right up.

The high value of a Columbia education notwithstanding, a season of losses is not easy to endure for players. And I cannot imagine that during the "streak" players ever fully consoled themselves with that realization. (Which they of course couldn't do later on at Prairie View A&M, to cite just one school which later exceeded Columbia's losing streak.)

And this is the ongoing dilemma for Columbia football, that tough losses one year do not necessarily translate into a winning season the following. That we continue to hope to the contrary is one of the glories of supporting Columbia football. That the players continue to strive is all to their own glorious credit.

But I still have to wonder how team members feel after four consecutive years of losing seasons, which remains the fate of those recruited during the Shoop years and on the team right now. I realize that you, Jake, have to sound upbeat now, I even think we all have reason to be upbeat regarding next season. Yet we also should be realistic about the disappointing course of this season (and even about the silliness of some posters previously opining that a non-league game like that against Lafayette somehow wasn't "important," therefore its score can be dismissed), and prepare too to face the possibility that even as Columbia will be much improved next season, so too might Ivy and non-Ivy opponents alike. (Even Fordham, which was dismissed so handily here pre-season by some but clearly is a fine team.) Sorry to hang so much crepe......

It is so hard to be a Columbia football fan, so bloody hard. But thank you again, Jesus, for Marist this season.


At Tue Oct 23, 11:31:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm hopeful for a few more shining moments in the last few games - a glimpse of what our team can do.
(and thereby encourage players and fans for next year)

Just like the win over Brown at the end of last season. There is still time for this!

What I would like to see (besides an unexpected win):

-Holding McCloud to his lowest rushing total of the year.
-More QB sacks. Let's at least have the best pass defense in IVY
-One Kickoff return for TD
-Blocked FG or punt
-Passing record for Hormann.
-A big gamble on defense that pays off
-Another IVY rookie of year.
-winning the last game, if no other, to finish season on a good note.
-No more injuries

At Tue Oct 23, 11:56:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

At one of those pre-season dinners with the coaches that the North Jersey Columbia Club holds annually, one coach (during the Shoop years, but don't hold it against him) opined at my table that he thought it only takes one or two truly dominant, "NFL calibre" players on an Ivy team to make all the difference during and for a season. The other coaches thought about it a second, then all agreed with him.

He may be on to something, the Marcellus Wiley years certainly suggest he is. As do previous recent seasons for other Ivy teams and this year for McCleod and Yale.

But if he was right, we still have a year or two to wait until it becomes apparent which one or two Columbia players are those saviors. And the waiting, as Tom Petty observed, is always the hardest part. Especially for fans of Columbia football.


At Wed Oct 24, 12:06:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know Jake is busy, but miss his frequent comments and more detailed insights.

At Wed Oct 24, 12:09:00 AM GMT+7, Blogger Jake said...

Thanks! But remember that my extensive comments are on the air before, during and after the games. You can listen live or check the archives.

At Wed Oct 24, 12:11:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To: "rs" Something to consider in terms of recruiting "NFL calibre" (aka impact players) is how best to use Columbia's alumni. I once read somewhere that at times Michigan had Gerald Ford call a player(s) whom they really, really wanted. Could Columbia not ask Robert Kraft to do the same?

s/ football mom

At Wed Oct 24, 01:09:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of our very best basketball players was recruited by one of our outstanding alumni who just happens to be one of the greatest heart surgeons in the country. So targeted approaches can work. As for the gloom and doom, I just don't believe in the inevitability of losing. During the 60s, Penn and Brown were doormats. We are trying to recover from several generations of administrative neglect or worse. There is no inherent reason why we cannot build a winner. It takes money and effort, pure and simple. We need a new fieldhouse. We need better training facilities. We need help from Bollinger on down. And we need our alumni base to help, with attendance at games, money, recruiting etc.

At Wed Oct 24, 01:11:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Columbia Mom-
NCAA Rules do not allow that type of interaction between alumni and prospective student athletes. The yahoos from the big conferences took away one of the ivy leagues greatest strength...its alumni network. Alumni can identify players for coaches to contact, assist with employment for current student athletes and alumni, but that is the extent of how they can be involved.

At Wed Oct 24, 02:50:00 AM GMT+7, Blogger dabull said...

