Sunday, November 04, 2007

Pushed Out

The Lions just didn't do this enough today (CREDIT: Columbia Athletics/Gene Boyars)

Harvard 27 Columbia 12

Why Harvard Won

They dominated both lines of scrimmage, harassing Craig Hormann on every play while on defense, while giving their own QB, Chris Pizzoti eons of time while on offense. When you win the battle in the trenches in football, you will win.

Why Columbia Lost

They couldn't protect Hormann with any consistency and they never even came close to getting a sack of their own. Some of their more promising drives in the first half ended with no points.

Key Turning Points

1) Trailing 7-0 in the first quarter, the Lions drove the ball all the way to the Harvard 11 and had a first down, but they got no closer than the 7 and had to settle for a field goal.

2) On their next possession, Columbia drove to a first down at the Harvard 16, but could get no closer than that and had to settle for yet another field goal to make 7-6.

3) After Columbia made it 7-6, Harvard took over at their own 33 and easily drove down the field for another TD, only a missed extra point kept it from becoming a total momentum killer.

4) On their first drive of the 4th quarter and now trailing 20-6, the Lions had a first down at the Harvard 29, but Craig Hormann fumbled the ball while trying to fight through a sack a play later and the Crimson recovered. 11 plays later, it was 27-6.

Columbia Positives

It was another terrific game for Austin Knowlin who finished with 10 catches for 123 yards and a TD. He also ran a couple of reverses, one for 8 yards. He now has 797 yards receiving this season, just 203 yards shy of Don Lewis' Columbia season record.

MVP of the Game: Austin Knowlin


At Sun Nov 04, 11:47:00 AM GMT+7, Blogger dabull said...

I think many of the sacks Hormann takes happen because he holds onto the ball so dang long. Either we aren't getting guys open or he's not spotting them soon enough. Most of the short stuff has to be released before the receiver has turned to look for the ball and I don't think Craig is good at it.

At Sun Nov 04, 08:46:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Random thoughts: Some of the pass plays were sensational, some were average and some were awful. On the whole, our wide receivers had another outstanding game, especially Austin and Nico. J.A. Williams caught a 38-yard bullet from Craig at the beginning of the fourth quarter that was a thing of beauty---big time pass play that should earn Williams a position in the rotation. No production at all from the tight end position, as neither Jamal or Troy played, presumably due to injuries. Craig was under tremendous pressure the entire game and doesn't have the mobility to avoid the rush and run for significant yardage. With hindsight, we probably should have have tried some draw plays and quick passes up the middle to counter Harvard's rush. Ray Rangel keeps improving, and gives us a bit of a running game to the outside. We didn't try to use Jordan Davis or Pete Stoll on running plays up the middle, which may have been a mistake. Unfair to criticize Craig when we have no running game. Why not try the two freshman linebackers, Alex Gross and Matt Morretto at running back, particularly on short yardage situations. Gross seems to accelerate faster than anyone on the team and scored 17 TD's in high school. Morretto is also big and fast and played running back in high school. What's the status of the two freshman tailbacks, Leon Ivery and Zack Kouromna? Why aren't they on the field? Plenty of freshman runners are seeing varsity action in the Ivy League.

At Sun Nov 04, 10:27:00 PM GMT+7, Blogger dabull said...

You have to understand that in the one back spread the pass is first and is used to open up the field for the single back. The defense has to respect the pass at all times. Your qb has to hit a high percentage rate to keep drives alive and move the chains. We just don't hit a high enough percentage of those 5-7 yard plays to make it all happen.

At Sun Nov 04, 11:22:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

2200 people at the game yesterday. There were 4k at the Dartmouth game in Hanover. That's a disgrace that the two best teams in the Ivies come to our place and we can't muster up a decent HS football game crowd for either game. The Harvard announcers kept saying that there were more on the Harvard side then the CU side. I don't want to hear weather as an excuse either as yesterday ended up being an alright day....that in a nutshell is problem numero uno wuth CU football and turning it around.

