Saturday, July 24, 2010

Road Tested

Nobody hit harder than George Atkinson

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the 1975 Oakland Raiders.

I know, I know, this is what guys like me do.

That Raiders team did not win the Super Bowl – the long-awaited championship for the Silver and Black came a year later – but it was a remarkable squad for a lot of reasons.

Because their Alameda County Stadium roommate A’s were in the baseball playoffs, the Raiders ended up playing their first FIVE games on the road. Oakland won three of those five games and finished the regular season 11-3 and 1st in the AFC East. After winning a squeaker at home over the Bengals in the divisional playoffs, they fell in a tough one to Pittsburgh at a very frozen Three Rivers Stadium.

The Raiders were always a tough team, but that ’75 team was really tough and mean. And I think that five game road trip to start the season made them meaner and rougher than ever.

Okay, what does this have to do with Columbia football?

It’s all about the schedule.

Because as a total contrast to the Raiders ’75 schedule, the Lions will begin their 2010 season with four straight home games. I love the convenience of that and really love the six home games in a 10-game season. But I am concerned that so many home games to start the season won’t help Columbia get that tougher edge it needs for later in the year.

When the Lions began the season with a four game home stand in 2006, Columbia looked pretty good by starting 3-1. But then the team fell into a four game losing streak that included three road games where the Lions offense scored a grand total of 17 points.

Columbia recovered in week 9 with a big win at home over Cornell before winning a thriller at Brown in the 2006 season finale.

But if you believe brutal schedules beget tougher teams, then there’s a “bright side” for Columbia in 2010.

All three of the games against the teams most pundits believe will be the top three in the Ivies – Penn, Harvard, and Brown – are on the road. That’s a very tough challenge no matter how many home games the Lions have overall.

Now all I want to know is if Lions Joey Andrada, Malcom Carson, and Christopher Thomas are Raiders fans.

Built to Last

There's tough on the football field, and then there's being really tough. Check out what Columbia football great and good friend Bob Kent '92 is up to these days. I would say Bob's services would be well worth the fees!


At Mon Jul 26, 04:27:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jake, I am puzzled that you add Brown to those teams liklely to be in the top three. Our finale against Brown showed me that we have the edge for the coming season. They lost two great defenders and two great receivers. As for Penn and Harvard, the road to a championship goes through Philly. I don't expect this Penn team to be as formidable as others do. We win in Philly and then we have the wind at our backs.

At Mon Jul 26, 06:35:00 AM GMT+7, Blogger dabull said...

Don't forget that Brown as of this moment has also lost two running backs, as they no longer appear on the roster. Lions two biggest questions are:1) Can the O-line be as good as last year, I think their most consistent unit on the team. 2) Can Brackett as a soph. be consistent enough to get us through close games. Also,if Brackett goes down, I think any hopes of a league title go down with him.

At Mon Jul 26, 10:02:00 AM GMT+7, Blogger DOC said...

Agree dabull that the O-line is the
most crucial unit and, in many ways,
the least predictable owing to new personnel playing new positions. Brackett's health is key.
If he went down who would be 2nd

At Mon Jul 26, 11:06:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Quarterback is the key position on any football team so Brackett is obviously the key to the Lion's success. However, the Lions do have several other talented quarterbacks returning who can do the job, if necessary. Also, with all the promising players we have coming in at the skilled positions, I wouldn't be surprised if one of them develops quickly into a star quarterback.

At Mon Jul 26, 07:35:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

With all due respect, and as much as I would love to see it, thinking that one of the incoming will quickly develop into a star QB is, IMHO, irrational exuberance.
Agree that O line and QB are key. I would add MLB. I can't think of a team that has done well at any level that did not have very good to great MLB play.

At Mon Jul 26, 08:28:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Dr. V. nailed it...O-line, QB, MLB are the big keys, and all three could be strong. No incoming players slated for QB other than Rapka, and he'll be a good one down the line, too many ahead of him right now.

At Mon Jul 26, 09:21:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What about Marquel Carter and Maurice Rothschild? They both played quarterback in high school and Carter was very highly rated. I know that Carter and Rothschild are currently listed as a DB and WR, respectively,on the current roster, but that could be for many reasons and would not necessarily preclude their playing quarterback.

At Mon Jul 26, 09:43:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jerry Bell is good enough to start and is an excellent passer.

At Mon Jul 26, 09:46:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Camp starts in 4 weeks. The excitement is killing me.

At Mon Jul 26, 10:15:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, Carter and Rothschild were both good QBs in high school, especially Carter, but should be even more effective for CU at DB and WR. Although as they move along, who knows? But certainly no chance for either at QB any time soon.

