Monday, October 18, 2010

Brick Wall

Pennsylvania 27 Columbia 13

Why Penn Won

The Quakers controlled the line of scrimmage, gaining huge yardage on the ground while allowing very little in return. The running attack was so strong that Penn threw the ball just five times and still won by two scores.

Why Columbia Lost

The Lions just could not stop the Quaker run, or the Quaker pash rush at the most crucial moments in the game.

Key Turning Points

-Trailing 7-3 and in the early stages of somewhat promising drive, Sean Brackett was sacked and stripped, and Penn returned the fumble for a TD to make it 14-3 Quakers before the end of the first quarter.

-After scoring a third quarter TD to make it 20-10, Columbia seemed to kill any chance for real momentum with a personal foul penalty, giving Penn great field position on the ensuing possession. Penn scored a TD with the short field and the game was essentially over.

Columbia Positives

-Brackett stayed tough despite the furious Penn rush. He was sacked five times and did have that costly fumble, but he also went 18-33 for 240 yards, a big TD pass to Andrew Kennedy, and no INT's.

-Luke Eddy seems like the strong and consistent leg the Lions have always wanted. He nailed a 48-yard FG late in the game and hit his 16th straight PAT.

Columbia Negatives

-The rush defense was dead soft up the middle. No team can win when the opponent can just go right at you and get yards.

-The pass protection, especially against a great defense like Penn's, wasn't up to snuff.

Columbia MVP

I have to give this one to Brackett. The 18-year-old soph kept his poise and made sure the game didn't get ugly. Most senior QB's in this league would have started forcing things after that fumble. Even in a clear loss, Brackett shines brightly.

Psychology Session

As was the case after the depressing loss to Fordham in week one, the Lion faithful is a bit down right now.

But I think this game proved that Penn was a better team than most thought, rather than proving Columbia was a weaker one.

The Quaker "D" was amazing; as tough as the brick walls that surround Franklin Field. And it will be some time before the Lions face that kind of opposition again.

Credit the Penn coaching staff for not trying to be tricky and simply going with their strength above any head games. They are certainly the favorites to win the Ivy title now.


At Mon Oct 18, 07:29:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well put, Jake, Penn is a better team than they have shown earlier in the season. I guess that is why the predictors all predicted them first. Question: are they an overall bigger, heavier, taller set of football players than Columbia's, or just better athletes? Sheer size is often the most mundane reason schools like the Big Ten would walk over an Ivy League opponent.

At Mon Oct 18, 08:58:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Penn has an exceptional strength and conditioning coach, Jim Steel. His philosophy is quite simple, Get Strong. A stronger athlete is a better athlete. Take a good athlete, make him or her 20-30% stronger and you get an athlete that is faster, more explosive, and able to perform at a much higher level. Penn is the defending Ivy League football champion for many reasons; one of them is the exceptional physical strength of their players. Jim Steel is the man responsible for that advantage.

See Jim Steel's article, "The Truth" at

This article is a little bit of a rant about the current silly fads that have captured the strength and conditioning world of late but his basic point is dead on: use a barbell, lift heavy weights, work really hard and get strong. The stronger you are the better you will play.

At Mon Oct 18, 10:16:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jake, sad news for Lion Fans: The one and only Freddy "Sez" Schuman, a/k/a "Freddie the Fan," has passed away at the age of 85. Thru the years,Freddy attended many Columbia Football Games thru including the Lions' two big victories earlier this month over Princeton and Lafayette where he mingled with the Columbia Band and fans. Millions of people watched Freddy, with his frying pan at Major League Baseball Games, but down deep, I believe, Freddy was first, and foremost a Columbia Lion Fan.

At Mon Oct 18, 07:05:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The starting DL for Columbia is fast, but small this year and unfortunately that finally came back to bight us. Maybe they should rethink the keep weight off to be faster approach and concentrate on increasing strength. Unfortunately I was unable to attend, did the bigger NT Groth play at all? If not, why not? The extra bulk in the middle may have slowed things down. It worked last year.

Did Frasher play? If so, did he look like he was in game shape? His first year he was large and strong. 2 weeks ago he looked small and wasn't really effective. Just another example of less bulk for speed that may actually be hurting the effectiveness of the player.

