Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Blockbuster Blockers

Jeff Adams is the best tackle in the Ivies (CREDIT: Columbia Athletics)

Movie Magic!

The director of 8: Ivy League Football and America, Erik Greenberg Anjou, has an excellent new film out titled, Klezmatics: On Holy Ground.

This movie has nothing to do with football, but Erik is a master craftsman and a good friend.

You can check the Klezmatics link above for info on screening locations and dates. The next one is this Thursday at Rutgers.

Where is Spiro?

A few alert Ivy fans on the Internet have noticed that Brown’s #2 rusher from 2009, Spiro Theodosi, no longer appears on the Brown roster.

Theodosi was a big part of the Brown camp’s argument that the team will be able to overcome the major graduation losses in its wide receiver corps with a multi-faceted running attack in 2010.

Theodosi was the #7 rusher in the Ivies last year with 423 yards gained and a hefty 5.2 yards per carry average.

This would be a big loss in Providence if Theodosi doesn’t somehow get back on the team.

Best Veteran Offensive Lines

I’m not a lawyer, but I am still familiar with the concept of summary judgment.

And without having to go through a ton of testimony and evidence, I think I could make a quick argument for a summary judgment that Penn has the best returning O-line in the Ivies this season.

The quick bullet points go like this:

-Penn returns four of five OL starters, one of whom is a 1st Team All Ivy, another is 2nd Team All Ivy, a third is Honorable Mention All Ivy. The TE was also Honorable Mention All Ivy.

-This returning core group allowed the fewest sacks of any Ivy team in 2009, all while helping the Quakers grind out the third most rushing yards in the league.

-Penn led the league in 3rd down and 4th down conversions. Those are key measures of the value of an offensive line.

-Penn had the fewest penalties in the Ivies last year by far; a key sign that this is a very disciplined offensive line.

The big names are Joe D’Orazio, the unanimous 1st Team All Ivy Center, Guard Luis Ruffolo was the the 2nd Teamer, and Greg Van Roten who made Honorable Mention as just a sophomore last year.

So who comes in second in this category after Penn?

It could be Dartmouth. The Big Green also boasts four of five returning starters on the O-line. But the best one from last year, Alexander Toth, is the one starter who graduated.

There was a definite positive trend on the offensive line as the 2009 season went on for the Big Green, but Dartmouth still has a lot to improve on here as it gained just 1,078 yards rushing as a team despite two individual record-breaking single game rushing performances.

The good news is both those performances came in the second half of the season, (thus the positive trend), and Dartmouth did pretty well in sacks allowed, (middle of the league), and came in 3rd place in the Ivies in 3rd down conversions.

Columbia loses three of its five starting O-linemen from 2009, but the positives still outweigh the negatives by far. The Lions have the best returning tackle in 1st Team All Ivy Jeff Adams, an underrated vetran guard in Ian Quirk, and a good blocking/better receiving tight end in Andrew Kennedy. I’m high on rising potential starter Dan Cohen at tackle, very high on center Bob Hauschildt, and as positive as I can be about O-line coach Ed Argast and the entire unit’s development and pipeline.

As I’ve warned before, the pundits will focus way too much on the three lost players to graduation on the Lion line. They will essentially trash this unit for 2010 and list it as a "big question" for the upcoming season. Seriously, mark my words. It's going to happen.

But that assessment will be a mistake. Columbia’s offensive line will be very strong again in 2010, and in some ways it might be stronger than last year.

The rest of the league doesn’t look so good in this category.

I’m sure Harvard will be strong by year’s end, even though four of last year’s five starters are gone. Strong blocking TE Nicolai Schwarzkopf is back for 2010 and he will be a major help. Still, it's going to take some time for the new Crimson unit to gel and we don't get that kind of practice time in this league.

Cornell has three starters returning, and the Big Red O-line wasn’t all that bad considering the team really finished 2009 as the worst squad in the Ivies. This could be the dark horse in the running.

Yale also has three returning starters, but this O-line was so sub-par in 2009, (worst in rushing yards, and the most sacks allowed), that it’s hard to believe there won’t be some real shakeups in New Haven. Either way, the Elis won’t boast the best unit this season and maybe not for a few more years to come.

Princeton’s O-line is quite simply… a mess. Multiple sources tell me two veteran linemen have quit this summer and this is a team with only one returning starter on the offensive line anyway. Tiger fans can dream things will work out as they did in 2006, when Princeton won the title despite starting five completely new players on the offensive line. But that seems like praying that lighting will strike twice.

So here’s how I rank the returning O-lines:

1. Penn
2. Columbia
3. Dartmouth


At Wed Jul 14, 09:29:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just looked at the new Columbia Football Website. One word summarizes it: GREAT!!!

At Wed Jul 14, 06:38:00 PM GMT+7, Blogger HBShannon said...

Perhaps you were thinking you were sparing us from an assessment on Brown's offensive line prospects since we lost so much All-Ivy caliber talent but Brown may not be in as bad shape as perceived.

Yes, losing 3-time All-Ivy Paul Jasinowski, All-Ivy 2nd teamer and 3-year starting tackle Tim Danser and All-Ivy and 3-year starting center Mark Callahan is a blow. However, returning starters Patrick Conroy and Brian Ellixson and tight end Alex Prestley will provide some solid stability to the line.

At Thu Jul 15, 10:20:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Coming out of spring ball, the first team OL was:

Adams (LT)
Hauschildt (LG)
Stupi (C)
Quirk (RG)
Cohen (RT)

Quirk didn't play in the spring game due to a short term injury. The others played as the first team unit in the positions listed above.

Quirk and Adams are the anchors. The three newbies played reasonably well and will surely improve as they get more first team reps and game experience. This lineup might change, but baring injury or a surprise step up by another player, probably not.


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