Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Time to Rebound

They are the champions! (CREDIT: Columbia Athletics)

I really like the comments many of you have been posting to my question about what kind of offense we should run in 2011.

Everyone had good ideas, by my favorite was posted earlier today by “Anonymous”:

“The QB takes a lot of hits running option. We can't afford to lose Brackett. It also leads to fumbles. We should expect teams to blitz heavily all year. We will need to run screens, draws and flare passes. We should also use rolling pockets and sprint outs to give Brackett time to evade blitz and throw/run. We also need to stop throwing long sideline passes for 2 or 3 yards. We should also try throwing short passes over middle--by short I mean the 5 to 7 yard variety and not 20 yarders down seam.”

I’m not saying I agree 100% with that comment, but it is a very good one and certainly should give option-lovers a little pause.

Either way, it’s this kind of reasoned discourse that this blog thrives on and I appreciate it.

Let's Rebound

Much congratulations to the Columbia Archery Recurve team for winning the national championship this weekend!

But no one can deny that this has been a rough year overall for Columbia team sports.

I’m not saying that in order to unleash the usual litany of Columbia complaints and self-attacks from our fans.

I do say it to remind the athletic department of its own words from what was a very financially successful fundraising effort launched several years ago.

Those words were: “Mediocrity is Not Acceptable,” and, “We Intend to Be Successful in Our Athletics Program.”

But in the past five years, there appears to be a secular decline in the number League titles Columbia has earned:

2006-07: 5

2007-08: 4

2008-09: 2

2009-20: 3

2010-11: 0

In other ways, the campaign has been successful. I strongly believe that we have better coaches overall, improved facilities, more generous financial aid packages, apparently more support for sports from the school’s administration, improved alumni giving, bigger athletic department budgets, a much improved public relations and marketing.

But the school’s true fans, of which there are a lot more than most anyone realizes, want more. We are not satisfied with the results on the field and it’s important not to settle for less.

So, while we publicly say we’re happy for all the structural changes Columbia has made to improve the department, we’re not forgetting about the won-lost records.

That’s what makes us real fans.

Yes, we’ll stay through thick and thin.

We will donate through thick and thin.

But the last couple of years have been a little more “thin” than “thick,” and that’s worrying.

Let’s get back to where we were in 2006-07 and soon!

Let’s do it fast.


At Tue May 24, 07:58:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congrats to the Archery team! Hopefully, Ivy Sport will now expand their t-shirt collection... Kidding Jake!

Wow! Those Athletic Department statistics are very telling... I'm sensing a renewal of all administrative contracts... We need big changes across the board if we want to contend for Ivy Championships (in any sport).


Greg Abbruzzese
CC '91

At Tue May 24, 08:56:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Regarding this "off" year in sports, it's quite telling that if you check out the Ivy League Sports website, there are no mentions of Columbia teams in the headlines of any of the stories, going back several weeks--it's as if CU doesn't exist! Something has to give...

At Tue May 24, 09:10:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congrats to the Archery Team! They deserve it!
Regarding the other sports, I'm afraid the CU athletics website is often guilty of dishing out its own "propaganda" and therefore it is necessary to check out the Ivy league Sports website every once in a while to get a dose of reality. Very often The CU website says that a given CU team had a "strong performance" at a given contest-- but then when you check out the actual results, CU came in second to last --or dead last. I realize that there is a desire to boost morale, and acknowledge "effort" but let's not fool ourselves; CU fans are expecting more than a "good showing" . We should be long past that mentality by now, and coaches must be accountable.

At Tue May 24, 09:24:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is quite sobering that Princeton won 15 Ivy League titles this year....

At Tue May 24, 07:09:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Greg -

You arent paying attention. Columbia won more individual Ivy titles this year than ever before. Look closely at the women's track and field team's results.

A freshman won the individual women's golf title. Adam Clayton Powell V was an all-american swimmer. Runner Sharay Hale is a leading contender in the 400meters at the NCAA championships. There are many others.

Wasn't TE Andrew Kennedy named to five All-America teams? Something must be going right...

These kids and their coaches deserve more respect than some people are giving them.

At Tue May 24, 07:56:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great to hear that CU Sports did so well this year! GO LIONS

At Tue May 24, 11:34:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jake, You wrote there appears to be "a secular decline" in CU team titles. Did you mean "spectacular
Also, I disagree with the fan who wrote about individual titles and records. That's nice, especially for those individuals, and a consolation for us. But school achievement is almost entirely about about team success. And nothing will change until football and basketball win league titles.

