Monday, April 19, 2010

Changing Places

We've had some news come out of spring practice about some position changes for a few of our players:

-Brian DeVeau is now working out with the wide receivers

-Malcom Carson is now on offense

-Kurt Williams goes from the secondary to wide receiver

I am willing to bet there are more changes, and perhaps we will see all the players in action in their new slots this Friday night.

Speaking of Friday, right now the weather forecast is looking good with temps in the low 50's around game time.

Getting back to position changes...

Over the last 15 years or so, a decent number of Columbia players have successfully switched positions from one season to the next.

What's interesting is that the most successful position switches have come from players who were already very good at their original position. To help the team, most of these guys made the change despite already establishing themselves elsewhere.

Here are some of the most notable position switches in recent years:

Kirby Mack

2000: Kirby Mack, Fullback to Linebacker

After transferring from the University of Virginia, Mack made 1st Team All Ivy as a fullback in 1998. The following year, Mack had knee surgery and was not at full strength.

Then for the 2000 season, Coach Ray Tellier switched Mack to linebacker and he had a super year. He finished with 56 tackles, nine for a loss, three sacks, and two interceptions.

Once again, Mack was named 1st Team All Ivy.

Steve Cargile

2003: Steve Cargile, Wide Receiver to Safety

Cargile was a very productive receiver for the Lions in his first two years with the varsity. He even had seven career TD receptions to his name.

But Columbia's all-time interceptions leader Phil Murray, graduated in 2002 and Coach Tellier wanted to make sure the secondary didn't suffer too much.

He switched the 6-1, 190 lbs. Cargile to free safety and it worked like a charm.

Cargile was a force in 2003, leading the team with 99 tackles while also grabbing two interceptions.

Cargile made 2nd Team All Ivy but more importantly, the position switch made him a legitimate NFL prospect. Cargile has been on the rosters of four or five pro teams since graduating in 2004.

Uche Osadebe (CREDIT: Columbia Athletics)

2006: Uche Osadebe, Defensive Tackle to Offensive Guard

There wasn't much to be happy about for the 2005 Lions. But Uche Osadebe was one bright spot as he earned Honorable Mention All Ivy honors.

Then new Head Coach Norries Wilson took over and he saw a serious code red situation on the offensive line needed to be addressed.

He brought Osadebe over to the offensive side of the ball, and while he did not make it back to All Ivy status, he provided some much needed strength for the unit.

Marcellus Wiley

1994: Marcellus Wiley, Tailback to Defensive End

Certainly the most successful position change at Columbia in the last 25 years was future NFL All Pro Marcellus Wiley's switch from offense to defense in the mid-1990's.

Much of the change was due to Wiley's body size; he just continued to grow and grow through his first two years at Columbia.

But Wiley still led the Lions in rushing his sophomore year, so the switch was not without risks.

But no risk, no reward. Wiley dominated at his new position, earning five sacks and making 1st Team All Ivy. After taking '95 off, Wiley came back for a senior season where he was once again 1st Team All Ivy and had 17 tackles for a loss, including 6.5 sacks.


At Tue Apr 20, 03:15:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It sounds like we have a lot of wide receivers. All three position changes are to WR. Stephens should be our lead receiver, but I thought that Muston looked good last year. With Kennedy we have TE who can run WR patterns; expect to see a lot of two TE patterns.


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