At Sun Nov 04, 11:51:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fans in the stands don't make you win. Trust me when these guys start winning, and I believe they will, people will show up.

At Mon Nov 05, 12:34:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like DABULL 's thought about how the single back formation works as a pass first offense. I think that a great deal of football is about running the ball using the clock to keep the other guy's offense off the field.
What about using the two back set more? We only ran the ball 20 times.NW complains about the OL not doing the job, but his first plays in the opening drive are PASSES!

At Mon Nov 05, 12:38:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, the Harvard side had only a handful of fans and their band, which may have outnumbered the others. I don't know if visitors don't like to sit on the visitors' side, or they just don't turn out for their teams. Each of the other Ivies has huge numbers of alumni in NYC. Except for Cornell, perhaps, they just don't come to games.

As for the game itself, the Harvard defense was teeing off on a helpless Hormann for most of the second half. He had little protection and took a beating. And you can't run traps, screens and misdirection pays without a skilled O-line. These guys are young and being put out there despite their lack of experience and technique, because they are the strongest CU has. In a year of two, one hopes, they'll be much better. Then -- if NW finds a good QB to replace CH -- the offense should be able to stay on the field, and become more creative. On the plus side, they got the ball to a back in the flat a few times with some success. Wish they could muster a few more ball-control plays.
And, as with many CU games, a couple of questionable calls and it might have looked differently. On a goal-line stand, a tailback pushed the HU QB over the line on 4th and short after he had been stood up and stopped -- don't think that's legal. And Hormann fumbled after he had been surrounded and gang tackled for a few seconds -- after the ref should have blown the whistle. Better calls would have taken 14 points off the board. Oh well, it's hoops time.

At Mon Nov 05, 02:54:00 AM GMT+7, Blogger DOC said...

Agree that Hormann took too many sacks yesterday. It was hard for him to get set when the pocket was crumbling around him. He was more effective several times on roll-outs when the pocket moved with him. I think that a push from behind, in answer to previous post, is legal as long as the assisting player doesnt lift or carry the other player forward. I also felt that the whistle on the Hormann fumble was a slow one, and that the whistle was too quick on the Ho fumble near our goal line. But then again I'm a Columbia fan....

At Mon Nov 05, 03:10:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It will greatly help to win at least one IVY game this year, but it appears all about the future with this team. The coaching staff in the coming months needs all parent, fan and alumni support to:
#1 retain the current best players.
#2 continue to recruit more talented boys than in previous years.
It is a challenge for the Ivies, especially with no scholarship $, little school spirit, no bowl games
and the rigors of a tough academic institution. There will only be more mediocrity unless But there will be continued football mediocrity unless Columbia can keep and find the best talent from the very small pool of 'great athletes who happen to be great students'. Good Luck NW and staff--I know much better things are coming in the next 1-2 years.

At Mon Nov 05, 03:32:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's face reality! We are dealing with a rookie coaching staff that cannot be decisive in critical, game deciding situations.

We lost two games because the opposing coach changed quaterbacks and that was the deciding factor in the loss.

We have played Yale and Harvard even until halftime and then the halftime adjustments by the opposing coaches have killed us.

The 4-man defensive front with defensive linemen worked against Yale in the first half and then they ran outside with play action. The same 4-man front was hardly used against Harvard. A blocking fullback has worked but is rarely used.

Our team have proven they can compete but our coaching staff hasn't proven anything except as recruiters.

At Mon Nov 05, 03:52:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Agree with previous poster on coaching comments. Also agree that an Ivy win is imperative for the program going forward. Cornell was only realistic win I saw in second half of our schedule. They were just trounced by a soso Dartmouth team. If we can't win in Ithaca, that will be deflating on many fronts. We appear to be close to turning this around. I really wish NW would rotate a mobile QB in for a few series just to change things up. Hormann is a target because he has zero elusiveness and that makes him fairly predictable(as in offense in general) and easy to defend...

