Bang the Drum Loudly
Craig Hormann, back in 2005
A number of posters have made the point already, but it should be restated here: SHOW UP AT WIEN STADIUM THIS SATURDAY!!!
It's been a disappointing season, no question about that. But one thing I haven't really noticed in this team is a lack of effort. Yes, they've been out-played. Yes, they've made some mental errors. But I've looked at the eyes of these players in fourth quarters week after week, and I see the fire every time.
Of course, Saturday will be all about the 12 seniors playing their final games at Columbia, and probably forever. This is a group of players that if you count some of their initial contacts with the Columbia program, became somewhat familiar with three separate coaching staffs under Ray Tellier, Bob Shoop, and finally Norries Wilson.
On the field they've experienced the lows of 2004, 2005, and now the 2007 season. But they also shared in the highs of the 2006 campaign that ended so well.
Here are some of my personal memories of some of the individual players:
I'll never forgert how Craig showed the strength of his arm in his very first game action against Cornell during his freshman year. He led the Lions on a long TD drive his very first time on the field in that game. Of course, Columbia ending up losing that game in a classic choke, but one positive was the fact that we new we had a great young passer ready to play for the next three years.
Craig was then thrown into a tough situation as the "co-starter" with senior Joe Winters during the 2005 season. Neither QB really thrived in that crazy arrangement, but Hormann did show a great ability to hook up with deep threat wide receiver Brandon Bowser from time to time.
In his junior year, Hormann led the Lions to their best record in a decade. He also showed an uncanny ability to avoid throwing the interception. His performance at key points in the wins over Cornell and Brown were very impressive and led to his being named 2nd team All-Ivy.
This season, Craig has struggled. He's thrown twice as many interceptions, and had less succes on third downs. But the courage and determination he showed to come back into decent playing form after tearing his ACL in the off season has been inspiring. Who knows what he could have done with a better running attack and a more veteran offensive line?
My best memory of JoJo Smith came in the Fordham game last year, when he slapped the ball away from a Fordham receiver to force a fumble just before he would have gone in for a touchdown. The effort he puts out on the field every day is more than impressive.
Who could forget the TWO field goals Edwards blocked in the Fordham game last year. Injuries have marred too much of his senior season, but he seems healthy again now. Eugene is the epitome of the humble, hard-working ball player.
Bayo actually first hit the field way back in 2003. Injuries have also played too much of a role in his career, which is too bad because just looking at him, you can tell he could be a dominant force. He really personifies perserverance.
My best memory of Tim was his great run for a TD on a reverse against Georgetown last season. It's fun just to see this speedster go up and down the field.
Mike was thrown into the mix as a sophomore in 2005 and was immediately seen as being a real talent on the offensive line. He and Craig Hormann have worked well as a team together.
Jamal's breakaway for a TD against Cornell last year was one of the most exciting moments in Columbia football over the past three years. Jamal was another player who was dealt an unfair hand when it comes to injuries.
Brandon's contributions this year were a pleasant surprise from a player who was relatively quiet his first three seasons. His injury in the Yale game will probably keep him out of the lineup Saturday, but we are hopeful.
Josh has been an extremely reliable long snapper. He came on the scene after Columbia suffered a great many seasons with problems in that area. Josh has been a godsend.
Stefan Savic, Austin Stevenson, and Thomas Weldon haven't had much playing time, but I know we all appreciate their efforts.