Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Front Three Thoughts

Check out this great piece today on the U.S. Marine Corps veterans graduating from Columbia this week.

It contains this very key line as we continue to fight for a halftime ceremony honoring our veteran students:

“More veterans attend Columbia than any other Ivy League college with over 300 enrolled in the 2010 – 2011 school year.”

In other words, Columbia is the place where more veterans have the opportunity to pursue an Ivy education than any other. Columbia deserves a lot of credit for that.

And so, the halftime ceremony we all want will be a tribute not just to the veterans but also to Alma Mater for being so welcoming to them.

And yes, the ceremony would remind people of this bigger picture as opposed to the ugly shouts of a concentrated few.

This entire week of Roar Lions Roar is brought to you by IvySport.

You can check out IvySport's Columbia products here.

If you or a loved one is a member of the incoming class of 2015, you may want to check this item out:


Ben Popeck (CREDIT: Columbia Athletics)

Best Three Feet Forward

If the reports are true and Columbia does employ a 3-4 defense this fall, who would be your starting three?

In my book, the most talented Lion defensive linemen on the roster are Owen Fraser, (if healthy), Joshua Martin and Chris Groth.

Seyi Adebayo and Ben Popeck are just a bit behind them… with Popeck having what I would call an unsung breakthrough season last year with 42 tackles and two fumble recoveries.

The speedy Will Patterson is officially a defensive end, but he plays more like a pass-rushing linebacker. I wonder if his official roster designation will ever change.

And the big wildcard in incoming transfer Wells Childress from Texas A&M.

If all seven of these players come back healthy and stay healthy, there’s a really good chance Columbia will have a strong defensive line after suffering last season without the injured Fraser and the graduated Lou Miller '10.

But even if new defensive coordinator Chris Woods doesn’t shuffle the defensive line as often as his predecessor Denauld Brown did, the Lions will probably also need good contributions from junior Shad Sommers, sophomore Nick Melka and the others.

But getting back to my top three, I have to believe that even if Fraser remains seriously injury-free, Popeck will still be a de facto starter and much of the Lions efforts to stop the run in 2011 rest on his shoulders.

Martin had a slightly more noticed breakthrough year in 2010, and he showed tremendous skills as a relentless pass rusher. Few Columbia fans will forget his performance in week two against Towson where he seemed to be living in the Tigers’ backfield.

Adebayo’s coronation as the most improved defensive player in spring practice is a tantalizing prospect given his obvious physical abilities. But he too seems to primarily be a pass rusher, and that just adds to the responsibilities for Popeck and Fraser against the run.

Of course, the linebacking corps will have something to say about that as well, and I’ll the names of my top four returning linebackers tomorrow.


At Tue May 17, 08:18:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jake, I am unsure of the basis for your evaluations. Is it your own personal observations of the best three technique and four technique DLs? In addition, unless we are playing against a hurry up offense, we will be rotating DLs situationally based upon down and distance. In other words, I would expect 7 or 8 guys to see action every week. I would like to put in a plug for Ben Popeck, who is a great favorite of the coaches because he works so hard (my source here is impeccable).

At Tue May 17, 10:15:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Obviously, Jake bases his evaluations on his own personal observations and the input of many persons like yourself. That's why it's so important that persons like yourself who are knowledgable about Columbia Football give such information to Jake on a regular basis. Frankly, there is not much information generally available for diehard Columbia Football Fans like you and certainly me, and if Jake were not writing this great positive Columbia Football Blog there would be almost nothing at all. We love you Jake!

At Tue May 17, 11:15:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe based on the spring game Ben Popeck is a DE now which I think is the better place for him. His size in the middle was an issue when we started playing the bigger teams (PENN). Outside would be a great avenue for his explosiveness especially with Fraser on the other end.

At the spring game the smaller 1st team DL struggled against our OL especially in the middle. I think that if we are to have success throughout the season we need to have the biggest guy they have in at NT unlike last year.

As far as Childress is concerned He is definitely is a wildcard. He was a DE walk on for A&M. I wouldn’t put much hope in him being a major contributor this year. In his case I would look more to the future.

At Tue May 17, 11:23:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't get me wrong; I love Jake and everything he does. My post earlier today was not intended to suggest anything to the contrary. And PS, I am very enthusiastic about next season. If we can stay healthy and stop the run, we will be a contender for the title. My personal candidate for the player most likely to emerge from a solid starter to an all Ivy candidate is unsung ILB Nick Mistretta.

At Tue May 17, 11:42:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I understand that Shad Somers is a strong candidate to play inside. He has pretty good size.


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