Thursday, August 05, 2010

5 Questions



I won’t get a chance to ask all these questions to all the coaches at the Ivy League football media day this coming Tuesday, but I’d love to have Columbia fans and fans from all the other Ancient Eight teams who read this blog give me their input on some of these burning queries:


1) It’s a tie game with 1:30 left and you have the ball, 3rd and 4 at your opponent’s 40-yard line. Who’s getting the ball?

2) If you could choose between more official practice/training camp time and three athletic scholarships per recruiting class, what would be your choice?

3) Your A.D. just came into your office and told you if you don’t win this Saturday, you’re out as head coach. What Ivy team this year do you LEAST want to be playing that Saturday to keep your job and what Ivy team do you MOST want to be playing?

4) Has the issue of dwindling attendance been a roadblock for you with recruiting players who are considering other conferences? What about the no playoff rule?

5) Why aren’t there any 1,000 yard rushers in this league anymore?


If I were the Columbia head coach, (and that’s just as likely as me becoming a brain surgeon), and I were answering these questions, here’s what I’d answer:


It’s a tie game with 1:30 left and you have the ball, 3rd and 4 at your opponent’s 40-yard line. Who’s getting the ball?

I’d love to see TE Andrew Kennedy become more of a 3rd down clutch target. Kennedy made a lot of big plays as a receiver last season, but very few if any were on third down. With QB Sean Brackett’s ability to scramble and buy time, I think Kennedy could be very valuable blocking for a few moments on the end and then breaking off for a short pass pattern. At the very least, it would be great to have the speedy Kennedy in synch with Brackett throughout the season.

Speaking of Kennedy, his local Connecticut newspaper just published this story about him, although it appears that the online version cutoff at least some of the story.


If you could choose between more official practice/training camp time and three athletic scholarships per recruiting class, what would be your choice?

For some teams, more practice time can be a bad thing. I feel like I’ve seen a lot more injuries from practice than from actual games. But I still would easily pick more training camp time over a small amount of additional financial help each year. The truth is, the Ivy schools all do a very good job of financially helping all the players as much as they legally can and the effort a lot of people in the admissions offices put into that is something we should be grateful for.

But how the coaches are able to get the returning players back into the groove and bring about 30 new freshmen into the fold in three weeks of training camp is beyond me.

I wish the league would allow some form of the NFL’s OTA’s during these long summer months to help keep everyone fresh and allow the most talented frosh to show their stuff as soon as possible.


Your A.D. just came into your office and told you if you don’t win this Saturday, you’re out as head coach. What Ivy team this year do you LEAST want to be playing that Saturday to keep your job and what Ivy team do you MOST want to be playing?

This would be a toss-up between Princeton and Cornell. Both are home games for Columbia this year and both teams look weak. But I’m leaning toward Princeton here.

As far as the team I’d LEAST like to have to beat to save my job, that would be Harvard this year. They may not end up as the champs but going up to Harvard Stadium and coming away a winner has been the tallest order for Columbia teams over the last 32 years, (just two wins there since 1978… including 1978).


Has the issue of dwindling attendance been a roadblock for you with recruiting players who are considering other conferences? What about the no playoff rule?

Obviously, I don’t recruit players. But if I would have to guess the attendance issue league-wide is probably a bigger problem than the playoffs question. Whenever prospective players come to visit on game days, the empty seats in the stands are a real elephant in the room. I don’t know if the parents care more about that the players, but I would worry about it a lot if I were a coach trying to get a kid to commit to an Ivy school over schools like Virginia or Duke that aren’t always that good but at least have raucous crowds.

Why aren’t there any 1,000 yard rushers in this league anymore?

I think finding that magic combination of a fast and big running back along with an effective offensive line all in the same season is becoming more elusive than ever in this league. Throw in the new fascination with running QB’s, (a trend I think Cornell re-ignited in the league when Cornell’s Ryan Kuhn ran for big yards in 2005).

There also seems to be a real push towards running the ball more by committee and getting away from the NFL-style strategy of giving a back the ball 30 times per game and letting him go.

