Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Slow Starters

Columbia needs to rev the engine sooner

Don’t forget that tonight is the first of two special shopping nights for Columbia athletics at Fairway Market.

Getting it Going

Something Columbia needs to do this coming season is find a way to get the offense warmed up a little sooner.

In ten games in 2010, the Lions scored a total of 17 points.

The second quarter wasn’t much better, with a total of 55 points scored in all of the ten second frames combined.

The third quarter was the best for Columbia last season, with 78 points scored, and the fourth quarter was also better overall with 72 points notched in the final stanza.

But the late-starting Lion offense cost the team dearly many times, especially in the losses to close losses to Yale and Fordham and the loss to Harvard which was closer than it appeared.

Points and game results don’t even tell the whole story. The stark difference in the way the Lion offense performed in the second half compared to the first half of most games was remarkable. Very often, Columbia went from a team that could move the ball to one that started to bulldoze through opposing defenses on drives that rarely even saw a third down challenge.

A lot of this is GOOD. You want a team that gets stronger down the stretch. And it proves that Columbia’s coaches DID make adjustments with their play calling, despite a lot of fans who say otherwise.

But you don’t want to start so far behind the 8-ball every time.

Also remember that a lot of the top skill players for the Lions last year were either underclassmen or very new at their positions.

Sean Brackett was a sophomore in 2010, as was Nick Gerst. Kurt Williams was playing WR for the first time at the collegiate level, despite being a junior. And veteran WR Mike Stephens was injured just about the entire season.

A little more experience, a little less injury, and this Lion offense is likely to show more consistency and overall punch in 2011.

But that’s just my take. Why do you think we were so punchless in the first half in 2010 and what can we do to fix it this fall?


At Wed May 25, 07:43:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Poor play calling. Predictable Run on first down for two yards and then you are facing second and long. Inscrutable pass patterns including long sideline passes for very short gains. An unwillingness to be bold. Handcuffs on Brackett. Keeping Gerst off the field. Failure of most of our WRs to get separation.

At Wed May 25, 07:36:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with the first poster. I also think the offensive coordinator for some reason is just unable to make adjustments quickly. Running the same set of plays over and over makes it real easy to defend against. If things aren’t working you need to start adjusting before the 2nd half. Too many tendencies. Too many high risk plays.

At Wed May 25, 08:20:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with the lst poster. With predictable first down runs of 2 yards, over and over again, we were in the hole already on 2nd down.

At Thu May 26, 05:27:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good evaluation, please send to coaches.

At Thu May 26, 05:43:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

could not agree more...offensive play calling needs alot of help...You have some great weapons in Gerst and Brackett...Let them do their thing....Gerst should have been on the field much more. Very strange watching him on the sideines when he was clearly one of the most explosive players in the IVY's we saw all year

At Thu May 26, 07:53:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No doubt it is hard to call plays when you have to make snap decisions in a flash, but the better OC can do this effectively. Otherwise, a less experienced coach will be forced to call the easier play that seems "safe", to at least keep the drive going.

At Thu May 26, 08:35:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gee, it's college football,and you can't be passing every play. Somewhere in the offensive line's development they will have to block the opposing line to open the holes. The coach has to show some committment to them. It's basic football. Secondly, you've got to give your defense a breather when you get them off the field. Running plays take more time off the clock. Pass for 3 downs and you'll have a gassed defense returning to defend. Thirdly, if you ask the offensive line to pass block all the time their heads will be spinning and dead by the fourth quarter. Run plays allow the offensive line to attack the defensive line and beat the defense down for later in the game. Lastly, when are the bloggers going to get it straight? Nick Gerst, an excellent player, was hurt for a large portion of the year.

At Fri May 27, 03:56:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

According the the Patriot composite schedule (, the Lions' game at Fordham will begin at 1:00 on Sept. 17.

At Fri May 27, 05:30:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nobody said anything about "passing every play," just the need for better play-calling. A predictable off-tackle run on the first down of the first series every time is not inspired play-calling. Hopefully somebody will get the message (finally) and things will improve.

True about Gerst, though, he was hurt.

At Fri May 27, 09:35:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

... there is nothing wrong with an off tackle play on 1st down if you have the "horses" to move people off the line ... with the personnel we have, what type of offense would you say we have ???

1) Power run offense
2) Option offense
3) West Coast offense
4) Passing offense

Unless there is some major sensation in the incoming freshman clas, the answer is #2.

We need to run the option well, and pass well enough to prevent the opposition from putting "8-in-the-box".

Last year, Penn played with 2 "spies" on Bracket. They covered our wideouts with man coverage. They assumed if they limited his running yardage that they could control the game .... he's good, but it's difficult if he gets double coverage .... someone else on the offense needs to step up to make them pay for double coverage on Brackett.

Frank F


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