At Wed May 25, 02:38:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is particularly irksome is that Columbia never turns things around significantly.... Princeton basketball, for example, was 6-23 in 2008-9--and in 2010-11 they shared the title! It only took a couple of years to do this. Why can't CU do that?

At Wed May 25, 03:42:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Our new basketball coaching staff really stepped up their recruiting in the last two months bringing in some very good talent, specifically Darius Stevens from Indiana and Samer Ozeir from Novi, Michigan. I also like the Lions new 6'10" big man from San Diego. Altogether, the Lions have five much needed big men in their incoming class. Only two or three players are returning up front so if Coach Smith and his staff had not successfully recruited these players, the Lions would probably have gone nowhere in the 2011-2012 season. Now, with a very good returning backcourt led by Agho and Barbour, this team appears to be capable of competing for the Ivy League Championship.

At Wed May 25, 04:37:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous, the problem is that I AM paying attention! Yes, these individual accolades are indeed impressive (and commendable). They are all mentioned in the flyers that are sent out by the AD (which are great by the way). However, it is kind of like saying that we had 5 First Team All-Ivy, 1Second Team All-Ivy, and 2 Honorable Mention All-Ivy football players (8 in total)… On one hand, these are GREAT individual accomplishments; but on the other hand, they only won 4 games! With all of that talent on the team and only 4 wins to show for it? And I don’t get it? Seriously? Where is the accountability? What is the plan? All we get are empty promises and rhetoric. The lack of Ivy titles and wins (specifically in football), is a problem. That is not a subjective opinion, it’s a fact. How long must we be mired in mediocrity? I used to be able to hang my hat on the fencing team… now my school pride rides on the laurels of our longbow threat. Either that or our Rugby team (who might fare well against our Lions…)

Greg A.

At Wed May 25, 07:10:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If we give CU the benefit of the doubt, and determine that this year was "unlucky", then I think fans owe to ourselves to put the Sports Dept. on notice for next year, and see if we can improve on the number of titles, so that we can at least bag four or five. Let's get real. The coaches, with all due respect, are always going to put a silver lining on a losing season, because they are getting PAID. They are simply not an objective opinion. If there was ever a conflict of interest in accountability, then this is an obvious instance. So, in summary, besides this blog and the CU Spectator, there are really no other outlets that I know of that are going to give us the REAL story. The CU alumni magazines and the CU athletics website are simply far too biased. I am not trying to be a downer here ( no one wishes for a successful 2012 more than me) but I think it's time to climb out from under the rock of DENIAL. Not that long ago, CU was ribbed for being a powerhouse for only soccer (an NCAA Finalist in the 1980s!) and fencing; but boy!-- what I would give to have at least that under our belt these days,

At Wed May 25, 07:14:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know that the head of the CU Trustees Bill Campbell is a big sports guy, so I can only imagine how he feels about the lack of titles. Nobody wants things to turn around more than him. But one has to ask, what sort of ACTION is he contemplating, and what influence does he have? I am sure his new sports center will be a help in recruiting, but is CU looking at its coaches to see if they are as good as they can be?

At Wed May 25, 09:05:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

.... during preseason practice this past year, I visited Baker with a teammate of mine (Jim Wascura) .... we spoke to the team ... the thing I told them is that each of them had, at best, 40 games, and that was it for most of them .... I told them they have to be able to finish close games ... Jake is right too, but I look at it slightly different .... starting better would help, but allowing the other tem to get way ahead (ala Yale & Harvard) really hurts ... 4-6 that could have been 7-3 ... the offense needs to be a little better, and the defense needs to be solid and stop the run ... our total offense yardage for 2010 was roughly the same total yardage the defense gave up .... 10% better on offense, and 10% better on defense would translate to a much improved season .. STOP THE RUN !!!

Frank F '70C

At Wed May 25, 09:49:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Greg, I saw you play. Why don't you get out there on the sidelines, maybe be an assistant, so you can see what's really holding us back and hopefully do something about it.

At Wed May 25, 02:34:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My view is that individual awards are for golf or tennis but not for integral team sports like FB or BB or Soccer. Unless the team wins noone really should celebrate.


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