Sunday, September 25, 2011

Gone to the Dogs

Like the new Campbell Center, Columbia's season is still under construction

Albany 44 Columbia 21

Why Albany Won

The Great Danes found Columbia's weaknesses early and exploited them. Albany's screen pass heavy offense burned the Lions time after time. Meanwhile the defense won the battle at the line of scrimmage even when it was not in blitz mode.

Why Columbia Lost

The Lions turned the ball over four times, couldn't get a consistent running game going, and missed tackle after tackle on defense. And for the second straight week, Columbia did not get the performance it needed from QB Sean Brackett.

Key Turning Points

-With the score tied 7-7 late in the first quarter, Albany began a long march down the field aided mainly by tremendous play out of the wildcat formation by Drew Smith. Columbia failed to tackle him properly and then it got contagious. Omar Osbourne finished the drive blowing through tackles on 17 yard TD run.

-Now trailing 14-7, Columbia tried a fake punt on a 4th and 4 from their own 47. But a bad snap killed the gambit and Albany took over on downs. Four plays later, it was 21-7.

-Trailing 24-14 in the third, the Lions were on a promising drive when on 3rd and 10 from his own 45, Brackett threw a bad interception to the Albany 41. Four plays later it was 31-14.

Columbia Positives

-Not many. But the electric energy RB Nick Gerst did inject into the Lions when he did get into the game was encouraging. Gerst finished with 56 yards on nine carries with a TD. If he can get 100% healthy for the Princeton game, there's hope.

-Freshman Connor Nelligan's heads up play to scoop up Albany's bonehead fumbled INT and take it in for a TD was just a miraculous moment. I'm sure most of us have never seen a Hail Mary turn out like that!

Columbia Negatives

-Without Gerst, the running game was still inept. All the other ball carriers combined rushed the ball 31 times for a grand total of 62 yards.

-After stuffing the rush last week at Fordham, the Lions had no answers today. Albany gained 216 yards on the ground and averaged almost six yards a carry.

-Sean Brackett was still a bit out of sync. He did completed fewer than 50% of his passes, fumbled the ball away twice and had two interceptions.

-Already trailing 44-14, the coaches still left #1 WR Mike Stephens in the game to return kickoffs. Sure enough, he came up limping after his last kick return.

Columbia MVP

Despite limited duty, I have to give this one to Nick Gerst.


At Sun Sep 25, 09:30:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Kraft- Please offer Coach Wilson an assistant, or an assistant to an assistant coaching position with the Paitiots. Your gain would be OUR gain!

At Sun Sep 25, 10:10:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's not lose faith! Almost all of the Ivies are doing lousy. We certainly have the ability to defeat Princeton and everyone else in the Ivy League. On offense,it's juist a matter of getting some more playmakers on the field so the defense can't key entirely on Brackett. Nelligan and Fisher are playmakers and they need to be used more. Also, the offense needs to spiced up Albany style with a few wildcats, some halfback options, etc. Throw the ball more to the tight ends. Get Garrett on the outside asap. On defense, the DC will make the necessary adjustments this week. We do have the talent on defense.

At Sun Sep 25, 10:45:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

we're playing poorly, there can be no debate about that. Fact is, don't see the other ivies killing it either. Penn is 0-2. Dartmouth lost to weak SH and Princeton got drubbed by ho hum Bucknelll team.

Clearly a win next week is vital because it will tell us where we really stand in the Ivy League. Lose to a weak Princeton squad and then we're a 1-9 or 2-8 team this year. Beat them and 5-5 is possible. But any delusions of this year being the Championship year are, well, delusional.

At Sun Sep 25, 11:32:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Keeping Stephens in so late was unpardonable. I thought Brackett should have been pulled earlier than he was, his competitiveness notwithstanding. Losing either for Princeton would have been a serious setback.

At Sun Sep 25, 11:34:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Definitely a big lift with Gerst back...Gave the team life..Showed great speed. He needs to get at least 15-20 touches a game running and catching the ball. KEEP HIM HEALTHY.What are these coaches thinking watching Garret limp around the field down by 25 points...That was absolutely absurd.

That has to be the most one demensional predictable offense I have ever seen...Our line play on both sides of the ball was a complete failure..
Lets hope playing Princeton brings life back into this team..

At Sun Sep 25, 02:09:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow! The only positive thought I have is we play Princeton next game so if we should win, it'll be a lague victory. Big IF, though. All I know is what I read by Jake, the thin story on CU website and the wire report. None sounded good. Not least of all is leaving Stephens in to return kicks with score 44-14. He's perhaps our best offensive player so far and missed all of last year with injury. And we have a promising young returner, Fisher, who returned 33 yards on his only chance. It's inattention to simple things like this that highlights the overall failure even more.

At Sun Sep 25, 06:08:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

With Mike Stephens still in to return a kick late in the game and come up limping, does anyone else wonder why more players weren't used late in the game? I watched Oklahoma,LSU, and others yesterday substitute liberally late in the game. Whether for safety to starters or a reward for hard work in practice, why do we not do this? I hope Mike did not postpone graduation for a 2nd straight injured year.

