Monday, November 12, 2007

Snafu Saturday

Bryan Walters' punt return for a TD made it 21-0 (CREDIT: Cornell Athletics)

Cornell 34 Columbia 14

Why Cornell Won

The opening kickoff returned for a TD by Cornell's Shane Kilcoyne set the tone. Columbia was actually doing a decent job on kick coverage this year, but the Big Red also got a punt return for a TD later in the 1st quarter. QB Stephen Liuzza performed as billed, running brilliantly and even passing well overall. The Cornell defense did a great job stiffening up when the Lions got deep into Big Red territory.

Why Columbia Lost

The special teams breakdowns, albeit against super Cornell return men, were killers. As were the offense's general inability to finish drives with points. The defense created no turnovers and could not stop Liuzza when it counted.

Key Turning Point

After the opening kickoff return for a TD, the Lions drove to the Cornell 44 before the drive stalled. Then after forcing the Big Red to punt, the Lions drove to the Cornell 16 but had a field goal attempt blocked.

Columbia Positives

-Austin Knowlin made two impressive grabs for Columbia TD's, giving him 10 touchdown receptions on the season and 11 overall.

-I was generally pleased with backup QB Shane Kelly's play after he took over late in the third quarter. He seemed to throw the ball well and he is more mobile than Craig Hormann.

-Hormann still had a decent game overall. He did not throw an interception and avoided a few sacks by taking hits and not going down. I expect to see him end his collegiate career in strong fashion next week against Brown.

-Alex Gross made a number of great tackles, many of them really hard hits.

Personal Frustrations

Technical difficulties wrecked havoc with our broadcast all day. I want to apologize to all the fans who missed parts of the game or our commentary. But my special thanks to the staff at Schoelkopf Field who did everything to help us.

It was a tough day all around.


At Mon Nov 12, 09:21:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jake, let's get the faithful out for a good turn-out on Saturday against Brown. I want our staff and players to know that we care about them. This season would have played out differently had Craig not hurt himself playing basketball, thereby missing Spring practice, most of the preseason, etc., and frankly he became much less mobile after his injury. I was disappointed with our failure to close out potential wins against Princeton and Dartmouth, but I think we may be closer than people think. Take away the Cornell special teams, and our own special team mistake (another blocked FG), and you have a different game. I wa simpressed by Kelly; he seems to have excellent field vision and is obviously more mobile. I hope he gets another year of eligibility, because I think he will be a very good player. We also must get stronger on the OL and the DL. Our biggest problem this year was that we were generally outmuscled at the line of scrimmage. while we were bigger this year, we weren't stronger. Our guys must really dedicate themselves to the weight room this winter. On the positive side, we have some excellent first and second year talent. And Austin Knowlin is a future player of the year. What a shame that his long TD was called back. Finally, I think we need to reconsider some of our offensive and defensive sets. A good running game cannot be run out of the shotgun. NW says he would run the I formation if he had the right personnel. Jordan Davis can be a fine back out of the I, but he will need better blocking. As for the D, I just don't know if the three man front can work in the Ivies. We were killed on the ground with it.

At Mon Nov 12, 09:38:00 PM GMT+7, Blogger Jake said...

I'll make more general and specific comments about this season when it's over, but this has been a disappointing year and of course no one in the CU program would say differently.

Here is the key question: Will this down season actually lead to better things down the road as all these very young players learn the tough lessons now?... OR will this be another bad year that derails the coaching staff and crumbles the building blocks established last year?

To avoid the latter scenario, the fans MUST not get too frustrated. We've all been waiting a long time for a winner, but giving up now won't make the championships come any sooner.

Previous bad seasons have often resulted in more than just losses on the field. Players have quit, coaches have been fired, and long-term mistakes have been made. We MUST not let a 1-9 or 2-8 season do any more damage than it already has.

This is a very young team with a lot of talent. Once we figure out how to utilize these players properly, (which takes time, most of them just hit the field this season), we'll have a better shot at contending in '08 and '09.

At Mon Nov 12, 09:56:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

CARRYING OVER FROM FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 09, 2007:"Columbia-Cornell Keys to the Game"-
And commenting on post: Mon Nov 12, 03:52:00 AM PST
“How much does it cost? It costs 100mil? Look at our facilities compared to HYP - or even Dartmouth for that matter. Stuff like that matters for recruits."

My new recruit didn’t care about facilities in his top 5 reasons to choose Columbia Football. He cared about an excellent education, coupled with being part of a team that was poised on the threshold of a new winning era. He cared about participating in the creation of that history. And he cared that the coaching staff would be of the highest integrity. And he cared that the administration of the university would support this effort of mind, body, and spirit.