Injuries are also playing a role and it does seem like more teams are dealing with more injuries than ever. Is it just that the explosion of electronic media is making this news more accessible, or are players actually getting hurt more often? I tend to think it’s a little bit of both but I suspect there has been a real increase in injuries especially to running backs in recent years.


A Movie Trailer Worth Watching

This isn’t about football, but check out the trailer for this movie I think you’ll like it.

11 Comments:

At Thu Aug 05, 06:36:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great set of questions. I think you can ask #1 and the attendance questions anyway. Also, while in preseason, maybe you could give us a little more background info on projected Columbia starters. I know we don't know who they are, but you could start with our good number of Phil Steele preseason All-Ivy first and second team players, then maybe go class by class, especially with guys we will see on the field, in key positions, who don't get much press.

 
At Thu Aug 05, 07:02:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, Andrew Hatch is officially on the Harvard roster...if you read the universitys bio on him...he really only played a JV year at Harvard in '05...he saw some real significant time at LSU...at
6'4" and 225...he should be a force in the ivy league..but...strange things happen in this league sometimes....

 
At Thu Aug 05, 07:58:00 PM GMT+7, Blogger HBShannon said...

Watch Lyle Marsh. I think he has the best shot at 1,000 behind that Penn O-Line.

 
At Thu Aug 05, 09:44:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting questions. Re Q#1, it all depends on how many time outs you have remaining and where you need to move the ball to kick a field goal. With two improving kickers returning and three promising freshman, there is reason to believe that Columbia will have a very good kicking this year. However, I assume that at the beginning of the season, the Lions will need to move the ball to the 15-20 yard line to make reasonably safe field goal attempt. Since the defense will be expecting us to pass on 3rd and 4, I would fake the pass and do a draw to Leon Ivery or Zack Kourouma. Another alternative would be to throw short outside to Nick Gerst. If that doesn't work on play #1, I would allow Sean Brackett to do his magic on play two either running outside or passing to Mike Stephens, Kurt Williams, Mark Muston or Brian DeVaun downfield. Later in the season, I would suspect Andrada, DiNovo, Grant and Rothschild to be in the mix.

 
At Thu Aug 05, 09:47:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is Hatch the oldest player in the Ivy League or just the most travelled?

 
At Fri Aug 06, 12:30:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The '05 season is five years ago! Let's throw a retirement party for Harvard's Hatch!!

 
At Fri Aug 06, 01:07:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wouldn't worry too much about Hatch. By the time we go there he probably will be hurt and sitting out. At LSU he had a monster OL in front of him and still managed to get injured. The other big question is can he run? More pocket passing than anything else at LSU. Much higher quality receivers at LSU also. Time will tell, but, I don’t think the coaches are going to just key on him.

As far as the questions are concerned, I only have 1 comment. The concept of 3 scholarships is silly. Who would those 3 players be? That would only create more friction within the teams. If they are going to do scholarships then they need to do it at the d1 level. Anything else will create more problems than it’s worth.

 
At Fri Aug 06, 02:57:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Three scholarships per team is the worst idea I have ever seen floated on this blog. Three Hessians per team? How about putting them in a cave somewhere on campus, enrolling them in GS, and feeding them raw meat?

 
At Fri Aug 06, 04:03:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jake, those are very imaginative and interesting questions. I'm hoping, perhaps against all hope, that the so-called "Ivy League Media" picks our beloved Lions to finish in the top three. If somehow that happens, and it should, then, hopefully, that would serve as a catalyst for a full-scale effort by all concerned to increase attendance dramatically. Of course, I would like that effort to be made regardless what happens on media day, because I strongly believe that this year's Columbia Football Team will be battling Harvard and Penn for the Ivy League Championship.

 
At Fri Aug 06, 05:39:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jake, I can't quite articulate why, but I think that Harvard will be a more challenging opponent for us than Penn. We always play Penn tough on the road. So beating Harvard will depend in my humble opinion upon first knocking off the hated Quakers. If we beat them on the road, we'll be sky high and capable of running the table.

 
At Mon Aug 09, 03:57:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jake,

This Gerst Kid must be in the middle of everything this year.A D1Back that needs to get the ball. He and Brackett can be a very dangerous option. You run a stetch play and the Gerst kid will run forever...

I not sure Columbia even knows what they have in this kid.

 

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