At Sun Sep 25, 06:20:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It appears the Ivy League may not have teams of the caliber in previous years. When was the last time Penn was 0-2? The league is 4 and 8 so far in non-conference games. In week 2, the only 2 wins were in league games. Out of league beating Georgetown, Colgate and Bucknell doesn't give me hope that the league will have any quality wins.

At Sun Sep 25, 06:33:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who cares what other Ivies did this week, or what their records are. Again, typical Columbia excuses! Focus on our own team! Agree that Kraft should offer Norries a spot and save us the aggrivation.

Also, give Choi the ball. Only N/S runner on the team who doesn't fumble!

At Sun Sep 25, 06:38:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Coaches who are aware of the "little" things have a sound structure to their understanding of the game. As soon as it turned 44-14, Brackett should have been replaced.

At Sun Sep 25, 06:50:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not a football story, but as a Columbia sports fan I'm very happy that ouw women's soccer, volleyball and field hockey teams were all victorious at Cornell this weekend. And men's golf is leading at day 1 of the Cornell Invitational. Happy trips home for from Aggieland!

At Sun Sep 25, 06:59:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How difficult would it be to copy a portion of UAlbany's imaginative playbook and install some of their plays immediately? For example, why not try Garrett, Nelligan, Havas, Mike Murphy or whomever as wildcats?

At Sun Sep 25, 07:26:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great idea about adopting some of the UA plays and executions (wildcat, formation, offensive sets, etc). Coaches have to be chameleons, both with personnel and play calling. Unfortunately, that would require a staff with the ability to do so. We’re about 5-6 new coaches away from that. We’re close, so I remain hopeful.

Where is the football committee with all of this? Or are their abilities limited to how many hot dogs they should budget for the annual Spring cookout? Or maybe they are just in charge of the filling out foursomes for the golf outing? If that’s the case, please rename this group “Social Activity Board for Football”. To allow this to keep happening makes them equally culpable (hint: 6 years, over 74% losing percentage – do you need anything else here?). Hey guys, you need an EMERGENCY meeting with Diane. Speaking of which, Dr. Murphy, please advise when enough is enough? Why do these kids have to suffer? We’ve endured the Garrett, McElreavy, Tellier, Shoop, and now this disaster with Norries. If no action is taken this year, it’s time to take a hard look at her, and her administration. This is a management decision alone and if the administration is effective or not.

At Sun Sep 25, 08:01:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hard to find any positives in this loss. it looked like the last season of the Shoop era out there. And I have no idea what is going on with our QB - when he fumbled near the North end zone, instead of hustling after the ball, he spent more time demonstrating that he was passing, while Albany scooped up the rock. Again, it seems weird that our QB is playing like this.

Too bad we cannot making a coaching change now as well- but not the Ivy way, and certainly not the Columbia way.

Who is the mastermind who put these guys on the schedule anyway? Let's hope that this level of play we faced first 2 games, will bode well for us... but the idea of a 3-peat against Tigers is a tall order.

At Sun Sep 25, 08:40:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At Sun Sep 25, 09:49:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a horrible performance -- flat and demoralized. It's hard to find any positives, but here are a few. Despite the generally lousy offensive performance, CU was able to score on two sustained drives, 75 yards and 99 yards/16 plays. They couldn't do that against Fordham. Gerst's return to the field with a few nice runs gave CU fans some respite. Also, the tight ends got into the passing game, and the ball got shared among more of the receiving corps. Havas looked like he might be able to step up into a significant contributor. (Fantasies about a WR option pass, anyone?.) And Bell threw with authority during his mop up work -- he looked better than he ever had, albeit against second string D.
It ain't much, but that game was a throwback to the lost years of ineptitude at Baker Field. By the way, word from the parents' section was there are many injuries throughout the lineup, lots of guys playing hurt. Maybe this calls for a light practice week to get them healthy for Princeton? Thank god the next two games are not Harvard and Penn!

At Sun Sep 25, 10:40:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Mitch '68 said...

Bad teams often show some "bright spots" that allow them to go on being bad. CU has a decent chance to beat Princeton, which will keep us in the bad category as we proceed to win maybe one more game. If we lose to Princeton, we are no longer just bad but really a dead team -- DOA -- which could actually be a good thing if it meant hitting bottom and motivating fundamental change. But what would that change actually look like? Why would an outstanding coach want to come to Columbia? It has not happened until now -- and I've been watching for a very, very long time.

At Sun Sep 25, 11:00:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This week's MVP should go to the CU fans who parsed yesterday's game to find reason for optimism.

At Mon Sep 26, 02:02:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yesterday's mail arrived with a fund-raising letter from CU Athletics shortly after the game ended.
I always contribute--and will again--consoling myself that at least our women's teams win and play a lot prettier in more ways than one.

