Saturday, September 03, 2011

Kickoff Saturday

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What tricks does Tom Massela have up his sleeve today?

Okay, so Columbia and the rest of the Ivies don't start football for another two weeks... but all three of CU's non-Ivy opponents kick off today and that makes this a very busy day.

Let's start with week one opponent Fordham.

The Rams have released their two-deep for today's game at UConn that kicks off at noon, (and you can watch it on ESPN3).

That two-deep has some eye-opening figures.

First off, Head Coach Tom Masella does the annoying "either/or" thing with his depth chart at QB. The two-deep lists three possible starters, junior Ryan Higgins, sophomore Griffin Murphy, and freshman Peter Maetzold.

I really don't know who will really be the starter, of if maybe Masella will actually just approach this impossible to win game at UConn as a glorified practice session with the big boys.

But if I HAD to guess, I would go with the sophomore Murphy who is huge for an FCS QB at 6-2 and 235 pounds. He kind of reminds me of Ben Roethlisberger.

The Ram offensive line is HA-YUGE. All five of the starters are 300 lbs. or more. Two of the starters are sophomores, including Thomas Fisher at the crucial left tackle position.

But the real news in my book is at tight end, where Fordham is actually starting a freshman in Dan Light. Light is not aptly named, because he goes 6-4 and weighs 250 lbs.

Another freshman is starting at one of the WR slots; Sam Ajala from DeSoto, Texas. Junior Blake Wayne, who was Fordham's starting QB for most of last season, is another one of the starting receivers after switching positions in the spring.

On defense, the big news is I don't see last year's freshman sensation DL Justin Yancy on the two-deep at all. I assume he's injured, but we shall see. Don't be surprised if he gets into the game today.

Two sophomores snagged starting spots on the D, and you can see why with 6-2, 240 lbs. LB Jake Rodriguez.

The other soph starter is 5-10 cornerback Ian Williams. It will be interesting to see how much UConn tries to test him this afternoon.


Head Coach Bob Ford also is not naming who his starting QB will be in the Great Danes' two deep. He has the "either/or" designation for the guys who split the job last year, sophomore Buddy Leathley and senior Dan Di Lella. Leathley is more of the running QB and Di Lella the pure passer.

Junior Drew Smith, who led the Danes in rushing last season with 724 yards and seven TD's is the starting tailback again. Last year's leading WR, junior Ryan Kirchner is one of the starters at WR.

Two sophomores start on the offensive line. They are center Eric LaPorta and LT Kadeem Williams. Overall, Albany's O-line is not as big as Fordham's.

The defense is a very veteran squad, and they'll need all the experience they can get against Colgate's super running back Nate Eachus.

Kickoff for Albany tonight in Hamilton is 6pm.

Sacred Heart

The Pioneers kickoff at home tonight at 7pm against Marist.

The Sacred Heart two-deep does do us the courtesy of naming a definitive starting QB, and it's sophomore Luke Wischnowski. He's the lucky guy who will have to replace the graduated Dale Fink, who was a stellar QB for the Pioneers and some think one of the best in all of FCS football last year.

Wischnowski has never thrown a pass in collegiate football.

Behind him is starting the RB, sophomore Greg Ibe from my old hometown of Far Rockaway, NY and the soon-to-be-defunct Far Rockaway High School.

Ibe had a great freshman year last season with 459 yards rushing, a 5.7 yards per carry average, and two TD's. (It will be interesting to see if his family and friends from Far Rockaway take the A train all the way from Mott Avenue in Queens to 207th Street in Manhattan to see him play at Columbia on October 8th).

The offensive line seems to be extremely undersized on the right side with a 265 lb. right guard in sophomore Paul Link and a 230 lb. right tackle in red shirt junior Rakendrick Varnardo. (I have to think something is off on Varnado's reported weight, but there it is).

The starting fullback Tim McNeil had just three carries last season.

On defense, the Sacred Heart secondary is VERY young with two freshman and one sophomore starting alongside the sole upperclassman in senior CB Ahmad Covington.

The other CB is freshman J.D. Roussel. Sophomore Alex Aitkens is the starting free safety.

The Pioneers also have a freshman placekicker in Chris Rogers.

Enjoy the games today!!!

Top 100 Moments of 2010

#14: Brackett Forces One

The Lions took over at their own four yard line for their final possession of the first half in the week nine game at home vs. Cornell.

Trailing 10-3 with 2:23 left on the 2nd quarter clock, Columbia put together an impressive drive.

QB Sean Brackett made the first two plays count with a 14 yard completion to Nico Gutierrez and then an 11 yard pass play to Andrew Kennedy.

After an incomplete pass, Brackett ran it himself for 10 yards and another first down to the Columbia 39.

Two plays later, Brackett found Zack Kourouma for a 15 yard pass completion to the Big Red 46.

On the next play, Brackett ran it himself again for another 10 yards to the Cornell 36.

Three plays later, the Lions got a pass interference call that put them at the Big Red 13 with just 18 seconds left until the half.

On the next play, Brackett ran it himself for six yards and stopped the clock by getting out of bounds at the seven yard line.

