Saturday, March 29, 2008

The Proving Grounds


Ray Rangel had a good spring practice in 2007 (CREDIT: Columbia Athletics/Gene Boyars)


Spring practice begins today and I expect things to remain very hush hush until the spring game on April 19th, (unofficial date).

Coming in to practice, I think there are three main story lines for the next three weeks:

1) Which starting quarterback candidate will emerge as the true frontrunner?

2) Will the returning offensive linemen show improvement in size, strength and technique?

3) Will the returning defensive linemen show improvement in size, strength and technique?


Of course, there are a million more questions to be answered, especially after a disappointing 1-9 season.

One other key starting spot competiton will be at running back. Leon Ivery apparently wasn't ready to get any varsity playing time last season, but perhaps he's ready now. And I still think Jordan Davis and Ray Rangel can improve enough to contribute more next season.

Of course, we really don't know much about the injury situation... nor are we likely to learn more anytime soon. Justin Masorti is still off the roster, but he missed spring practice last season as well and still was back in the fall.

And then we have some new additions. A new kicker/punter, William Mazur, a sophomore from Pelham, NY has appeared on the roster. Chad Musgrove is back, and the coaches have to be curious to see how strong he is after a year away from football.

And as usual, there will be the dark horses. A player or two who is totally not on the radar now who will emerge as a serious starting candidate at the end of spring practice.

I don't know if the players are getting on the field today, but the weather in NYC has a grey fall-like feel to it today. It's been very windy all winter and into this early spring, so I can only imagine how windy it is up at Baker Field.

Let's get to work.

56 Comments:

At Sat Mar 29, 07:24:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What are the odds of Coach Wilson being let go after 2008 season?

 
At Sat Mar 29, 07:32:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't count on it troll. Stop the bad mouthing. Be positive.

 
At Sat Mar 29, 07:52:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My name is not troll.

 
At Sat Mar 29, 08:11:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course, focusing on the positives can only be good, I guess.

But there are few certainties in life: (1) death; (2) taxes; (3) football coaches (97%) get fired.

For example: look at NW's predecessors. Why did they stop coaching at Columbia?

 
At Sat Mar 29, 08:32:00 AM GMT+7, Blogger dabull said...

How can you let a coach go after three seasons that inherited down program and hasn't even seen one recruit class of his own reach maturity? Any coach coming into a program like Columbia's has to be given a five year window to prove he can put a competitive team on the field.

 
At Sat Mar 29, 08:40:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Zero. Coach Wilson is building a program. Look at the retention rate of the players. They like him and they want to play for him. Wilson is in the second year of a five year contract. He has had only one recruiting class that was truly his. The class that will be announced in May will be another strong group. 2009 and 2010 will be good years. I believe that the real question is, will CU be able to keep Coach Wilson from taking offers from other schools when his contract is up?

 
At Sat Mar 29, 10:42:00 AM GMT+7, Blogger DOC said...

Coach Wilson's predecessors got fired
because they failed to re-establish a winning tradition at Columbia. There were flashes of success but never a sustained run of winning seasons. The odds of a coaching change at the end of the 2008 season would be extremely small for several reasons. He is a popular coach who is well respected by the players. He exhibits the enthusiasm and confidence of a winner. Most importantly, he enjoys the utmost support of our AD, Dr. Murphy. I agree that a 5 year window will prove that he is the right man to "bring pride back to Morningside."

 
At Sat Mar 29, 11:00:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why is anyone answering the 'Troll" ?

 
At Sat Mar 29, 11:54:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have you ever met Coach Wilson? Highly intelligent guy with a great sense of humor. Sensitive person who looks you in the eye. Treats you like family. Knows football. Everyone around Columbia Football respects him tremendously. Believe me, you want him to be your son's coach.

 
At Sat Mar 29, 06:32:00 PM GMT+7, Blogger Jake said...

Coach Wilson's immediate predecessor was fired after three seasons mostly because of some serious personal issues off the field.

But the coach before that, Ray Tellier, was at the helm for 14 years, not bad by any standard. It didn't hurt that Tellier is a prince of a guy.

Coach Wilson has the highest level of personal character, and that will help him survive in the long run.

 
At Sat Mar 29, 10:19:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is in Columbia's best interest to do whatever they can to hold on to Coach Wilson. He is an awesome recruiter and has put together a great coaching team. As a parent of a recruit, my son was recruited by all the Ivy's and Columbia was the only one we seriously considered. It was obvious to me that he is a man of integrity. He has a vision and his staff and the players have bought in to it. In an interview, my son was asked, why Columbia a 1-9 team, he promptly responded the coaches. Yes the academics are very important to him, but recruits look for a far more personal component and the coaching staff at Columbia has it!