That we help these new recruits look past any disappointments in this year and keep them fired up to pursue their goals for the next 3 years is of supreme importance. We do that by 1st minimizing personal criticism in such an open forum. We encourage the coaching staff to always model the most excellent character, especially in response to disappointment and this is more valuable than finance. We let the administration know we are interested in the processes and the outcomes. This will keep the focus on all the enthusiastic intangibles (commitment, community, character) that a successful program can add to the value of the education at this university. All of this support, at all of these levels will bring the desired results. The future recruited talent and the $$$ can't help but follow success.

At Mon Nov 12, 10:17:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Agree with Jakes review. It was like watching a car accident in slow motion, as without personell or game tactic adjustments, the boys didnt have much of a chance it seemed.
QB mobility was, in my opinion, the main difference between their offense and ours. Other teams essentially have 2 runners in the backfield (with a one back set), whereas we only have 1. This is a big disadvantage to us.
Also, the runbacks on special teams are an issue--can we kick away from the return men, or find the right guys who will finish the play?

At Mon Nov 12, 10:18:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

6:56's remarks are very well taken. We, along sometimes with KCR and the Spec, have an almost neurotic tendency to start dregging up the past when we react to and assess the present state of CU football, and that skews our ability to be rational about the present. The season is disappointing, to be sure, but everything I see, hear and sense about the program--albeit from a distance--is positive. Most importantly, Coach Wilson has no delusions about how players perform and how he and his coaches coach; he calls it like it is and will work to make it better. I also agree that alghough an upgrade in facilities will obviously be nice, most recruits make choices on the basis of the vibes they get from the coaches and players on the team, and with respect to that, we are in very good shape. I'm optimistic.

At Mon Nov 12, 11:33:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with Dr. V and all the other very intelligent posters on this website regarding the need to stay positive. Let's not forget that there are only twelve seniors on the team. Therefore, we will not have very many losses to graduation. If the players who are in the program now, stay fully committed and work hard in the off-season, we will do very well next year. "COMMITMENT" is the key word

At Mon Nov 12, 11:49:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am very encouraged by all of these posters. While I admire Craig's decision to come back form a devastating injury, it was obvious to all of our opponents that his lack of mobility really hurt us. I hope to see a renewed commitment from all concerned. And let's get out there on Saturday!

At Mon Nov 12, 11:50:00 PM GMT+7, Blogger dabull said...

You said it, the size of this sr. class lends to a loss of that very tangible sr. leadership that every winning program has. Let some of these recruit classes of Wilson get to their sr year and this team will be in great shape. Thirty nine newcomers in this years class with LOTS of talent. With good retention and the natural physical maturity and hard weight room work this class is going to give a tremendous clout of Sr. leadership someday. Wilson can build these kind of classes every year. Coaches at other schools know they have some real recruiting competition coming out of Columbia now. Also,the kids are working hard in off-season weight programs but an 18 yr old, unless just so physically blessed, just can't build himself to the same place that a 20 or 21 year old can. Their bodies are still maturing so much at this age that it takes hard work AND the natural growth and maturity the body undergoes to create the mass and strength they will eventually reach. Alot easier for a first year to play at a skill position than in the trenches.

At Tue Nov 13, 04:00:00 AM GMT+7, Blogger DOC said...

I too am very optimistic about the future of CU Football. What program, other than some "mill" like Ohio State or USC, doesnt go through rebuilding, especially with a brand new coaching staff. We saw some promising young athletes show tremendous potential for greater things to come. We even saw Jakes Blog grow in scope and stature. I will be on the 50yd line cheering my lungs off for the finale on Saturday- this team deserves no less-I hope all alums and students will do likewise.

At Tue Nov 13, 09:24:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some may remember that there was once a question --- during The Streak -- of moving down to Division III. Under the circumstances, that was a reasonable question then. Week after week, we fielded teams that included many good athletes that stood little to no chance of success within the Ivy League. Supposedly, CU made a commitment then to make a punishing sport rewarding first and foremost for those who play it and secondly for those who support those who play it. More alumni support may be vital to that commitment but such support does not relieve the University of its obligation to do more than call upon the alums. 1-2 win seasons are old hat for many of us, with or without the new look signage on game day. To be as successful within the league as we hope they will be, current team members and those in the recruiting pipeline may well require more from Alma Mater than has been forthcoming.


At Tue Nov 13, 12:55:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here we go again. How many times does the same point have to be repeated??? For Pete's sake, the current coach and team have no relationship to any streak or anything else. A college football coach typically needs 4-5 years to make his mark. Period. From all accounts, Wilson seems to be moving in the right direction. Period. I too have been following CU football for a long time; I too have been disappointed over the years. So what? Stop walowing.

At Tue Nov 13, 05:16:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not wallowing, Dr.V... asking if there is more the University can do than ask us to keep the faith ...