At Mon Oct 18, 07:41:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that we need to get stronger. Our DL is small, as are our LBs. You can make up for size with exceptional strength. Our offense wasn't as bad as our defense. We were just outmuscled all day. Having said that, I question the defensive game plan. Our pass defense is good. why didn't we start putting 8 and 9 guys in the box?

At Mon Oct 18, 08:29:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to confess that I was pretty bummed by our lack of production on the defensive side of the ball. Our offense was not all that bad, and 13 points can sometimes be enough to win. But I am still astonished that we could not come up with a way to stop the Penn run game. We knew they were going to run and could n't come up with any answers. I know that we want to stay positive on Jake's blog, but was this a coaching isssue at least in part? In addition, where were th fundamentals, like fighting off blocks and making tackles? I've got to believe tha some of our great defenders of recent years like Lou Miller would have peformed better than what we saw on Saturday.

At Mon Oct 18, 09:11:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Regarding the defensive line questions and comments, (a) Chris Groth, among other things, sacked the Penn quarterback for a ten yard loss;(b) Owen Fraser and Brian Kipp did not play; (c) "Small" may be misnomer when describing the Columbia defensive line given that Groth weights 290, Stottler 255+, Popeck 240, Adebayo 260, Smith 250 and Martin 235. Murphy is only 205, but plays bigger; (d) Obviously, Columbia misses having a player of Fraser's caliber on the field; (e) Just as obviously, I assume that if the coaches had some more big talented guys who could play DL they would be on the field; and (f) Finally, like the Yankees, you can't win them all, so let's not panic, give credit to Penn and move on to preparing for Dartmouth.

At Mon Oct 18, 09:49:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is the status of Owen Fraser? Also, I seem to recall that Quirk didn't dress and that freshman had to play right guard.

At Mon Oct 18, 09:56:00 PM GMT+7, Blogger cathar said...

I generally do not like to criticize Columbi'a coaching, it's not my province to do so. But Saturday, as many times before during the Norries Wilson era, the offensive playcalling struck me as somewhat predictable and unimaginative. Whatever else you can say about a game Columbia team, the playcalling probably could have been better. And we did not need to keep running the ball into the middle of Penn's stout defense. (Also, Penn just seemed generally faster on defense.)

Still, not even Bagnoli is the perfect coach, as his calling a fake punt with 4th and 6 clearly proved. That was a decision guaranteed to fail, would have been chancy at best even on 4th and 1.

On to Dartmouth! (Against whom we will have to be wary. Has anyone else noticed that they have the same record as we do now?)

At Mon Oct 18, 10:27:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dartmouth will try to run the ball on us. But Dartmouth will also have a better passing game than Penn's. This game will be a good test to see what kind of a team we have. As far as the last poster's comments about our coaching, I think we tend to press with a running game when it isn't there. Brackett was being rushed all day; I imagine that the coaches wanted to take the pressure off of him. I would have had Brackett rolling out more. I also would have set up our passing game for max protection and taken more shots down the field, especially to Kennedy from the slot. But my biggest criticism was that we were not able to stop the Penn run game. I woul dhave dared them to beat us in the air by stacking the box.

At Mon Oct 18, 10:49:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks to all that answered my question about the DL. I really wanted to be there. I am surprised by the number of comments indicating we didn't load the box. If someone is running against you, that usually is a given. Shake it off boys, learn from the game and move on. As they say, take things one game at a time. I for one can't wait until this Saturday.

At Mon Oct 18, 11:37:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The poster above is correct. Ian Quirk did not play on Saturday due to injury. Quirk is in his third year as starter and is the only senior on Columbia's OL. He is a really strong player and has been having an exceptional year.

Xander Frantz, a sophomore, playing in his first game, took Quirk's place. He did a pretty good job considering the circumstances: first start, really big game, playing against a great defense.

Good Offensive Lines function as a unit. They need to communicate and make adjustments on the fly. Losing a player of Quirk's strength, talent, experience and knowledge was a really big blow. It is not totally surprising that, against Penn, CU was suddenly giving up multiple sacks and unable to move the ball on the ground. It is a shame that we didn't get to see how CU's true starting OL would have matched up with Penn's excellent defense. But that is football.