 
At Sun Mar 30, 02:12:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you mind telling us whether your son is one of the recruits whose name has already appeared on this site?

 
At Sun Mar 30, 04:33:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a parent of a player, it seems Wilson has created a tight fellowship that stresses character, scholarship, work ethic and service to community-that's why the boys aren't leaving. What more could parent's want than for their son to be mentored and immersed in this culture? And it will result in more wins, as new recruits can sense the strength of the Columbia football mission and are sticking it out. Lets see what the next 2 years bring.

 
At Sun Mar 30, 04:40:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unfortuunately we are getting spam from a few pathological bloggers who generally hang out on voyforums. They know that recruits, players, parents and even coaches read Jake's blog. We know who they are and we also know the two schools with with they associate themselves. Jake, there is no First Amendment right for anybody to pollute your site with inane rumors. The administration, players and alumni love Norries Wilson. We think he will do great things, and we take a long view.

 
At Sun Mar 30, 05:55:00 AM GMT+7, Blogger Ryan said...

Honestly speaking, if you have to come to this site to try put stupid little rumors out there about Columbia Football, you are a total loser. If you really care that much about Penn Football or whatever other crappy school, do yourself and the world a huge favor and take a long walk off a short pier. Or better yet, have some semblance of courage and let everyone know who you are and where to find you. What do you say to that, ace? My guess is that you are too much of a pathetic coward to mount any such effort.

-Slider

 
At Sun Mar 30, 06:33:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, he is one of the posted recruits. I can assure you that the parents of recruits reading this blog have nothing but respect and admiration for the entire coaching staff at Columbia. We share an excitement for the future of this program!

 
At Sun Mar 30, 07:51:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyone know what Doug Jackson is up to these days?

Mr. Smith

 
At Sun Mar 30, 02:33:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's great to see parents responding like that. We alums should have nothing to worry about.

 
At Sun Mar 30, 07:53:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jake, once again I want to thank you for your great enthusiasm and energy.

 
At Mon Mar 31, 04:19:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I watched the baseball team sweep the Brown Bears yesterday and between games I took in some pre-season Spring practice Football.
These young men deserve ONLY our praise and gratitude (win or lose).

GO LIONS!!

 
At Mon Mar 31, 07:42:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Any specific information about how Spring Football Practice is going?

 
At Mon Mar 31, 08:41:00 AM GMT+7, Blogger dabull said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At Mon Mar 31, 05:37:00 PM GMT+7, Blogger Jake said...

As long as people avoid personal attacks and vulgarity, I won't delete any comments posted here.

BUT I will also need to boost the secrecy factor surrounding the team at least for now.

So, I need to apologize for deleting DaBull's last comment, but I've been asked not to allow the site to telegraph info other teams could use to their advantage, at least for now.

 
At Mon Mar 31, 07:09:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good policy, Jake

 
At Mon Mar 31, 07:37:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jake, it's your blog and you can set the rules, but take for example the 3/28 at 5:24 PM blog starting a vicious rumor about Coach Wilson. It was probably put there by that creep Foehi or another Penn or Cornell fan. It has no basis. It is just plain outrageous that your blog should be polluted. But in any event, keep up the great work.

 
At Mon Mar 31, 08:10:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

FYI: I am not Froehi (who ever he is). I am not a fan of Cornell or UPenn football.

I was just wondering about the short shelf-life of football coaches, even those who are capable. See Glen Mason (Minnesota).

 
At Mon Mar 31, 08:28:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of the great, very obvious things about Norries Wilson is that he plainly cares personally about his players. He always, for example, when doing a "laundry list" of his players, includes little personal observations. Funny, touching stuff that indicates he actually notices things about them and cares about them as people.

I cannot ever imagine Buff Donelli ever doing anything similar (save, perhaps, for a few of his "pets" like Archie Roberts), and Coach Donelli was nonetheless a pretty nice man and a good coach.

But Norries, I suspect, is someone special to play for. And I can only wonder why this thread seemed to begin with an attack of sorts upon him and his considerable talents. It was just unnecessary.

rs

 
At Mon Mar 31, 08:56:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am impressed that many NW is held in very high regard by various fans. Based on various peoples' descriptions, NW appears to be a very caring coach. (I for one, do not know him personally; my view is based on mainstream press coverage, i.e. NYT (theme: average/s), and tape of his interview re officiating.) I wish NW lots of success, and that he is able to bring success to Columbia football.

Just an observation: whereas the original poster posted a very terse posting (which could have been interpreted various ways), many posters became very defensive right away, and started attacking the poster as a "troll."

