Tuesday, June 07, 2011

First Prediction

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The Sporting News is out with its predictions for the 2011 Ivy League Football season, (and of course, the rest of the college football conferences),

It chooses Penn to win a third straight championship, and Columbia for 7th.

Here’s the entire prediction breakdown:

1. Penn
2. Harvard
3. Yale
4. Brown
5. Dartmouth
6. Princeton
7. Columbia
8. Cornell

The piece, written by Andy Jasner, who is apparently a correspondent for the Boston Globe, speaks of how Columbia will struggle this season because of the graduation of Andrew Kennedy.

Jasner predicts Penn’s Billy Ragone will win the Bushnell Cup as Ivy player of the year and incoming Yale frosh Max Fink as the newcomer of the year.

With Kennedy, Alex Gross, Calvin Otis, and Adam Mehrer graduating last month, you can bet Jasner won’t be alone in picking Columbia near the bottom of the pack. The fact that the Lions have the best overall QB in the league in Brackett and a stellar offensive line returning this fall won’t hold most weight with the prognosticators. I’d also say the pundits are unfairly discounting the chances for Columbia to show serious improvement along the defensive line.


At Tue Jun 07, 07:48:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Worthless drivel.

At Tue Jun 07, 09:48:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's depressing that CU gets so little respect, but there's absolutely nothing to do about it but prove the pundits wrong on the gridion. Go Lions!

At Tue Jun 07, 07:18:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We have to earn respect. Better play calling and a much bigger DL will be key. First team DL was fast at the spring game, but, much too small for teams like Penn. Hopefully they have learned from what happened when last year’s small starting DL (under 260 for the most part one 230-240 tackle) started playing the bigger OLs like Penn. On the Offensive side the writers see what we see. Poor ability to adjust and confusing play calling. If you can sit in the stands and know exactly what will happen next, then there is really big problem. They have the players (had them for several years), they just need to start using them properly.

At Tue Jun 07, 08:45:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's always going to be hard to break the vicious cycle until we win again. The losing streak in the 80's was a killer, and still sticks in people's minds. It is worth analyzing how Northwestern, which had an almost identical losing streak, turned things around and eventually went to he Rose Bowl in the 90's. Obviously Northwestern has scholarships, but presumably they have SOME integrity (as the only private school in the Big Ten) and they still had to compete with other Big Ten schools in their league to get good players.

At Tue Jun 07, 09:08:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The only reasonable prediction is that Brown, Columbia, Dartmouth, Harvard, Penn and Yale are likely to finish anywhere from first to sixth place. Cornell and Princeton are likely to finish seventh or eigth. The Ivy League is very well-balanced this year with any one of the top six teams finishing anywhere from first to sixth. After that, I agree that all predictions are worthless drivel. Keep in mind that Columbia doesn't have a home town newspaper following its athletic fortunes so it will always get the short end of the stick when it comes to predictions. Let's ignore them, Jake.

At Tue Jun 07, 10:01:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to say that if we do not have a winning record this season, it is time for a coaching change. We have the players to win and I think that a coach like Estes would have a better record with our players than we get out of them.

We thought last year's rankings were drivel but they turned out to be right

At Tue Jun 07, 10:39:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Peter Stevens '70 said...

For the Lions to finish in 1st division, the following needs to occur:

1-Implemenation of offensive sets/plays to protect Brackett from blitz and capitalize on Brackett's talents--more screens, draws, bootlegs, rolling pockets, sprint out passes,quick passes over middle and quality sideline passes (not the standard 2 to 3 yarders).

2-Throw short passes to Gerst whether out of back field or from slot. This will make our opponets think about going after Brackett play after play--which they will do. It will also put ball in hands of adangerous break away runner.

3-Run-wise, we need to get Gerst to outside more. We also have to stop running our slow developing run plays in short yardage situations. We should line up our RB behind the right side of line behind Admas and Hauschildt (and if we don't have a big blocking TE, line up another guard or takcle at the TE slot) on these plays and blast it in. Cut out the slow developing plays. Harken back to all the opprtunites we lost as a result of getting stuffed time and time again in these situations.

3-Make Stevens the 3rd down possession receiver and get the ball into his hands. He's a great clutch receiver. Make the defense work by lining Stevens up in differnet positions- Split end, slot,wing, etc. Get the ball to him as often as possible.

2-Defensivley, we better blitz and then blitz some more. Go back to last year's Dartmouth game, where we sat back in our vanilla 4-3 the whole game and permitted their QB to complete short passes over the hook zone the whole game. In my view, that was the difference in the game. The blitz will be even more important when we don't have a good pass rush working.

