Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Collier's Story

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Collier Winters

A Winters Tale

Harvard’s Collier Winters has won the "Air It Out" competition at the Manning Passing Academy at Nicholls State University.

Winning that competition doesn’t mean that Winters is the greatest thing ever… or even the best passing QB in the Ivies.

But it sure makes you wonder why Crimson Head Coach Tim Murphy risked bruising Winters’ ego and confidence when he yanked his starting job away and put the spot up for grabs last offseason. It was all in favor of what I would call a disastrous experiment with QB Andrew Hatch who finally didn’t turn out to be much in the end.

Now Winters did injure himself just before training camp last year, and after getting a chance to compete for the job before that injury, Hatch won the job by default. But my questions is why did Murphy take such a gamble with such a great asset like Winters already on the team?

Hatch ended up playing in three games, got a concussion, and that was all for Mr. “Down the Hatch.”

Winters surprised everybody, except probably everybody at Harvard who knows that coaches in the Ivies routinely screw around with injury reports, and recovered from what was supposed to be a season-ending injury to get back on the field by midseason.

He finished the season with a 61% completion rate and at least put Harvard in a position to win the title against Penn.

Now Hatch is gone for good, Winters is presumably healthier, and the Crimson can go about trying to win a title again after a two-year hiatus from the top spot.

Or maybe the situation in Cambridge is still tender.

Maybe Winters will always wonder if his head coach is still itching to replace him with the latest shiny new toy that comes along?

In the end, Hatch wasn’t even good enough to challenge Winters for the job. He didn’t have the heart, and after two transfers in little over four years, he didn’t have the loyalty.

We keep hearing time and again about how “you can’t beat mighty Harvard in the recruiting battles.”


When even the best players at most positions never get a chance to play before junior year and even then they can be tossed for UNPROVEN and DISLOYAL non-talents like Andrew Hatch, you wonder why anyone goes there at all to play football.

(And as far as academics go, Harvard is great if you like being taught by bitter grad student T.A’s who know they will never get a real job even in academia. Four years at Columbia, I never had a course with a T.A. let alone had a class that was lectured by one).

The accepted truths in this league need to be radically re-examined.

Top 100 Moments of 2010

#68: Brackett-to-Williams for Six

Columbia started out the week four game against Lafayette showing off its crucial weaknesses right up the middle of its defense. It would be a signature weakness for 2010.

But on the ensuing possession, the Lions showcased what would be its signature strength of 2010: the talent and versatility of Sean Brackett.

Trailing 3-0, Columbia got off to a good start on its first possession of the game thanks to a 25 yard kickoff return by Ross Morand to its own 42.

Three plays later, Brackett rushed for 11 yards on a 3rd and seven to give the Lions their first 1st down at the Leopard 44.

Two plays later, he was rushing for another 1st down on a three yard run on third and 2 at the 36.

And two plays after that, Brackett connected on a beautiful play with Kurt Williams for a 28 yard TD pass play to give Columbia the lead.

Just as the Lions looked flat-footed up the middle on defense during the game’s opening drive, (and would again and again throughout the season), they also looked razor sharp and lethal when Brackett was running and gunning.

This trend would continue throughout this pivotal game and the season.


At Tue Jul 12, 08:27:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jake, On the 7/7/11 Blog there was a question about why Columbia football players were not issued coats for cold weather games. The opposing teams (Harvard and Brown) were wearing them. I was hoping that there would be some sort of explanation. Is it a philosophical reason, an oversight, lack of equipment or staff? I know the players weren't pleased about the condition leaving the special teams and backups pretty uncomfortable by the end of the game. I suspect many of us would really like to have some explanation and will we continue to see this is the future?

At Tue Jul 12, 09:12:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the warm weather coats are an issue we could raise the money in about three days by putting out a clarion call for all readers of Jake's blog to kick in $100 each for the cold weather gear. Jake, do you think that is feasible? As far as arvard goes, a shrink friend told me that he loves the place because it provides at least half of his patients: the people who were miserable because they went there and the people who are miserable because they wanted to go there and didn't get in. Let's be onest, people don't go to Havard because they think they will get a superior education. How canyou in a lecture hall with 1,300 other students (no kidding). They go there because they think it is the gold seal in terms of prestige. Give me a Columbia grad and I'll know that I have an educated person.

At Wed Jul 13, 01:54:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are so many assumptions you have made about Murphy and the Harvard Qb's. Seems like just some sensationalism but I understand it was just an opinion piece. Would be interesting to know the real story, if there even is one.

At Wed Jul 13, 04:52:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Regarding the quality of undergraduate education--who was listed as #1 by US News?

At Wed Jul 13, 05:55:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The real story is Winters is short for a QB. Take a look at that picture. Archie is 6'3, Eli 6'4 and Peyton 6'5. I'm betting Winters is more like 5'9 maybe a little above. Definitely not 5'11.

At Fri Jul 15, 05:21:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll give Murphy credit for the following. He gets much better results recruiting for football, which operates under a strict banding system, than the other Harvard coaches do working under the looser Academic Index guidelines.

It is tempting to assign all of Murphy's success to being able to leverage the Harvard name, but there are a lot of Crimson coaches who can't generate the same results.


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