But on the next play, Brackett would make his only mistake of the drive, throwing it into traffic in the end zone and getting intercepted by Ben Heller.

Brackett did redeem himself greatly by chasing Heller down and saving a TD with a tackle at the Columbia 28... but the feeling of disappointment throughout the stands was strong as the teams headed back to the locker room.


At Sat Sep 03, 09:38:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good previews Jake. When you look at Fordham with five-300 lb OLs and a 250 lb TE you still wonder if our DLs are big enough. Much bigger than last year, but maybe not big enough?

At Sat Sep 03, 11:25:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jake- GREAT job as always! I have enjoyed the posts over the past few days; as well as Jake’s commentary about the College versus the University. Jake is spot on with his current analysis about athletic diversity and the relationship of athletics with the College. Also, as is evident with most Ivies; former athletes donate in greater scale than non-athletes (I used to work in Alumni Affairs when it was underneath Hamilton Hall – sorry, dating myself). I would NOT necessarily credit Dr. Murphy or Bollinger, for that matter, for the “success” of merely upgrading our web site and adding live streaming CU games to the mix. Those “upgrades” are a product of sales from the companies that supply those resources. They are outsourced and get a cut (live streaming gets a piece of the revenue for providing the service). Bollinger is NOT a racist, that much is clear. People who claim that he is, or that there was racial bias in these recent academic departures, clearly went to Penn (sorry, had to throw that “Penn” ZING in there). Nevertheless, the one thing that has not changed, are the wins and losses. That responsibility clearly lies on the shoulders of Dr. Murphy. She has made several changes over the years within the coaching ranks… some good (baseball, Lax), some bad (kept the Lax coach 3 years too long, never should have gotten rid of Rob Kresberg, former men’s soccer coach, etc.), but the most glaring change that needs to be made is in football. Although I enjoy the optimism of these CU protagonists, the reality here is that they are a 3-4 (max) win team this year.

Fordham – LOSS (two games under their belt)
Sacred Heart – WIN (If lose here, Norries should resign immediately – another “IONA” game)
Albany – LOSS (picked to win their league)
Princeton - WIN
Penn – LOSS (seriously, HC against Penn???, Hello… Dr. Dr. M wake up!)
Yale – LOSS (More transfers)
Dartmouth – LOSS (always struggle up there, RB too good)
Harvard – LOSS (hopefully, not a blowout – BETTER RECRUITING)
Cornell – WIN (Better win!)
Brown – LOSS (coin toss here, unless BU is in the mix for a top tier finish)

Dr. Chen, seriously, 6-7 wins? We’ll need to validate that medical degree of yours; unless it was from Grenada? :O)

For you loyal fans, look at what you said last year (Jake archives his posts). It’s the SAME thing!

One wonders where the Football Committee is about all of this???

Last comment: For the Coach who clearly wrote in about defending the staff; the problem is that OUR staff talks “AT” the players, not “TO” them. I have seen this first- hand over recent years – at practices, scrimmages, games, etc. Coaches have to be chameleons of sorts to get the ultimate results; wins! Clearly, their current philosophy is not (hasn’t been) working!

-Disgruntled Lion!

At Sun Sep 04, 01:51:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

After watching Ford@UConn for three quarters plus: the true Fr QB Maetzold played most if not all of the game; seems to have a good arm but sometimes inaccurate, throws into coverage, lots of rollouts; LB 47, WR Womack seems quick, strong, agile;
1 WR Ajala looks fast, good hands;
5 RB Whiting strong,fairly quick; kicker Murphy averaged about 50/punt (5), 54/ko (2)

At Sun Sep 04, 01:53:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

UConn 35
Fordham 3

At Sun Sep 04, 02:01:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The second poster is certainly right that this board is always too optimistic. The schedule is tough this year. Five wins would be a great sign of progress, four wins is probably what we'll get. If Bracket gets hurt ... look out below! We're not as close as the optimists want to believe.

At Sun Sep 04, 03:43:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Disgruntled Lion is probably Foehi. No Columbia fan wou
D ever be that negative. And a bunch of 300 pounders at Fordham doesn't tell me if they can play. I think we should drop Fordham now that they are trying to buy wins through scholarships.

At Sun Sep 04, 04:29:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nearly all of Fordham's offense against Connecticut came from their freshman quarterback and two freshman wide receivers from Texas who are all on athletic scholarships. Without them, Connecticut would have defeated Fordhma by 50+ points. I agree with the poster who said that we should drop Fordham from our schedule now. The Patriot League has already given the boot to the Rams and we should do the same before they bring in a host of professional play for pay athletes next year. The Liberty Bowl is nice, but we can't afford to play a professional team in the season's opener. Except for Penn, all of the other Ivies have already dropped Fordham from their schedules. And Penn has only scheduled one more game with Fordham. Our goal has to be to win the Ivy League Championship and not the Liberty Bowl.

At Sun Sep 04, 04:38:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Drop Fordham? It's a great rivalry; like Penn-Villanova, or Holy Cross - Umass. This rivalry is great for the City! FYI- Albany and Sacred Heart offer scholarships... What we need to do is add Georgetown to our schedule (yes, scholarships) and get more Beltway alums involved in the program.