3-Kick Returns- Kick after kick, game after game, our returners were never in good position to return kicks. They played too shallow and were always back pedaling to field kicks. Mike Stevens was hurt when he had to go back for kick return (he was playing too shallow) and was hit trying to scramble from end zone. where was teh special tema coaching?

When all is said and done, it looks like we finally have the numbers and the talent to actually be competitive. Where we have fallen short is in the coaching game. And unless Norries steps up big time in this area, we'll end up near the bottom of the heap again.

So it all comes down to whether Norries can coach. He's failed so far. And in this regard, I have to go back to his decison to put Brackett in the Brown game after we were behind 28-0 late in 2Q. If Brackett were healthy enough to play, he should have started. If not, he shouldn't have been sent out there. And Wilson's decison to put him in after the outcome was prety much determined was dumb. Brackett was quite gimpy and couldn't run and he was at great risk for getting seriusly injured.

Oh yeah, I think Norries also lost the Fordham game by trying to make Brackett strictly a pocket passer in the 1st half--which didn't work. It was only in 2nd half when Brakett started to run that the offense started moving. But, alas, it was a bit too late.

And, as mentioned above, our failure toblitz cost us the Dartmouth game.

We'll never be bigger, faster, stronger or more talented than the top teams in the Ivy, but with good coaching we can compete with them. Unfortunately, thus far, Wilson hasn't shown he is up to this task. This year will tell.

Peter Stevens '70

At Wed Jun 08, 02:12:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pretty annoying year after year to be pegged so low.
As others have said, until we turn it around, we'll get no respect and be the Rodney Dangerfield's of Ivy football.

Read an interesting article about the Carlisle Indian School.


Apparently, their players were overmatched in terms of size, but used an array of "trick plays, flea flickers, endarounds, pass plays" to overwhelm their foes. Also of note, the school was short on students and facilities, but they won a lot of games. I know the game was different then, but you have to wonder...

Any chance we will do the same? have to wonder. I know, we don't have Pop Warner on the bench, but maybe some of Carlisle's tricks would work for us.

At Wed Jun 08, 03:56:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kudos to Peter Stevens '70 for a great piece of analysis. It is great to read something form somebody who actually knows something about the sport.

At Wed Jun 08, 03:58:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like the way our new class is being highlighted on the Columbia Athletics website. However, I'm surprised that the players' parents, siblings and head high school coach are not listed in the biographical profiles. That's a big recruiting error as you want to build allegiances with the family and the high school coaches of your players. Stanford University's athletics website which is one of the best around lists all of the players' parents, siblings and high school coaches. I hope this is changed quickly.

At Wed Jun 08, 06:10:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

.... I agree with Pete .... yes, we move the ball, but somehow you get the feeling that we are on the ragged edge ... we need to be more solid ... we need to ram the ball down teams throat on 3rd and short ... we need to be tough when when we are on defense on 3rd and short ... protect Brackett, he is special .... and play till the clock runs out ....

Frank F

At Wed Jun 08, 07:00:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jake, I am glad to see that Coach Brown has landed a coaching position. He is a good man and I am happy for him and his family.


At Wed Jun 08, 08:39:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Greg Abbruzzese said...

Bravo to Peter Stevens! Well put! We have the talent, but are constantly out-coached!

Watch out for Steve Grassa returning punts (and hopefully kick-offs). I saw him at the Spring game and was very impressed with his speed. Also, I like the running back David Chao who equally impressed me. He's a north and south runner who can take pressure off Brackett. I like him over Gerst...

Greg Abbruzzese CC '91

At Wed Jun 08, 10:00:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is extremely clear that it all comes down to coaching at this level--plain and simple. Year in and year out we have talented players, but they are not used to their fullest. I imagine it is very hard to lure a truly great coach to the Ivy League, as it has almost no national exsposure, yet there are some outstanding coaches out there. I would say Wilson is a good coach, but not a great one.
The most obvious example of how much a coach can do, is Pete Carrill of Princeton. He always had lesser players to work with, but always managed to do well in the NCAA tournament, against often future NBA players.

At Wed Jun 08, 09:58:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The notion that Carril had less talent than other schools is garbage. He had very talented players, some of whom had scholarship opportunities. System <> Coaching. Carril was a great coach because he was a great recruiter.

College sports are won in the living rooms of the nations's recruits. Was Lou Little a great coach when he had Rossides and Kusserow and a lousy coach when he didn't? Try selling that to your Logic and Rhetoric instructor.

At Sat Jun 11, 06:16:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Delaware tracks a stat that gets to the essence of football: knockdowns. According to the OC, in games where they record 20 or more they win. Less, they lose. That simple.

Coaching is always important, but it only goes so far in football. There's an important physical component to the game that only a player can deliver. Clever play calling is no substitute.

Get some physical guys on the field and the rest will take care of itself.


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