Tuesday, October 21, 2008

What Will Buddy Do?

Put a piece of chalk in this man's hands and he's dangerous! (CREDIT: Dartmouth Sports)

It's only Monday, but Lion supporters don't have a minute to waste as we try to anticipate what Dartmouth Head Coach Buddy Teevens is concocting to help his Big Green get an edge over Columbia this Saturday.

You see, Buddy T. has never lost to Columbia in any of the eight times he's faced the Lions in his two tenures as head coach in Hanover. That alone would be disturbing enough, but the fact is that by my count, most of those wins were the direct result of Teevens excellent gameday coaching featuring some tricky strategy.

We saw it last year when Teevens pulled out a big play at the end of the first half. With the score tied, and time running down, Teevens called for quick snap and a deceptive running play to the outside of the Lions defense that resulted in a huge gain and set up a big TD. I remember seeing how confused the Lion team was in the seconds before the snap and saying on the air that maybe Columbia should call a time out, but Teevens trap was already set. The final score: Dartmouth 37 Columbia 28.

We saw "Teevens Trickery" several times in the 2006 game. After Columbia fumbled on their first play from scrimmage, the Big Green immediately got aggressive with a trick QB end around run by Mike Fritz that set up a first and goal. It was 7-0 Big Green just a few plays later.

The next bit of trickery ensued in the second quarter, when Teevens called for a fake field goal attempt that was successful and led to a TD a few plays later.

The final score in 2006 was 20-7 Dartmouth, takeaway those two scores, and maybe the Lions win. Incidentally, the Big Green were 0-5 coming into that game as well.

The game in 2005 didn't feature any super strategy that I can remember, but it was a very close game that went down to the final minutes in a 17-6 win for the Big Green. Close wins against similar or better competition make coaches look good no matter what.

In his first tenure, Teevens was almost the victim of bad coaching in 1987 when it appears he and his staff were a little surprised by Columbia's tenaciousness in a game Columbia only lost because of a FG attempt that went just wide at the buzzer.

In 1989, with the Lions leading 12-3 with about two minutes left, the Big Green got a big punt block that led to a TD and quickly got the ball back for the winning FG attempt for a 13-12 gut-wrenching loss at Wien Stadium.

1990 and 1991 were closer games than Teevens and company would have liked considering the Big Green were champions those seasons, but Teevens can't be blamed for close wins.

The point is, Teevens is a master. He may not seem as desperately angry or heated as Penn's Al Bagnoli is on the sidelines during Columbia games, but he clearly burns the midnight oil during Columbia game week diggiing into a special bag of tricks.

I expect the unexpected this Saturday. The Big Green is averaging just 57 yards rushing per game, so you'd expect lots of passing right? Maybe not. Maybe Teevens runs a bunch of draws and QB roll outs in hopes of catching the Lions off guard. Maybe he tricks Columbia with quick pitches or with wide receivers going in motion and coming back into the backfield. Maybe Teevens uses Harry Potters cloak of invisibility and... okay maybe that's going a bit too far.

But just in case, I'll be bringing an extra pair of binoculars and healthy dish of suspicion whenever the Big Green has the ball.

So should you.


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