Re: Post-er #2, is he/she being to negative? Or are we too naive? Maybe a little bit of both, but I did check Jake's archived posts, and the blind optimism is abound. That's not a bad thing, but last year's team was better and we expected far more. We may not like to hear what post-er #2 may have said, and it could have been couched differently, but is his/her resolve really questionable?

I say 500 (optimistically)...

At Sun Sep 04, 04:54:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

to the last poster, scholarships don't equate wins.... good recruiting but most importantly good coaching produces a winning team! It all revolves around "COACHING". If you look at teams that win consistently you will find solid coaching. Coaches set the tone for the program. Win/Loss records speaks volumes of the programs direction!

At Sun Sep 04, 06:25:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why would anybody want to drop Fordham from the schedule? A cross-town rival that basically equates to another home game every other year when the game is played in the Bronx...sounds good to me. Some of the same people who were ecstatic to hear that the Lions will play UConn in basketball this Fall (I'd say that UConn is certainly along the lines of "play for pay") are the same ones who say "no" to Fordham with their football scholarships...what gives? I think the Fordham series is great - leave it alone!

At Sun Sep 04, 10:52:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Except for the last poster, I doubt that anyone would seriously equate the physical aspects of college football with college basketball. Playing UConn in basketball involves no unusual physical risk to the players, and is a great learning experience. However, playing a Fordham footbal team in the future when it will have a full complement of experienced athletic scholarhip players does increase the liklihood of injuries to our guys. Incidentally, I believe that Columbia will defeat Fordham this year, but I'm not so sure we will beat them next year when they have double the number of athletic scholarship players.

At Sun Sep 04, 06:18:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Doctor" Chen disgruntled Lion Fan:

Thanks for the medical degree, but I am actually a banker based in Hong Kong. In Sydney at the moment watching an Aussie Rules football there's a sport.

Hey, I have been predicting hopefully ever since I graduated in '82. Any of we veteran alums of the losing streak have earned the right to be as hopeful as we damn well please. Six wins is entirely possible. Fordham always has two games under their belt and we're 500 against them.....they're young and beatable.

Must wins are Cornell and Princeton and Sacred Heart. If we lose those, Coaches should be sacked.

Whether we can win vs Yale, Dartmouth, Brown, Penn and Harvard is a tough call, but two out of these five are possible.

That's six wins

If you give me your contact details, I will be willing to back up my talk with a wager.

Chen '82

At Sun Sep 04, 06:32:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In ten years, we have a better record against Fordham than most any other team....why drop them?

At Sun Sep 04, 10:41:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Despite Fordham's scholarship policy, are really that many Columbia players who get on the field regularly who could not compete successfully for similar roles if they were at Fordham?
And, with Columbia's financial aid policy, is a scholarship at Fordham really that much more valuable than a grant-in-aid at Columbia, especially given that Columbia's aid does not require continued athletic participation?
I suspect the answer to each question is "no". What do the rest of you think?

At Sun Sep 04, 11:03:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with the last post...I mean, give me a anybody that afraid of Fordham's policy of granting football scholarships? I didn't hear all this bellyaching last year when Columbia decisively beat Towson (who, by the way, grants football scholarships and plays in the toughest FCS conference in the country - the Colonial). Don't give us this nonsense that playing a team with scholarship players equates to bigger injuries on the field...most of the CU players could play at Fordham or many other FCS schools. Non-scholarship teams beat scholarship teams...FCS teams beat FBS happens every year across the country...the game is played on the field by players who want to play the best competition possible at their level!

At Mon Sep 05, 04:12:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why do people think Fordham is a natural rival? Just because it is nearby? I remember what happened when we failed to drop Rutgers after it went big time. Let's not kid ourselves. We have nothing n common with Fordham. Drop them now.

At Mon Sep 05, 10:40:00 PM GMT+7, Blogger cathar said...

I think we have several years (if any, actually) before Fordham becomes feared enough that we should drop them as an opponent. It remains hard to convince people to attend Fordham in the Bronx when the alternative is, say, Boston College which actually has seats on both sides of its field. (I also see no real resolution of that reality up at Fordham until the university drops baseball, there simply is no room left there with which to re-configure its athletic fields.)

And there is still the Liberty Cup, which no one above mentioned, to consider, which resonates (for me, anyway) on an emotional level far beyond that of a "mere" football game. If worst comes to worst, perhaps we could simply shift its awarding to a basketball game, since I suspect Kyle Smith is quickly and noticeably turning the Lions into a very fine basketball team, one that will have no problem keeping Fordham at bay on a regular basis.

The college vs. university stuff is old and remains unresolved. It is probably always best, however, to accept that Columbia University's faculty is in the main unalterably opposed to the concept of intercollegiate athletics on any level. In the late 60's in particular, they were just wildly vocal about such feelings, but I doubt they've truly subsided.

At Tue Sep 06, 12:58:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A Times article said Fordham would abide by the Patriot League's academic and eligibility rules, at least through 2012. That's more important than the scholarship issue. If Fordham drops its academic requirements for athletes, then it's time to reconsider the relationship.


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