At Mon Nov 05, 04:36:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't know who else the staff can play at QB. Kelly showed a lack of arm strength in his short stint earlier this season. MA is not an option (there are reasons). Too bad the kid who did so well in the spring game was converted to a DB.

At Mon Nov 05, 05:54:00 AM GMT+7, Blogger dabull said...

To the poster at 9:34. Wilson has said he would like to run a 2-back I formation. To see him not do that tells you that he doesn't believe the o-line has the size and power to do so. The single back spread is run by many schools and pro teams now. It is a great equalizer for teams that have less size and depth on the line and good skill position players. I like the offense myself but so much depends on the qb hitting a high percentage of short throws and than the tailback can a lot of times spring into the second level of the defense because you have stretched the defenders thin to cover receivers. We just don't hit enough completions to make everything work on a consistent enough basis. If you have a real mobile qb than your playbook really expands and you can give a defense fits with a qb that can boot or throw on the run.

At Mon Nov 05, 05:59:00 AM GMT+7, Blogger dabull said...

I forgot to add--the one thing I don't like about the offense is it traditionally is weak in the red zone especially in side the ten when you need to run and on third and short run downs.

At Mon Nov 05, 07:07:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

DaBull is on point, the single back set benefits most though from a quarterback that is also a running threat. Giving the quarter back the option of pulling it and running has very effective at the college level. having the quarterback be a running threat increases effectiveness in the redzone. You can run the formation with 2 backs and create some interesting run game. That run game would fit our players well. We showed that formation some on Saturday and I think its a good one for us.

On special teams, I don't understand why we can't get a set up for punt return and kick return.

Harvard ran a nice balanced run:pass attack, our defense was better but still the overall yardage rolled up by Harvard will be difficult for any offense to overcome.

Cornell will be a good game for us. It's definately an opportunity to win! We need to send our hard working seniors out with a couple of wins! It will also set the tone for recruiting and for next year. The Coaches need to be positive with their young charges if they want to keep building the program.

At Mon Nov 05, 07:39:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did anyone else see the big hit by Otis in the 3rd Quarter? Need more of that. Also, great play by Augie Williams in the 2nd Qtr. Let's make the opponents feel it when they come to the Robert K. Kraft Field.

At Mon Nov 05, 09:01:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That was a nice hit by Otis. He's a good defensive back. We have plenty of talented young defensive backs including Shalbrack, Jefferson, Abeyta, Otis, Mehrer, Jefferson and Williams. Morine also made a nice stop. The defensive backs and wide receivers are the strength of the team and are improving every week. On offense, the problem is the non-existent running game. The defense played well most of the game, but couldn't mount a passing rush against Harvard's very strong offensive linemen. We'll do much better against Cornell and Brown. The good news is that nearly everyone is returning next season and if we add some impact players on both offense and defense we will have a very good team.

At Mon Nov 05, 09:36:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Defense has not been as active stunting recently. I like the change to a four man front. They're making bigger stops on third down. There also seems to be a lot of rotation with players. Also was wondering why Moretto, who was the leading tackler has been getting less time in as linebacker.

At Mon Nov 05, 01:08:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Moretto must be hurt, Masorti, too. (Is that right, Jake?) They're seeing very limited action lately, and normally they'd be starting. We have a lot of good linebackers, need them to stay healthy.

Offense looking weak except for occasional flashes of greatness from Knowlin. There's a real problem here. Still almost no Pete Stoll or use of tight ends (of course, most of them are injured now)...Flat, uninspired play-calling. We need a really good OC, or Marino to get better fast.

At Mon Nov 05, 10:34:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's hard to be creative on offense if you don't have the horses. If the O-line can't hold its blocks, you have no time for plays to develop. If you need to keep the back in to block, you don't have a release into the flat. If the line can't trap . . . . etc. etc. etc.


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