From the beginning I felt 4-6 this year would be good. Doesn't look like that's going to happen but I still have faith in where this team is going. Our young guys have to physically mature some, especially the young linemen. Next year we'll have to replace Hormann. If they continue to run the spread so much it would be great if we had a good running qb to bootleg and roll. I still think we had a very good year as far as recruiting goes but you can't expect so much from first years that you think you will contend playing so many of them. These guys are getting developed and we will reap the benefits. Go Lions, don't give up your dreams.

At Wed Oct 24, 03:25:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Apropos the comment on one or two dominant players being difference makers--I agree, but it takes two.

The 1996 team that went 8-2 was led by its defense. The entire defensive line-up was solid, but what made it great was two All-East players, Rory Wilfork and Marcellus Wiley. Wiley was drafted and Wilfork signed as a free agent. Two dominant players means other teams can't double team without paying a price. One dominant player can be neutralized by a strong team.

I'm glad to hear everyone's enthusiasm about the younger players. I hope we have two who will be all-East.

The doom and gloom is overstated. We have no problems that more talent won't overcome. As long as NW can persuade top players to attend, the team will turn the corner in future seasons if not this season.


At Wed Oct 24, 03:38:00 AM GMT+7, Blogger dabull said...

Everyone has to remember that the Princeton game and the Dartmouth game were both within our reach to win. Final drive turnovers when it seemed our offense would not be stopped did us in. If we pull those two out everyone is singing a totally different tune. Hopefully with some maturity on defense we won't put so much pressure on the O. We are scoring enough to win many games but the lack of run defense is too much to overcome right now

At Wed Oct 24, 04:02:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Did you see the film of the 4thQ fumble on the Dartmouth sideline. I could have sworn that the defender that picked the ball up had stepped out of bounds and came back in the field of play to run it back. Am I mistaken? I was watching it on the live video feed so the angle may not have been the greatest. Just curious whether it was a blown call.

At Wed Oct 24, 04:40:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyone can handle winning, and if a team is not capable of winning, then the inevitable losses are almost always easier to swallow. On the other hand, when a team is packed with potential and promise and is very capable of winning, then these are the really tough losses. “What doesn’t kill you always makes you stronger” and no one wants to grow through the tool of pain. But live long enough and this is where you gain the most valuable experiences. So remain focused, work to correct costly errors, change what doesn’t work, stay positive, trust in good leadership, and your effort will always bring satisfying results. Football is like life – and a much easier place to learn. We are one of many 1st year families that are in this for the duration. This team will make everyone proud – especially themselves! So, in any and every way you find it possible – words, deeds, donations, prayers - support them. And then support them some more.

At Wed Oct 24, 04:40:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is no intrinsic reason why Columbia cannot win, but it will take a concerted effort to right this ship.

It is unrealistic to expect a coach to turn around a losing football team in 2 years; a key issue is whether he can maintain enthusiasm and confidence among his players during the inevitable difficult building years.

Let's not get negative on Wilson; so far he is doing the job in terms of bringing in better players and getting them to play hard.

The team has been competitive in most games; continuing to build the talent base and depth, plus improvements in experience and execution will turn defeats into victories. But, Columbia must have the resolve to stay with the process, growing pains notwithstanding.

At Wed Oct 24, 05:09:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is really great to read all the encouraging words, especially from the parents. Let's catch Yale flat this week, after a 3 OT win over Penn!

At Wed Oct 24, 05:16:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What made the '96 team so good was that Wiley could not be blocked. Period. He was a one man wrecking crew. We had one lousy game all year, at Dartmouth in miserable conditions which neutralized his speed. Wilfork basically took away the inside run game. Wilfork also called a lot of blitzes. We were shooting the gap on defense to the point where opposing QBs were just plain rattled. I am hopeful that Mitchell can become that sort of defensive force.

At Wed Oct 24, 05:25:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...


At Wed Oct 24, 07:41:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shifting Phil Mitchell to nose tackle makes very good sense given that he's our biggest and best defensive lineman and finally gives us a siginifciant force in the middle of the line. The other changes in the two-deep are probably due mostly to injuries, but we do have excellent depth at linebacker and in the defensive secondary. Matt Morretto, Augie Williams, Calvin Otis, Alex Gross and Adam Mehrer are just some of the very talented freshman defenders. I'm not surprised that they are seeing so much playing time. Anyway, we do need at least two solid defenders at every position so it really doesn't matter who's listed first or second.