Can you imagine what would have happened, if the original poster went to LSU football fan blog and asked the same question about Les Miles?

Krimson

 
At Mon Mar 31, 11:18:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Archie was not a pet of Buff's. He used to scream at him; he once ran after him at the end of a game in which Archie threw an interception. And some of his assistants were tyrants. John Toner comes to mind. Buff became pretty irascible toward the end of his career. The one guy he loved, with good reason, was Bill Campbell.

 
At Mon Mar 31, 11:30:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Krimson, I am the poster 3/28/08 at 5:32 PM. My comment wasn't, in my opinion, defensive. I called out the OP because his/her comment was negative and we do not need that unfounded and unexplained speculation on this blog. The comment was without context or explanation, was intended to be negative ("let go" i.e terminated). The term "troll" is someone who anonymously "sits under the bridge" and makes negative comments for controversial or hurtful reasons. I think in this case, the term fits based on the terms used.

I am well familiar with one of the CU players and frankly, I believe, having watched most of the games over the last couple of years, that CW is a good coach. He has the respect of his players and he is molding fine young men at a great institution.

I don't care too much about LSU. Different program and style. For those about to comment on my anonymous posting, I have tried for the last several minutes to have my blog name posted but have been unsuccessful.

-The Neckman.

 
At Tue Apr 01, 12:57:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Neckman,

"Troll" is also used by patent lawyers to describe "patent trolls", a subspecies of the human race who buy up phony patent claims and then threaten bogus patent infringement lawsuits in order to obtain extortionate settlements. al in all, it sounds like your use of "troll" was right on the money. I still think it was that lowlife foehi who polluted the blog.

 
At Tue Apr 01, 03:03:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If any detectives are bored this afternoon, there are two new players missing from the Columbia football roster. Both quit over the weekend.

 
At Tue Apr 01, 03:22:00 AM GMT+7, Blogger dabull said...

Yeah, but why do they delete their names from previous rosters? Those kids spent a lot of hard hours out there and were part of the team in those seasons. Seems kind of petty and personal to delete them like they never existed in the program.

 
At Tue Apr 01, 03:32:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

They quit, walked out on the program, why should their names be up there with the players that are still working away, day in and day out? NW is extremely loyal to his players, and it appears that he values that same loyalty in return. Perhaps with the relatively new coaching staff it's no longer acceptable for a recruited player to "give it a shot for a bit, and if it doesn't work out oh well." They want commitment, and most of all they want seniors, and lots of them.

 
At Tue Apr 01, 04:31:00 AM GMT+7, Blogger dabull said...

Does that mean Abeyta didn't toil hard and spend many hours as a player in 06 and 07? Sure,take him off this years roster if he quit but he still spent two years on this team and those rosters from previous seasons should tell who those kids were that spent those hours sacrificing for this team. They are a historical reference of Lion football.

 
At Tue Apr 01, 05:23:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

it is patently ridiculous to assume that Columbia would continue to post the names of players no longer on the team.

Whether they quit or were kicked off the team - they should not be listed. I'm sorry if some kids have left... but that is how it goes. I has been debated here ad nauseum the pressures that these kids must have - by parents, coaches, professors, peer pressure, etc. etc.

In any event, is sounds ridiculous to even consider keeping them on the roster. This also goes to what some coaches will say, "it is a privilege to represent the school" it is NOT a right.

As to the odds of N. Wilson leaving Columbia for any reason in the immediate future - I would say the odds are VERY high. I would not bet the farm on his leaving.

 
At Tue Apr 01, 06:27:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not sure that the last poster (Mar. 31, 3:23 PM) understood that we are talking about rosters of previous years ('06 and '07 in this case). It does seem heartless to remove the names of players from earlier squads because they elected not to play this season. There's an expectation of loyalty to the program, which is reasonable, and then there's a Draconian mindset, which is not. Just my view, but it's also possible that the players are made aware that their names would be expunged from Lion football history if they quit. By the way, anybody know who the other two players are?

 
At Tue Apr 01, 06:31:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Make that one other player.

 
At Tue Apr 01, 06:37:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I count 79 current total, which means just one player down, the aforementioned Abeyta (who was a pretty good FS, leaving us with just one, Mehrer).

 
At Tue Apr 01, 07:13:00 AM GMT+7, Blogger dabull said...

To the poster a 3:23, you're not hearing what I'm saying. Of course I do not expect them to be listed on the current roster, but if you go back to last year and to 06 you should still be able to see that Abeyta was still a part of the team. Do you not agree with that? He did those two years and worked his tail just like every other guy on the team. I also hear he was having lingering problems with a shoulder which may have played a big part in his quiting.

 
At Tue Apr 01, 07:17:00 AM GMT+7, Blogger dabull said...