I find no consolation, however, in the fact that football fans here are reduced to wishing that our coaching staff would steal some strategy from Albany or really anyone. Why do we hear about the same coaching shortcomings year after year? Under-utilization of some players, over-use of others, stale play-calling, uninspired efforts?
Is our world-class university incapable of assembling an expert staff? Would it put this level of professors in any academic department?
It seems President Bollinger's chief concern at the onset of every football season is whether
Iranian nutcase AhmahdineJIHAD will be coming to Morningside Heights for tea after he does his annual U.S.-bashing at the United Nations.
Tear down this coaching staff, Mr.

At Mon Sep 26, 02:37:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Its hard for Columbia to compete against Divison I AA football teams that offer athletic scholarships. Should Columbia drop Fordham and SUNY Albany from its pre-Ivy schedule and find other teams without athletic scholarship players?

At Mon Sep 26, 05:16:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As to coaches,w e had a chance to get NFL Hall of Fame player Mike Singletary a few years back, who now coaches for the 49er's. He was interested in the Columbia job. Anyone know why that didnt pan out?

At Mon Sep 26, 05:36:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is the guy... National Assistant Coach of the Year, Head Coaching experience, and several years of experience in the Ivies...

We can ROAR if we get him!

Forget ex-NFL greats, or NFLers (except maybe Dick Juron), and go with a guy who knows what he is doing and a proven track record!

At Mon Sep 26, 05:47:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We can't run up the middle, the holes are not there. It didn't matter If it was Gerst,Garrett,or Brackett. We have to get the ball to the outside.Gerst two big runs was on the outside wen he tried up the middle nothing. Garrett the runs up the middle nothing the nice run that was called back was on the outside same with Brackett.
Somene metioned Garrett limping around on the field, the kids been playing with a bad ankle both games

At Mon Sep 26, 08:39:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What happened to all the the speed Columbia reported recruiting ? Or did the coaches enjoy watching #10 skip int the end zone ?

At Mon Sep 26, 11:16:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Inwood Dave said...

Good point about playing scholarship schools (definitely drop any that offer them) but the Ivies are getting crushed by Patriot teams regularly now. Didn't we use to use them as warmup practice in the 90s? I'm really not sure who to schedule non-conf anymore -- the Patriots are now too tough, the weird one-offs vs Pioneer, MEAC, Northeast, Southern conferences are too random to be any fun (Princeton in particular has bizarre choices...) Maybe they should have some fun and play historic Canadian schools like McGill and Queens. Or go back to playing the old geographic rivals who are now in Div I like Rutgers and UConn... If I'm going to see an Ivy lose by 20+ points, I'd rather be playing a historically interesting opponent (and have the chance of an upset too).

At Mon Sep 26, 07:42:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe some of the elite D3s such as Williams would make good early opponents before the Ivy schedule gets going?

At Mon Sep 26, 08:13:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Other than self-destructing especially in the 3rd period they showed some good things.

The run isn't working because for the most part they only run one type of play. When Gerst was in (against their 2nd stringers) he had the vision to switch direction instead of running straight on. I am pretty sure that wasn't the play called. Every team so far has on almost every play been loading the box. You are not ever going to run up the middle against that. The short across the middle passes we did early and the option sweeps work well against that. Screens too.

On defense every time they made a huge run no LBs were in sight or we had the pass guys at tackle and they were over running the play. The DEs for the most part were taken out of the game or over ran the plays so getting to the QB wasn’t happening. The bigger tackles were the best against the run except when they were doubled or tripled both. Why? Because the middle LBs weren’t in the middle. It looked like they sent all the LBs and there was no safety in the area to fill the gap. Hopefully that wasn’t the plan and 1 or 2 LBs were supposed to stay back. As far as secondary tackling is concerned I don’t even know where to start. As usual we were playing the receivers off 10-15 yards. Guess what they ran a few steps, turned and caught the ball for 10-15 yards. This happened constantly. Last, the LBs weren’t covering the back. They killed us on delayed passes or screens to the running back. Even when you blitz someone needs to be covering the running back.

At Mon Sep 26, 10:36:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The immediate previous comment sure makes the case that we need a new DC, also a a new OC, and also and not least, a new HC. Our coaching has more things wrong with it than the Sudan. Forget the Shepard (and wife) Alexander title used before every mention ("The Shepard and (Mary) Alexander head football coach Norries Wilson commented that more towels are needed in the locker room." Just hire some competent coaches!

At Tue Sep 27, 01:38:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Someone suggested playing a Canadian school. While this might work for some sports, I know the CFL (and probably College) football play a 3-down game, with wider and longer fields.

I always wondered - if the French Canadians called signals in French - might be an advantage! Unless we have Paul Havas on the field.

At Wed Sep 28, 07:51:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We've worked to hard to come out of the dark ages (1-9, 2-8 kind of years). What happened to coach Brown, why is Marino there? why can't we develop players? the whole system is bad and i dont know where we should start?


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