At Wed Oct 24, 07:51:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Add Dan Myers to the list of talented freshman who will be starting against Yale.

At Wed Oct 24, 07:57:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The coaches must have liked what they saw from Ben Gaston in his first start against Dartmouth as the 6-3 295 offensive lineman from the State of Washington is listed as the starter again at right guard. That's good news as he's already our biggest offensive lineman and has the potential to be a very good player at Columbia.

At Wed Oct 24, 08:50:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Anyone can handle winning, and if a team is not capable of winning, then the inevitable losses are almost always easier to swallow."

The hard swallowing continues and continues for some of us who have turned out for years and will continue to do so despite all that we have seen -- the fumbles, the blow-outs, the lousy refs, et. al. As someone said after Dartmouth, it's "beyond frustrating." Nonetheless, the hope endures and most importantly the support remains for those who wear the uniform (which needs some redesign, too, I might add.)

At Wed Oct 24, 07:22:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is great to read the positive thoughts of those who are most involved in the current program- the parents.
Hard work and LEADERSHIP are the answer to creating a winning team.

For generations the Athletics Dept was run like an old boy's club. Dr Murphy has really changed things for the better. ( Plus, she hired NW.)

At Wed Oct 24, 07:44:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Go Lions! We can shock the world this Saturday. Yale is due for a fall.

At Wed Oct 24, 10:55:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you even watch the games? Mitchell played much of the game at Dartmouth at NT.

At Thu Oct 25, 12:13:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Obviously many Columbia football supporters on this website did not see the Dartmouth game in New Hampshire so any insights you might have from being there would be appreciated. I don't remember the radio announcers saying anyting about Phil Mitchell playing nose tackle during that game. I still agree with those posters who believe it's a good idea and the Columbia coaches must have been pleased with Phil's play against Dartmouht as the two-deep for the Yale game lists him as the starting nose tackle.

At Thu Oct 25, 12:47:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

For $7.95, you could go to the multimedia Dartmouth site, and sign up for a month, then cancel after using a month.
Though Columbia game vs Dartmouth not yet archived, should be soon, as their other games are on-demand.
This also give you a chance to look at Yale this year when Dartmouth played them, and also a chance to see Cornell vs Dartmouth before we play them. Just an option for the fanatic fan.

At Thu Oct 25, 01:27:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Frequently the 2-deep is not accurate. To my knowledge, Phil Mitchell was not mentioned as NT, but, being a Dartmouth broadcast, very few lions were mentioned by name.

I think the coaching staff would rather have Mitchell play DE and come off the corner and pressure the QB, but last week due to certain circumstances they had no choice.

Go Lions!

At Thu Oct 25, 02:36:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interestingly, today's Spectator has an attack on Dr. Murphy, which claims that she's really only made "sideways" moves for Columbia athletics in general. I disagree and think the story is wrongheaded in the extreme, but it is correct in noting that CU sports in general this autumn are mediocre at best compared to last uear, and it's certainly worth reading.


At Thu Oct 25, 04:23:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mediocre at best?

Isn't Field Hockey having its best season ever? Didn't Columbia just send its doubles team to the national indoor championship? Isn't Cross Country poised to do well at the Heps?

Furthermore - didn't Columbia's football and men's basketball teams finish at .500 or better last year? I think that was the first time since formal Ivy competition that that happened...

Spectator has never let facts stand in the way of an uninformed opinion.

At Thu Oct 25, 06:07:00 AM GMT+7, Blogger dabull said...

To expect a turnaround of epic proportions in 4 years of an athletic dept. with a serious tradition of mediocrity is laughable. If you were to hold every AD to such standards we would have a new one, well every 4 years I guess. I think she is doing one hell of a job and our teams will continue to improve. Four years does not make for a "legacy".

At Fri Oct 26, 12:38:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The real wonder,"da bull," is that it took Columbia so long to find and commit to (I hope) someone with the clear energy and dedication to athletic and scholastic achievements alike that Dr. Murphy displays so obviously and so well. It certainly toook many, many sets of those 4-year terms to which you refer.



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