Day 39: The Trendsetter
Lessons from Media Day
We've a few hours to decompress after the super-quick Ivy Football Media Day I think I can boil things down to a few headlines for Columbia and the rest of the league.
1) Millie's the man. Coach Wilson didn't say Olawale was absolutely, positively going to be the starter on 9/19, but he's the number one guy going into camp.
2) With Joe Stormont's departure the kicking game becomes a top, if not the top concern for the team going into 2009. We'll watch for news on that front out of training camp as much as possible, especially if Coach Wilson gives us the kind of daily updates we received last year and during spring practice.
3) We have the makings of a great defense with a lot of returning starters. As evidence of that, 5th year returnee Corey Cameron was not given the automatic nod over returning rising junior Matt Moretto who missed 2008 with an injury.
4) There's a lot of confidence in presumptive left tackle starter Jeff Adams to step up and do great things despite his sophomore standing.
5) This is a very experienced team. 26 returning seniors. There's reason to be optimistic about that.
For the Rest of the League:
1) Consensus is Harvard and Penn will duke it out for the title. The week 9 matchup at Harvard Stadium looms large already.
2) Just about the entire league is going to start new QB's this season. That makes things more wide open than usual and the standings may be surprising at season's end.
3) Cornell is getting a transfer tight end in Jack Campbell from Texas Tech, and that slid under the radar for most of us. Campbell is not particularly big at 6-foot-0 and 220 pounds, and it doesn't look like he played a down with the Tech varsity, but we will keep a close eye on his progress this season. He has transferred into the Agricultural Sciences School at Cornell, which is sure to raise the hackles of Big Red haters everywhere.
4) Yale Head Coach Tom Williams was surprisingly brief in his comments, something he would not have had the luxury of doing had this been the face-to-face event at the Yale Golf Club with all the local media around him.
I liked the teleconference for the most part, and I hope the weekly conferences they're setting up for the regular season provide some good content.
Sean Nichols '94
Sean Nichols deserves to be on the list as a defensive tackle and a defensive end, because he was a first team All Ivy honoree at both slots. And even though he was already graduated by the time the Lions reached their peak in 1994-96, Nichols was a trendsetter on a defensive line that eventually became one of the most feared in the league.
Nichols came to Columbia in 1992 after serving two years in the military. He graduated from the famed Chicago Vocational High, (alma mater of Dick Butkus, Keena Turner, and Chris Zorich), where he played linebacker.
At Columbia, Coach Ray Tellier immediately put him in the starting lineup at defensive end, and he exploded with 61 tackles, seven sacks, and 16 tackles for a loss. The Lions went 3-7 in that 1992 season, thanks to standout defensive performances by Nichols and Des Werthman '93. Both were 1st Team All Ivy.
Despite his success at pass rushing Tellier wanted to utilize Nichols' overall strength, so he moved him over to defensive tackle for 1993. '93 ended up being a disappointing 2-8 season for the Lions, but not because of Nichols. He ended the season with 43 tackles, 4.5 sacks and 13 tackles for a loss. Once again, he was voted 1st Team All Ivy.
Nichols was also voted the team's most valuable player for 1993.
He didn't get to the promised land, but Sean Nichols definitely helped take us to the border.
ONE MORE THING...
Check out the new splash page for the GoColumbiaLions.com Website. It now features a new photo of Austin Knowlin and some of his accolades.