By the way, also gone from the roster(and last years too), Conner Russomano WR.

 
At Tue Apr 01, 09:09:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is ridiculous to exclude those players from the rosters. The roster is an indication of who played for the team each year. It's definitely an insight to the football program that they would operate this way.

 
At Tue Apr 01, 09:17:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As an extension to the last post (same person), I know for a fact that every player excluded from the roster earned a spot on it in the first place. To remove them is to deny what they did for the program. Coaches harp on the fact that every role counts. Even if the player removed never stepped on the game field, they contributed to every bit of success the team had. Any coach, including the Columbia coaches, has in the past stressed this fact, and will continue to do so in the future. Yet apparently the Columbia coaching staff does not always back up its words with actions.

 
At Tue Apr 01, 09:39:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are assuming that the coaches or someone in the football office is consciously making the decision to drop the names off the previous rosters. Maybe the website software does that automatically. It could just be an artifact of poor website design.

Personally, I think that the rosters from previous years should be historically accurate regardless of a player's current status.

 
At Tue Apr 01, 09:50:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

May be the coaching staff should be given an explanation as to what happened, i.e. whether they made the decision to purge the names or whether a computer software automatically deleted the names.

Krimson

 
At Tue Apr 01, 09:50:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isn't it possible that the Athletic Department software has a default delete that simultaneously removes names from current and previous online rosters? With its innuendos and character assaults, this thread has fallen off the cliff ...

Leonlion

 
At Tue Apr 01, 09:51:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

correction:
the coaching staff should be given an opportunity to explain what happened . . .

 
At Tue Apr 01, 10:06:00 AM GMT+7, Blogger dabull said...

I know I'm beating a dead horse now but it's not the software. There are guys on the 06 roster that did not play in 07 and also one case is Masorti who was removed from the current roster but still pops up on old ones so the software is not kicking them out of the whole system.

 
At Tue Apr 01, 10:10:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Russommano did some very impressive work on the offensive scout team last year and was potentially the most athletic of a very solid class of receivers (stephens, gutierrez). Given his great speed and natural athleticism he would've definitely seen the field this year had he stuck with the program. He will definitely be missed.

 
At Tue Apr 01, 10:10:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Russommano did some very impressive work on the offensive scout team last year and was potentially the most athletic of a very solid class of receivers (stephens, gutierrez). Given his great speed and natural athleticism he would've definitely seen the field this year had he stuck with the program. He will definitely be missed.

 
At Tue Apr 01, 11:15:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Words immediately come to mind re historical purging of athletes who, for nothing more than the love of the game, contributed their best efforts to an entire season(s): Short-sighted? Reactive? Disrespectful? Meanspirited? Damage control?

If it was a system default, then wouldn't all graduating seniors be removed as well? Also, we noticed this is a "default" that was not in place in January when some of the 1st year athletes did not return. At that time, one could still view their names in the prior season roster. They have since been removed.

Just because a truth may not be pretty, doesn't make it any the less a truth. Sometimes it can be just a window into an area of concern that needs attention.

Dabull's comments, as well as others, are appreciated.

 
At Tue Apr 01, 02:32:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is an issue that deserves to be resolved. Bottom line, erasing players from past rosters just isn't in the Ivy League spirit. Is Wilson's pride his tragic flaw?
Stay tuned, this could get interesting.

 
At Tue Apr 01, 08:13:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am puzzled by these roster comments. Isn't the roster supposed to show who is currently on the squad? And I am equally puzzled by the comments about our not being able to count on Coach Wilson being around. It sounds to me as if we have had very little attrition If we are down to almost 80 players, and have around 30 coming in, we will have a roster of more than 100, which is pretty comparable to other Ivy programs.

 
At Wed Apr 02, 04:09:00 AM GMT+7, Blogger dabull said...

To the poster at 6:13, again, you are not listening to the discussion. NOT this years roster! We're talking about wiping guys from previous years that they have already completed as players, O.K.

 
At Wed Apr 02, 04:21:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is this the first time this has been noticed? For several years names have been expunged from the current roster AND the rosters from previous years immediately after a player leaves the team.It gives the appearance that the player never existed!

 
At Wed Apr 02, 04:22:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Present roster: 35 rising sophomores; 26 rising juniors; and 18 rising seniors, for a total of 79. Assuming minimal or no further attrition and an incoming class of 30+, we shoul dhave around 110 players, which is probalby the mena for the league. It is also probalby the largest roster we have had in years, if ever. Since some attrition is attributable to the fact that players who don't make the two-deep by their junior year tend to get discouraged, I think that these numbers are a tribute to Coach Wilson and his staff.

 

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