Thursday, July 03, 2008

More on Draft Daddy

Drew Quinn hopes to lead a rejuvenated Lion Defense

Again, for those who missed it, here's Draft Daddy's preseason All-Ivy football list:


QB Chris Pizzotti ~ Harvard
RB Mike McLeod ~ Yale
RB Luke Siwula ~ Cornell
WR Matt Luft ~ Harvard (Jr.)
WR Austin Knowlin ~ Columbia (Jr.)
TE Colin Cloherty ~ Brown
OL James Williams ~ Harvard (Jr.)
OL Darius Dale ~ Yale
OL Alex Rapp ~ Dartmouth
OL Stephen Morse ~ Yale
OL Ryan Pilconis ~ Harvard


DL Peter Ajayi ~ Harvard
DL Phillip Mitchell ~ Columbia
DL Jim Develin ~ Brown (Jr.)
DL Desmond Bryant ~ Harvard
LB Bobby Abare ~ Yale
LB Drew Quinn ~ Columbia
LB Jason Colabella ~ Penn
DB Andrew Berry ~ Harvard
DB Tyson Maugle ~ Penn
DB Tim Bax ~ Cornell
DB Steve Santoro ~ Yale

There are a number of Columbia players who could crack the REAL All-Ivy list at the end of the season, particularly at the linebacker and secondary positions.

2007 Ivy Rookie of the Year Alex Gross is one of them. I think even most strong Columbia fans will admit that Gross kind of came out of nowhere last season when he suddenly started to rack up huge tackle numbers in the final weeks of the year. Looking back, it really seems like Gross kept a lot of Columbia's late season games from getting out of hand. He was the team's leading tackler in four out of the last five games, apparently stepping into Tad Crawford's shoes as the last line of defense. Some of his numbers may have been the result of injuries to more veteran players, but four out of five weeks at the top of the tackling list is no fluke. If he gets bigger and stronger this offseason, look out!

Junior Andy Shalbrack is another player who could have a big 2008. He really could have been the Ivy Rookie of the Year in '06 and despite injuries he made an impact in a number of Lions games last season.

On offense, I expect one of Columbia's veteran offensive lineman to have a breakthrough season. It would be great if it could be more than one, but at this point I'd say it will be either senior Ralph DeBernardo or fellow senior Michael Brune.

Some of Columbia's other dark horses are sophomores Matt Moretto, Augie Williams, and Adam Mehrer. Senior Clark Koury also has a shot.

The Draft Daddy guys didn't make choices for punter and kicker, but senior Jon Rocholl has a great shot in both those slots. Rocholl's consistency as a punter is very impressive, but he has good and bad games as a placekicker. The good news is that there's always a chance he'll nail that 45+-yarder for a win.

Game of the Day (Day 79)

October 8, 2000

Columbia 47 Lafayette 22

For Columbia, the year 2000 was the year of Johnathan Reese. The junior tailback shredded the Lions single season and career rushing records that season, and most weeks he really was the Columbia offense.

But in week 4 at home against Lafayette, everyone got into the act in a 47-22 thrashing of the Leopards. Reese did rack up three TD's and 201 yards on 30 carries, but QB Jeff McCall had a couple of TD passes as well and the upfront blocking was better than I can ever remember it on a Lions team.

The game was close for a time. The Lions scored two TD's early to go up 12-0, (the first PAT was botched and the next 2-point conversion try failed), but Lafayette made it 12-10 late in the second quarter. But then McCall got hot. He led the Lions on a 51-yard drive, ending with a 15-yard TD pass to Jarel Cockburn. After that, the game was pretty much over.

One ugly moment came in the second half when a Lafayette player was pretty seriously injured. To this day, I don't know what happened to him or whether he recovered fully. I do remember the ambulance taking him off the field.

For the Lions, the 47 points scored was the most since the 50-0 whacking of Brown in the 1961 opener. Two weeks later, Columbia would score 49 against Dartmouth.

But that's a game for another day.


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