At Tue Nov 13, 07:31:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems there is alot of positive energy/motivation from the parents to help our boys and Columbia football. Unorganized, we can do nothing but encourage our own kids. Organized, we may have some clout with administration, and even do some networking(for the boys)with other parents and alumni for career help. Im sure there are NCAA regulations for the limits of what can be done, and maybe I'm too optimistic, but I think an involved and organized parent group could even help recruiting by setting the Columbia program apart from other Ivy football programs-showing there is a network of involved people willing to help these gifted young student athletes who are sacrificing study time to play football. I know I would have considered it another plus for the program. Anyway, the seed is planted, and it starts by mailing your sons player info to:
Include player name, email, position, home town, and parent contact info.

At Tue Nov 13, 07:32:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

the email address is

At Tue Nov 13, 09:55:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amidst all the disappointment over this year's football results, it should nonetheless be noted that the Lions last night beat a usually very good Delaware State team 47-41 in the pre-season version of the NIT. They face powerhouse Ohio State tonight and even "just" a tough loss would be a tremendous confidence builder for a team that looks set to compete for an Ivy title this winter. Go Lions in all sports!


At Tue Nov 13, 10:54:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's get a good turnout this Saturday for Brown. The staff and the players would appreciate it. And let's stay positive; this coach can build a program, but it will take another two years to really see things pay off. It all starts with the OL and the DL; we need to develop the raw talent we have and to bring in some other big bodies with athletic skills. that is an area in whihc NW should be hitting the recruiting trail this winter. After all, if you were a promising lineman, is there another coach in the Ivies for whom you would rather play?

At Tue Nov 13, 11:11:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I like your idea of a parents group focused on supporting the players.
BUT, sould the idea and it's implemention be discussed with the athletics dept in order not to violate NCAA or IVY rules?

At Tue Nov 13, 11:16:00 PM GMT+7, Blogger Jake said...

Yes, it would have to be vetted properly. But I think if it focuses on INFORMATION and group gatherings as opposed to actual player support and funding, we will be okay. But we have to get vetted regardless.

At Tue Nov 13, 11:19:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Right now we are just compiling a list of families so we can contact each other in the off-season. The next step would be to contact the AD regarding rules and regulations in forming a parent organization. Once we get a viable list of names, we will see how many parents on that list are interested in an organization.

At Wed Nov 14, 02:35:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting story on the Ohio State Athletics Website about the Columbia-Ohio State Basketball Game in Columbus tonight on ESPN at 9:00 P.M. Columbia and Ohio State have only met once previously and guess what, the Lions prevailed by a 30-29 score in Columbus on February 2, 1931. Since Columbia and Ohio State have only met on that one occasion, and Ohio State has defeated every other Ivy League school, Ohio State comes into the game this evening 0-1 against the Lions. I'm surprised that Columbia hasn't played Ohio State in basketball, or for that matter in some other sports such as wrestling because Columbus, Ohio is really not that far away from New York City and there is after all quite a similarity in names between "Columbia" and "Columbus."

At Wed Nov 14, 02:44:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's easier to fly to Columbus, Ohio from New York City than to drive to Ithaca, New York, Boston, Massachusetts, or Hanover, New Hampshire. People in Columbus are very friendly and sophisticated and it would be fun to compete against the "Columbus Buckeyes" regularly in a number of sports such as wrestling, baseball and tennis.

At Wed Nov 14, 03:04:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Having an active parents organization would be a great boost for Columbia Football. Our Football Club members are very supportive of the Columbia Football Program and do some amazing things for Columbia Football, but I'm betting that the "Columbia Football Parents" organization will make an even more significant impact. Go Parents!

At Wed Nov 14, 04:17:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The 1930-31 Columbia basketball team mentioned above went 21-2 and won the Eastern Intercollegiate League for the second consecutive year by going undefeated in league play.

The team was led by George Gregory, captain and first African-American to be named All-American in basketball, Lou Bender, also an All-American on at least one team his senior year, and Bob McCoy, the three of whom finished 1-2-3 (Bender, Gregory, McCoy) in league scoring. Dave Jones, a fourth starter, finished in fifth place. Leonard Hartman was another key contributor.

Here's an account of the Ohio State game from the 1931 Columbian:

"After two weeks of inactivity during the exam period, Columbia returned to work and nosed out a strong Ohio State five, 30-29, in as thrilling a game as seen on the home court in recent years. The Lions played ragged basketball in the first half and the invaders, taking advantage of the let-down, held the lead for the majority of the game. Late in the second half, with the game apparently lost, Hartman and Bender threw in a couple of baskets each, and it was the latter's two pointer on a follow-up that turned the tide in favor of the Lions."



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