Quirk is great player whose contribution to the team has been largely unsung. His calm demeanor, experience and knowledge of the offense was surely missed by the two rookies play on either side of him.

He should be back soon.

At Mon Oct 18, 11:42:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The fuble recovered for a Penn touchdown was made by Drew Goldsmith. Drew is the stepson of fellow Lion, Rob Flaherty, '87.

If anyone is going to beat us I am glad it was Flash's son.

I'm hoping we win out while someone knocks off Penn and we tie for the Title!

This will be a huge homecoming

At Tue Oct 19, 12:09:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about that: Luke Eddy wins Ivy League Rookie of the Week!

At Tue Oct 19, 12:46:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eddy's kick would have been good from 55 yards. The kid's got skill!

At Tue Oct 19, 01:06:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Flawless execution by our offensive line, long snapper, holder and great kicker, Luke Eddy. Congratulations to all eleven players!

At Tue Oct 19, 01:25:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Since many here have bemoaned the number of spectators at our games, it's worth noting that there was a larger CU contingent at Penn than I've seen in many, many years.
If anyone gets a chance to watch some film of the game, I'd be obliged if you would share your impressions/analysis of what exactly was going on in the trenches and why we were getting beaten so badly.

At Tue Oct 19, 01:33:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's not forget that we also have a very young first year defensive coordinator. While I would have put 8 or 9 in the box, especially when Ragone was playing QB, I assume that our coaches thought our front seven was sufficiently stout to get the job done. Where I fault the coaches is in not making the game time adjustments. Now everybody will try to run against us, whihc is no secret since our run defense was porous in our big wins against Lafayette and Princeton. If we can get a healthy Fraser, that would be a big plus.

At Tue Oct 19, 01:39:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jake, given the amount of fan interest you are generating from this blog, I think it would be worth pursuing the creation of a weekly 15 minute webcast called something like "The Norries Wilson Show" where you --or someone else-- does a simple interview about past and upcoming games. All we get at the present time is a couple of 20 second snippets of Wilson saying a few post game comments. Lions fans deserve more. In your infinite wisdom, what are the possibilities? If other posters feel the same way, let Jake know so as to gauge the level of interest.

At Tue Oct 19, 01:42:00 AM GMT+7, Blogger Jake said...

Re: Norries Interviews...

I think they're working on it, but remember that Jerry Recco interviews the coach every week and that interview plays on the SideLion Pass in the pregame show before every Lion contest.

At Tue Oct 19, 01:48:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like Fraser is not really 100 percent, and it's not clear whether he will ever see real playing time this year--but this is not based on hard evidence other than what I am assuming is going on. Every time there is speculation that he will play, he never much does. Does anyone know more specifics other than hearsay?

At Tue Oct 19, 02:09:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re: Jim Steel, the Penn strength and conditioning coach. I don't think that Penn is that much bigger than us, except for their 240 pound horse of a fullback and their running backs. Their OL and DL is about our size, although their LBs are much bigger. But apparently they are very strong. So what is it about our strength and conditioning program which apparently doesn't measure up to Penn's?

At Tue Oct 19, 02:28:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

dailypenn posted some highlights:

At Tue Oct 19, 02:40:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

On Friday, Spec runs a podcast, or whatever it's called, by the KCR play-by-play announcer, Mouth that Roared, during which he plays highlights of the previous game and an interview with Wilson.

At Tue Oct 19, 03:13:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kipp was on the sidelines in his street pants, so I imagine he was hurt.

At Tue Oct 19, 03:57:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's start thinking about the Dartmouth tailback. They will probably expect us to come out with both safeties crowding the line of scrimmage. As I recall, he is a pretty good cutback runner, which means we need to saty at home and close off the cutback lanes.

At Tue Oct 19, 07:26:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was at the game, and noticed that we did not control the line of scrimmage - that is a fairly obvious observation, I know.

On the other hand, towards the end of the game, down by 2 TDs- it seemed we could move the ball, but I did not really notice any urgency in our playcalling, or hustle on the field. Could we not do some kind of hurry up offense? I also think we left a timeout on the table, shouldn't we have used them in the last 4-5 minutes to preserve some time?


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