Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Running with (a lot of) the Bulls

My halftime interview for the Princeton game was Greg Abbruzzese and his lovely wife Laurel. We talked about how Greg was one half of a great running tandem at Columbia, his partner being the speedy Solomon Johnson from 1988-92, (they both did 5th years because of injuries).

I thought Columbia’s running attack was very similar to the 1988 team that featured “Abba” and “Solo” in all their pre-injury glory.

But now I’m beginning to think the Lions look a lot more like the 1961 Columbia team that truly employed a running attack by committee.

And oh, it worked so well.

Tom Haggerty, Tom O’Connor, and Russ Warren were the pure runners while QB Tom Vasell ran well too.

Of course, we like to make comparisons to the ’61 team whenever we can because that was the Lions’ sole Ivy title.

But perhaps the better comparison to make is Sean Brackett with Archie Roberts.

Roberts was a ground breaking passer as everyone knows, but he was also a great runner who led the Lions in rushing for two of his three varsity seasons.

Current QB Brackett has one big thing in common with Roberts that set them both apart as passers and that’s completion percentage.

In Roberts’ day, completion percentages of 50% or higher were rare. But as a sophomore in 1962, Roberts blew the stats away by completing 60% of his passes. He upped that to 62% the following year.

Brackett is posting a shocking 70% completion rate and an ungodly 10 yards per attempt average. Roberts best year for YPA was his junior season of 1963, when he averaged 7.2 yards per pass.

Brackett’s high completion rate, high YPA, and super 7-1 TD to INT ratio make him the current FCS leader for pass efficiency.

But he can run too.

Brackett is currently the #5 rusher in the Ivies with 168 yards and 4.5 yards per carry. Archie never averaged more than 2.8 yards per carry, but he did run for eight TD’s in 1963.

This little look back in history is all about making the point that this Lion offense may be something of a fantasy team.

You see, Roberts didn’t join the varsity until 1962… one year after the championship team graduated stars like Warren and Haggerty.

But imagine if all those talented runners had been able to play with, even for just one season, a passer like Roberts?

The current Columbia team may be as close to that fantasy as we’ll ever get.

The Lions have a great running attack by committee with Nick Gerst, Leon Ivery, Zack Kourouma, Marcorus Garrett, and Nathan Lenz. And there’s also Brackett in the mix with his great running and passing abilities.

Three of the above-mentioned Columbia runners, Gerst, Brackett and Ivery are all on the top 10 rushers list in the Ivies right now. The longer they stay there, the longer the Lions will be a nightmare to defend and defeat.

Selective Highlights

Now THIS is a job worthy of the guys from Pravda. Check out this highlight reel from Princeton's athletic site of the game against Columbia last week. Something is, er, missing.

Another Option

There is another good option to getting to the Columbia home games from Queens and Long Island, (that includes both JFK and LaGuardia Airports).

Because my beloved Harlem River Drive has been overrun with spillover traffic from the GW Bridge weekend construction, I have been taking the Triboro/RFK Bridge to 125th Street in Manhattan and crossing over to the West Side Highway north to Dyckman Street. That’s not as long a trip as it sounds, and the only harrowing part of it is driving along 125th Street where all the jaywalkers and double parkers pose a challenge.

But there IS another way! You can take the Triboro/RFK Bridge to the Major Deegan Expressway (I-87 North) and get out at exit 10, 230th Street. From there, just drive down Broadway to 218th Street and the Baker Complex.

As always, tune in to 1010 WINS, or 880 WCBS for traffic reports. They update them every 10 minutes.


At Wed Oct 06, 09:39:00 AM GMT+7, Blogger DOC said...

Re: the Princeton football "highlight" were referring to... the final score?(smirk).

At Wed Oct 06, 06:46:00 PM GMT+7, Blogger HBShannon said...

Princeton highlights?
Да, Это хорошо

At Wed Oct 06, 07:58:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lafayette receivers are mostly small, fast guys. One of them, #12, Greg Stripe, hurt us last year with four catches. Our pass defense has been very good so far, holding some outstanding receivers (Caldwell, Moore, Peacock & Kerr) in check with relatively few breakdowns in coverage. I expect Lafayette to throw the ball at least 40 times against us as their running game has been relatively unproductive this season. We need to put some pressure on the Lafayette quarterback, O'Neill, so our db's can pickoff some passes.

At Wed Oct 06, 08:03:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

On paper, our running and passing games are much better than the Leopards, but that doesn't mean much if the referees call us for as many penalties as we incurred in the first half against Princeton. Our guys have to think touchdown everytime they get the ball. I'm expecting big games from Ivery, Gerst, Kouromna and Garrett. We are going to need plenty of scoring to hold off Lafayette and the refs.

At Wed Oct 06, 09:20:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have no idea where the Major Deegan expressway is or goes to in NYC, but it sure is a bad a$$ sounding stretch of road. Princeton highlight reel from Sat. that's a good one!

At Wed Oct 06, 10:34:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jake, Rory Wilfork was att the game last Saturday. He looks in great shape. How about interviewing him? PS, great line on "Kennedy's New Frontier".

At Thu Oct 07, 01:58:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't forget that's a PRINCETON highlight video. In a lickin' like that, we can't expect them to show the Lion highlights, and if they showed one they'd have to show them all. Sure, there was no score and that announcer, I thought, was kinda smarmy in an imitation-NFL sort of way. But let's ease up on the Tigers and humbly enjoy the great win. The more we gloat, the more we'll suffer in the end.

At Thu Oct 07, 04:06:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If Pr highlights means avoiding the score, any Lion player, it's a different definition of narrow casting.

At Thu Oct 07, 04:14:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cut Princeton some slack. This is not The Daily Princetonian, it's the website for the AD, and what do you expect them to do other than to find whatever silver lining they can. Meanwhile, let's start thinking about a Lafayette team which isn't going to lay down.

At Thu Oct 07, 05:15:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jake, Lafayette has posted its two deep. They are big and strong, with some talent at the skill positions. It will be important to start fast and let them know that it will be another Harvard game for them. They came close to beating Penn.

At Thu Oct 07, 06:11:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

On offense,Lafayette has some talented wide receivers who have hurt us in the past. Their quarterback, O'Neill, throws about 30-40 times a game, mostly short passes. They have had trouble establishing an effective running game, but did ok against Penn. On paper, the Lions look better than the Leopards at the skills positions, but that's only on paper. Columbia needs to establish its superiority on the field on the opening drives.

At Thu Oct 07, 06:34:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice article today in the Columbia Spectator about Nick Gerst.
They sure got it right. Columbia is a whole different football team when he is in the game. He makes everybody better.Looks to be a real humble kid and a team player

At Thu Oct 07, 07:42:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gerst is playing great, I think he's a real difference maker and I'm not sure why he didn't play more against Fordham. With the way our defense played, we easily could have won that game had our running attack been even slightly more effective. Time to rectify that mistake and give Gerst the rock 20 times per game, should really open up the passing lanes for Brackett et al.


Post a Comment

<< Home