At Mon Jul 26, 10:56:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No disrespect intended to several of the previous comments, however, to argue for Brackett as the only hope for our Lions football team is insulting and ignorant. How about our very impressive receiver core with Mike Stephens, Nico Gutierrez and Mark Muston? These guys could make any QB look like an all star. The O-Line will be as good as it has been in years. Jeff Adams is looking to begin his second year as a starter and promises to see the next level as a football player. Ian Quirk is on track to be the most experienced player on the entire team, and nubies Kyle Stupi, Bob Hauschildt and semi experienced Daniel Cohen all show incredible potential and boast very impressive size. We return Nick Gerst, Zack Korouma (sp?), Nate Lenz, David Chao and a host of other talent running backs. At the quarterback position, I am not sure what the plan is to do with incoming freshmen, but Brackett has impressive depth behind him in rising junior Jerry Bell and rising senior Paul Havas. A commenter previously forshadowed the emergence of Kevin Lenehan as a contributing QB, so there are three young men ready to take the field.

Then look at the defense, Seyi Adebayo, Josh Martin, Josh Smith, OWen Fraser, Anthony J. Maddox, Ross Morand, Evan Miller, Matt Moretto, Alex Gross, Adam Mehrer, Daniel Meyers, Marc Holloway, Nick Mistretta, Craig Hamilton, Calvin Otis .. Have I said enough yet, the Lions defense is stacked with arguably the most athletic personnel in the entire Ivy League.

Ultimately, Brackett, is as important as every other one of the Lions that will contribute this year. If he goes down, the Lions will continue their march upwards in the ranks of Ivy League Football because, not only of their depth at QB, but their extremely impressive TEAM.

At Mon Jul 26, 11:03:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dabull raises some legitimate questions. I would like to raise another. Can the Lions offensive coaches use Brackett appropriately? My guess..Probably not. Let me quickly support my claim: Two years ago, Shane Kelly, a promising transfer from Temple University was the starting QB and Millicent Olawale was the number 2 man for the majority of the season. With four games left in the season, the Lions coaches turned the backs on their former starting QB. Kelly diminished into thin air and Millicent took the Ivy League by surprise as his running abilities overwhelmed many defenses. *Question for everyone, why was Millicent ever on the bench?

Last year: Millicent was the starting QB, or should I say RB. Millicent became a running back, taking unheard of amounts of hits for a QB. If the 240 pound Californian's body could not stand all the hits, how is it that the coaches expect the 180 pound Brackett to withstand the same contact?

Will the Lions coaches dispose of Brackett as they did with Kelly and unveil another super hero from the bench? Will they run Brackett to the end of his career, God forbid?

As much as I love and always will love the Lions, I do not see this year being a success if it is put on the shoulders of Brackett and his shifty legs.

At Mon Jul 26, 11:12:00 PM GMT+7, Blogger Jake said...

I think that's true about putting too much on Brackett's legs. But to be fair, Olawale and Brackett are very different kinds of runners. Olawale was, by design, running into the line like a fullback. While Brackett is more like Fran Tarkenton, scrambling away from the hits. I would like to see Brackett head for the sidelines more often, and I also worry about him getting injured, but I think he will definitely take a lot fewer hits than Olawale.

At Tue Jul 27, 12:23:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You guys are worrying too much about Brackett. We've never had so many good running backs and they will take care of most of the ground game. The previous poster who mentioned many players forgot about Leon Ivery, who may be our top runner this year. And when reviewing the wide receivers, he also overlooked Brian DeVeau, a very fast and talented sophomore who, based on the spring game, may be a starter. We appear to be loaded everywhere, just a matter of coaching and intangibles. I think the coaching will be fine, as last year's impressive finale vs. Brown indicated. The rest is up to the football gods. The main obstacle will be the strong competition.

At Tue Jul 27, 12:27:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

a good point jake. but look at the change in milli's running style from his junior year to senior year. milli was a pass first, run second qb in his junior year. his senior year, he did indeed become a fullback. i fear that the coaches may attempt to do the same with sean.

At Tue Jul 27, 02:50:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

article on Carter:

At Tue Jul 27, 03:33:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Keep it up, I love it!
I never knew that there was a "hot stove" league for football. Let's blame it on global warming 'cause it sure is as hot as Hades is NYC. Visit the lions on line store for new football tee shirts

At Tue Jul 27, 03:44:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

MA was a running back who line dup as a QB. He ran into people, not away from them. Brackett makes people miss and has more elusiveness than MA. My complaint about MA was that he should have been playing running back. Shane Kelly had a few good games but lacked field presence and vision. My least favorite coach, none other than the graceless Bags, actually called that one correctly when he -- with his usual charm -- gloated about how they had Kelly all figured out and that he could not stand in the pocket when it started to collapse. I hate to give the much despised Bags credit for anything, but unfortunately he may have been right. I guess you can tell that I HATE PENN AND HOPE THAT WE DO TO THEM ON THE ROAD THIS YEAR WHAT WE DID TO PRINCETON ON THE ROAD LAST YEAR! GO LIONS.

At Tue Jul 27, 11:10:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice article on Marquel Carter. He's an outstanding young man and Columbia Football Fans will be rooting for him.


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