Friday, October 24, 2008

Dartmouth-Columbia Keys to the Game

A triple threat versus Dartmouth tomorrow

Only four keys this week, because my portfolio is down 20% today.

But MOST IMPORTANTLY, everyone should be aware that my five-year-old daughter Jordan will be the official "Ball Kid" for the game and will be acknowledged on the field in the first quarter. This is sure to help the team win! Her little sister Yael and I are counting on it!

1) Score Some Points

Columbia's offense has been looking sloppy lately and 13 total points the last two weeks tells the story. Nothing good is going to happen until the Lions put some more points on the board. Jordan Davis' expected return to 100% health is a good omen. The Lions offense clearly started to sputter with his exit from the regular lineup.

Shane Kelly's execellent performances in the first three games are a memory now after two straight gloomier showings. Obviously, as the QB, he needs to get back on track for anything to really work for the Lions offense.

2) Own the Middle

A key matchup in tomorrow's game will feature two freshmen who have exceeded expectations and even conventional wisdom this season.

Columbia's outstanding nose tackle Owen Fraser will face off against Dartmouth's surprisingly good freshman center Austen Fletcher. I say surprising because freshmen almost never get any playing time on the OL, let alone start. And starting as a frosh as the center is even rarer.

Fletcher is good, and the Big Green is really happy with his development. How happy? I suggest signing up for Bruce Wood's Big Green Alert site to find out.

But I think Fraser has the advantage here. He and Fletcher are basically the same weight, and Fraser is definitely faster. On a wet day when you expect more running plays into the middle, I like Fraser's chances to make a big impact again.

On offense, Columbia's center Evan Sanford has been having a great season and he is matched up against a 5-10 freshman nose guard in Ryan Egeolu. This is a matchup Sanford should and must win.

I don't think heavy rain will mean a bunch of runs right up the middle all day. But the wet weather will mean the exchanges from center will be tricky for both teams. If Sanford can control the Lions snaps while Fraser pressures Dartmouth on theirs... Columbia can come out ahead.

3) Be Ready for Anything and Bounce Back from Setbacks

Dartmouth will pull out lots of tricks and some of them are bound to work. The Lions can't let that happen too often, but need to be ready for option passes, reverses, fake kicks and punts, etc. And when one of those things happens and results in a big gainer or a score, Columbia can't let it get to them. Come right back and answer.

4) Get Over the Mental Hump

Columbia has outplayed their opponents a few times already this season. Some of what's holding back this team has to be mental. The team has to believe it will win and act accordingly. When the Lions get a lead, they can't act like it's a miracle. And the team needs to grab the momemtum and keep it.


At Fri Oct 24, 11:07:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The most formidable obstacle vs. Dart is the mental one.


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