Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Hard Lessons

Watch and learn

I hope EVERYONE involved with Columbia football watched yesterday’s Eagles-Giants game very, very carefully.

If you did, I hope you watched how the Eagles offense did just about nothing all day until QB Michael Vick was allowed to start running more often and thus opening up the entire offense.

Columbia’s football season was a lot like that this past year. The offense often froze for long periods until QB Sean Brackett started running with the ball and forced defenses to spread out to guard against a serious new threat.

The difference between the Lions offensive effectiveness when Brackett was running and when he wasn’t was absolutely NIGHT AND DAY.

Are there risks? Of course. The Eagles lost Vick for a few games this season after he was roughly tackled on a running play.

But what would you rather have, risking injury or guaranteeing a loss?

I think we would all pick the former.

There’s one more important lesson to learn from that Giant game.

Punter Matt Dodge made a mental error punting a line drive at the end of the game when he was told to punt it out of bounds. But the snap was high and Dodge says he was worried the punt would be blocked so he just kicked it.

I say that’s hogwash.

Dodge and a lot of other Giants play the game with Coughlin in their heads. They worry more about getting chewed out by him than actually making a mistake.

Teams with that kind of stuff in their heads rarely win in pressure situations.

It makes sense that under those circumstances, the Giants Super Bowl winning year came in 2007 when no one really expected anything from them. Coughlin backed off a bit that year and the result was a Lombardi Trophy.

That’s a good lesson for coaches at all levels of football. By all means, scream your head off at players you think are dogging it or are defying you on purpose.

But in the Ivies, the fact that the players are showing up at all pretty much proves they’re not slackers. And I can’t imagine too many Ivy players are openly defying their coaches at any point in practice or a game.

I see some Ivy coaches yelling from time to time, but I think guys like Penn’s Al Bagnoli saves the yelling for the refs on game day.

Kraft’s league bears fruit… for Harvard!

Eight months ago, I first posted a piece about the semipro football league in Israel sponsored by Columbia alum Robert Kraft.

In that piece, I expressed the hope that if there was a good looking prospect in that league, Columbia would get first dibs on him.

Well, no dice.

Talented defensive lineman Niv Sultan, who played for one season in the Israeli league before returning to high school back on Long Island, has committed to… HARVARD!


But not all is lost. At least the Israel League-Ivy League channel is open and Columbia will be a very logical landing spot for some other talented players in that league because of our New York City location.

It’s a marathon, not a sprint.


At Tue Dec 21, 12:44:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Vick's best statistical season with the Falcons was in 2004, when he had a passer rating of 78.1. He rushed for 902 yards, and passed for 2,313 yards with a 7.2 yard average. He also threw for 14 TDs.

This year with the Eagles (and two games remaining) he has a passer rating of 103.6, with 2,755 total passing yards for an average of 8.4 yards per pass with 20 TDs. He has rushed for "just" 613 yards. His rushing average is also down from 7.5 when he was at Atlanta to 6.7 yards.

I believe Vick won just one playoff game during his 6 seasons at Atlanta.

Vick will be the League MVP this year because he has matured into a pocket passer who now goes through his progressions before running as the last option (most often but not always).

As good as Sean is, I think many have failed to appreciate his growth as a QB this season exactly because of his development as a passer.

Sean is a special talent and I applaud this coaching staff for the way they are developing him.

At Tue Dec 21, 02:25:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

With respect, I think you're wrong about the Giants' punter, That high snap caused him to reach for the ball, getting out of his normal kicking stance. And, with the second lost to stretch for the ball and the Eagle linemen eager to block the punt, he rushed the kick from the somewhat awkward position.

Brown grad DeOssie was the center, BTB, and seemed to have been decked as he tried to close in on the returner.

At Tue Dec 21, 08:22:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...


You list Coffinger below as a LB. I know he played multiple positions in h.s., including DE. Do you have any idea whether he's being projected as a LB?


At Tue Dec 21, 11:09:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not a smart idea to recruit high schol kids who have played on "semi-professional" or "amateur" football teams whether in the United States, Israel or anywhere else in the world. The NCAA rules on what constitutes "pay to play" are very unclear and differ from sport to sport and in football from division to division. Obviously, Sultan received some economic "benefits" from playing in the Israeli football league and if the NCAA investiages what benefits he actually received and determines that the benfits, even if it was just a car ride or lunch money were the equivalent of monetary payments then at any time in his college career the NCAA could declare Sultan to be ineligible for having received such payments.

At Wed Dec 22, 08:03:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Michael Vick is surrounded by a great running back and a talented group of wide receivers and an offensive coordinator that knows hows to utilize his talent. Football never changes...the teams that can run the ball win in the late season.If you watch Krafts Patriots they know how to use a running back in the passing game as well as the running game. Use the Gerst kid all over the field in both the passing game and the running game and watch things open up ala Danny Woodhead. When you have 2 studs like Brackett and Gerst big things can happen. And DONT TURN THE BALL OVER.


At Wed Dec 29, 12:46:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's an article on Vick's development. I hope Sean reads this type of stuff. I think his development could take the same path.



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